G-Eazy – I Mean It, How it all Got Started for This White Rapper Gerald Gillum –
Via SF Gate: Gerald “G-Eazy” Gillum was born in Tempe, Ariz., and spent time in Reno and Fresno (where his father is an art professor at Cal State Fresno) before he and his mother moved in with his grandparents in Berkeley while he was in first grade. They later got their own place in North Oakland, although he continued attending Berkeley schools. He says he was influenced by Kanye West and Bay Area rappers Mac Dre and E-40 and inspired by Berkeley High classmates who were known as the Pack and scored a national hip-hop hit in 2006 with the song “Vans.”
“Watching them go from sitting next to me in class to seeing them on MTV when I was 15 was the most surreal, inspiring thing ever,” he recalls. “It made me feel like anything was possible.”
Gillum began making mix tapes at home with the aid of a $150 microphone and a free Internet program. He sold the tapes for $5 each along Telegraph Avenue — netting as much as $50 on what he considered a good day — when he wasn’t grilling sausages at Top Dog.
“I could write something in my notebook at school and actually record it at home,” he says. “The music was total s—, but it was a eureka moment that you could do it yourself.”
Gillum refined his music while majoring in music industry studies during four years at Loyola University in New Orleans. He came to the conclusion that putting free music on the Internet and performing in clubs were essential in building a fan base and achieving career longevity.
“There’s just so much less money left in selling music,” he explains. “You have an entire generation of kids who grew up with the idea that music is something that you can download for free.”
He did his first tour during summer break in 2009, traveling from town to town by car, maxing out his credit card buying gas, crashing on the couches of Loyola classmates’ relatives and eating rice, to which he added Wendy’s chicken nuggets when he could afford them.
By the summer of last year, however, he was traveling across the country on a band bus while opening for hip-hop star Lil Wayne. Gillum had just signed with the Blueprint Group, a Southern California firm that also currently manages Lil Wayne, Drake, T.I. and Nicki Minaj.
“They’ve built almost every arena act in hip-hop,” he says of the company.
Read the entire article Hip-Hopper G-Eazy on the Brink
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