With a number of successful albums and a People’s Choice Award to his name, G-Eazy has enjoyed a successful rap career. What was his first song?
G-Eazy’s first single was “Marilyn”, released in 2012 and featuring Dominique LeJeune. His major-label debut was “Been On”, released in 2013, from his first album with RCA Records, 2014’s “Must Be Nice”.
For more on G-Eazy’s early life and his first recordings, read on.
Gerald Earl Gillum was born in Oakland, California on May 24, 1989. His father, Edward Gillum, worked at California State University, Fresno, as an associate professor of art.
His mother, Suzanne Olmstead, worked as a teacher and artist. He has a younger brother, James, who is also a musician.
When Gillum was in the first grade, Suzanne left Edward. Gerald, James, and Suzanne went to live with her parents in Berkeley, California. The three shared a room at Gerald’s grandparents’ house and Suzanne worked two teaching jobs to support her family.
Gillum got his first job when he was 14, working at a Top Dog restaurant. He has said that if he wanted something, he was made to work for it, something that has given him a strong work ethic in adulthood.
The family later relocated to North Oakland but Gillum continued traveling to Berkeley to attend school. He attended Berkeley High School and saw a group of his fellow students charting as “The Pack”, a hip-hop group who released the single “Vans” in 2006.
He has said that seeing people he personally knew breaking into the music business gave him the motivation to pursue his own dreams in the industry. He was making beats on music production software and began selling mixtapes for $5 each.
G-Eazy has been open in discussing his initial difficulty in accepting his mother’s lesbian relationship with a woman named Melissa. He later accepted her mother’s relationship but came home one day to find Melissa dead, having overdosed on prescription drugs.
The tragic experience is related in his song “Everything Will Be OK”, which also addresses his sense of guilt after leaving his friends and family in order to pursue his ambitions in music.
Using the name G-Eazy, his early music was heavily influenced by the local Northern California music scene, particularly the uptempo hyphy sound. That changed when he moved to New Orleans to study at Loyola University.
Instead, G-Eazy adopted a more Southern bounce style, influenced by Louisiana legend Lil Wayne. He was now convinced that his future was in music and he studied music industries while at Loyola, graduating in 2011.
During his time at college, he released several mixtapes online, including 2008’s “The Tipping Point”, 2009’s “Sikkis on the Planet” and “Quarantine”, followed by “Big” in 2010 and “The Outsider” in 2011.
Balancing his education with his rising music profile, G-Eazy toured with both Lil Wayne and Drake during his college years. He famously left a Drake tour to attend a class after his teacher threatened to fail him if he missed it.
The opportunity to watch Lil Wayne and Drake up close on a nightly basis gave G-Eazy a priceless education in how to put together a live set and interact with the crowd.
G-Eazy released another mixtape, “The Endless Summer” in August 2011, shortly after graduating. The video for “Runaround Sue” established his aesthetic as something of a modern Johnny Cash.
He independently released his first full-length album, “Must Be Nice” in 2012. The album reached number 33 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, as well as number 3 on the iTunes hip-hop chart. His first single, “Marilyn”, featuring Dominique LeJeune, appeared on the album but failed to chart.
The success of his independent efforts led to G-Eazy signing a record deal with RCA. He released his first album, “These Things Happen” in June 2014, peaking at number 3 on the main Billboard 200 albums chart and later being certified gold by the RIAA.
The album’s lead single, “Been On”, released on August 21, 2013, marking his major-label single debut. However, the release of “I Mean It” in 2014 would mark G-Eazy’s first Billboard Hot 100 single, peaking at number 98.
“Me Myself & I”, a duet with Bebe Rexha from his second RCA album, “When It’s Dark Out”, peaked at number 7 on the Hot 100, making it G-Eazy’s first top 10 single.