Art Basel Miami Beach

G-Eazy on His Sophomore Album: "I Just Wanted To Actually Rise to the Occasion"

Most of you woke up this morning facing just another Friday, counting down the hours till you can clock out of work or school.

As for Gerald Gillum, otherwise known as the hip-hop artist G-Eazy, his Friday will start off with him facing the obstacle every recording artist inevitably struggles to overcome.

Today marks the dawn of the Oakland artist’s sophomore release, When It’s Dark Out. Having had his debut album, These Things Happen, peak at number three on the Billboard 200, the pressure is certainly on him to outdo himself.

“The sophomore album is a tough obstacle. It’s hard — I mean you have no pressure with the first one. You have your whole life; there’s not as much expectation around it, especially with me. The first one came out of nowhere. I don’t think anybody really saw it coming besides me and my team,” says Gillum.

“But instead of letting that psyche me out, I’ve just used it for inspiration. Instead of letting that defeat me, I just wanted to rise to the occasion because I think that’s where you really define whether you’re going to last or not,” he adds.

On this latest effort, he says, his music has evolved into a darker mood and subject matter, and a lot of it has to do with the point he’s at right now in his life.

“This game is crazy, but at the end of the day, you can only try to keep yourself balanced, keep yourself grounded, keep the right people around you, and again, just remember what got you here is the work and the music,” Gillum says.
The changes in his life have allowed Gerald, who is “chiller,” and G-Eazy, the “wild man,” to each have their own time on the new release. He jokingly credits his split personality to being a Gemini.

“There’s definitely G-Eazy and then there’s Gerald. It gets kind of tough to keep a balance. There are two opposite people at times but they’re both me at the end of the day,” says Gillum.

Having more of Gerald in the music has allowed him to open up slowly, something fans have even noted in the new album’s first single “Me, Myself & I,” a track where he struggles with the darker side of fame.

“Part of me wants to close off and the other half is like, you have this platform, tell these stories. We’re all human; we all go through shit,” Gillum says. “I just try to make good music — the best music I can make. If people can connect to that, then that’s the dream,” he says.

G-Eazy with Party Next Door and Makonnen. Saturday, December 5, at the Pigalle Gallery.
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Junette Reyes is a Miami native multimedia journalist with previous writing credits at FIU Student Media, South Florida Music Obsessed, and WLRN. She generally prefers chilling with cats over humans and avoids direct sunlight to maintain her ghastly appearance.