All photos courtesy MOTVD
By Veronica Renaker
“Bakersfield is my new spot.”- G-Eazy
Last night at the Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield welcomed a rising star. Gerald Earl Gillum, otherwise known as G-Eazy, a 25 year old rapper from the Bay Area, lit up the stage and woo’ed thousands of fans.
His opening acts, Nef The Pharaoh and Marty Grimes, shared the stage to open for this up-and-coming phenomenon.
G-Eazy preformed music from both of his latest albums, These Things Happen (2014) and When It’s Dark Out (2015).
These Things Happen, Gerald’s debut album, was top 3 on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums, with his first week of sales being 47,000 copies in the United States alone. In total These Things Happen sold 250,000 albums in the US.
G-Eazy’s latest album, When It’s Dark Out topped the charts with a hit single that was the young rapper’s first single to have peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Gillum was raised by a single mother in the Bay Area after she left his father when Gerald was in the first grade. She later had relations with another woman, Mellisa Mills, which Gerald recalls being very “confusing and embarrassing” for him at the time as a young boy.
As he grew older he began to accept her and consider her a close family member. Their bond grew stronger but then Melissa fell victim to drug addiction which she used as a crutch for her manic depression.
Seventeen-year-old G-Eazy found her dead from a drug overdose. He reflects on this time during his latest hit, “Everything Will Be Okay.”
Gillum later enrolled at Loyola University New Orleans and graduated in 2011 majoring in music industry studies.
G-Eazy has been quoted talking about how things began and who his music influences were.
“When I was little, well first off, both my parents are artists, they both teach in college, they both kind of grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he said. “They raised me on a lot of The Beatles and Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and things of that nature.
“So when I was a little kid, that’s what was playing in the house. And in the neighborhood and at school with all my friends and stuff, hip-hop was the culture and everything that I was drawn to. So when I was 13 I started making beats and started to write songs.
“I just, I don’t known I just fell in love with it all really quickly and (that’s) what started me off on my own pursuit to make my own music. It all started with Myspace back then, because that was brand new and you could make music at home, upload it online and share it with friends. but I would also design mixtape covers and actually print up CD’s and sling it out my backpack at school.”
His first couple of jobs also allowed him to keep his mix tapes next to their tip jars so that he could gain recognition. Back then, selling 10 mix tapes would make his day. Now he has hits on the radio and is sitting next to Taylor Swift at the iHeartRadio awards.
G-Eazy had his own work ethic to thank for his burgeoning popularity. Nick Wayne, a Rabobank representative, said that he is unable to disclose the exact number of tickets sold, but “ticket sales were close to a sell-out.” Rabobank’s capacity reaches 10,400.