A few weeks back, you may have opened iTunes or checked out Billboard and seen a name near the top of the charts and thought, who's that?
That, my friends, was G-Eazy.
The Oakland native caused waves with the release of his debut album, These Things Happen, in June, becoming another example of an independent artist doing it on a major level. Now's your chance to figure out what all that noise is about.
Who he is:
The 25-year-old, born Gerald Earl Gillum, just released his debut album, These Things Happen, on June 23. The disc moved an impressive 46,000 units in its opening week, which was good enough to top the Billboard Rap Albums chart and debut at No. 3 on the 200.
You don't just make that kind of splash -- as an independent artist, no less -- by coming out of nowhere. And though it may seem like that's the case with Eazy to some, he's got a consistent grind to credit for the spot he's currently positioned himself in.
The West Coaster put out his first mixtape in 2007, and since then has dropped a handful more, as well as a few EPs. But his music doesn't just reach fans through the Net. The up and comer has been making believers out of concertgoers across the country, including on his nationwide headlining These Things Happen Tour this year.
Why you need to listen to him:
Are you a fan of music that's catchy? He's got that. What about joints that make you wanna party? Check. Looking for tales of a love gone awry? Yeah, that's here, too.
Also, you wanna be early (kinda) on someone that's about to blow, right? G-Eazy has a seasoned ear for infectious production and a clear, decisive flow to match. Check out his MTV Artist To Watch live performance of "Far Alone" for proof.
What you need to listen to:
You've probably gotten the hint by now, but if not: Listen to These Things Happen. On it, "The James Dean of Hip-Hop" is eager to prove that he's neither a gimmick nor just passing through; the kid has plans to be around for a long time.
On the project, there are tracks like "Opportunity Cost," where he balances raps about touring across the globe and attending out-of-control pool parties with sentiments that almost anyone can relate to: "Me and some of those who's closest to me haven't spoken much," he raps at one point, before admitting, "I know I should keep in better touch."
Then there are tracks like "I Mean It" featuring Remo, which you can download a free copy of below.
Over some eerie and head-nodding production, Eazy kicks bars with all the confidence anyone could expect from a hungry newcomer, and then some: "People wonder who's next up/ That conversation really ends here," he promises.
And the video is a must-watch. Eazy throws on his Evening News Anchor attire, sits in front of the camera with the whole world watching -- and even interviews himself at one point.
Who has taken notice:
Besides the thousands that come out to see him perform and the thousands more that bought his album? Let alone all the others that check out his videos online ("I Mean It" has eclipsed two million views on YouTube)?
Well, there's Rick Ross, who remixed "I Mean It" recently, giving it his own MMG flair. Plus, G-Eazy opened for Lil Wayne on the America's Most Wanted tour in 2013, and also appeared on Drake's Light Dreams & Nightmares tour in 2010.
And then there are the collaborations, like with Bay Area legend E-40, who is featured on These Things Happen, as well as A$AP Ferg. And you can expect the co-signs to continue as more people catch wind of what G-Eazy is building.
What to expect next:
"Ultimate world domination." Obviously. That's what G-Eazy told us at Firefly Music Festival earlier this summer, and he sounded like he definitely meant it.
How, you ask?
He'll be continuing to put out new music, of course. But, he's also gotten those stamps of approval from some major artists and will continue to win fans with his live shows, like when he performs at the mtvU Fandom Awards and MTV Fan Fest at Comic-Con International: San Diego later this month.
“This is a culmination of years of paying dues and working hard and just building towards this,” he told MTV News. “Now we party and we rage and we turn up, you feel me? And enjoy the moment.”