G-Eazy has collaborated with a host of compelling and talented young women, from Britney Spears on “Make Me…” and Bebe Rexha on “Me, Myself & I” to Cardi B, Kehlani, and Zoe Nash on his forthcoming third album, The Beautiful and Damned. But his buzziest coed duet yet might be “Him & I” with his new girlfriend, pop star Halsey. The track’s just-released music video plays like a lo-fi, home-movie travelogue of the clearly smitten couple’s romantic weekend in New York City, and G-Eazy (real name: Gerald Earl Gillum) says the PDA-packed clip is “definitely art imitating life.”
“That video in particular, there was really no plan for it,” he says. “We were just like, ‘Let’s just do what we would’ve done today, and have cameras follow us.’ Because our energy both in that song and in the visual representation of the song in the video, that’s what it is. We literally have that kind of crazy, Bonnie and Clyde-like thing, and I just think having that peek into our lives, and giving ourselves to that, to represent this song, was the way to do it.”
As for the chemistry that he and Halsey (aka Ashley Frangipane) share on- and offscreen, G-Eazy says, “We can relate to each other because we’re just cut from a different cloth. … I think artists, the way we view the world, the way we interpret it, the way we internalize it, the way we spit it back out in our creativity, in all of that and everything that comes along with it, with the job, it’s easy for us to relate to each other. That was how we connected.”
“Him & I” is just one of 20 tracks on The Beautiful and Damned, an ambitious double concept album (and accompanying Fight Club-style short film) that also features guest spots from Charlie Puth, A$AP Rocky, and his Bay Area role model, E-40. G-Eazy, who started making music at age 13 and graduated from Loyola University in 2011 with a BA in music industry studies, says he “really wanted to give this [album] my all” but concedes that putting out this project in a singles-driven streaming market is a “big undertaking” and a risk.
“I think attention spans of our generation have just shrunk into microscopic levels. And that’s crazy to me, because when I was growing up, when I fell in love with music, when I got to be the age where I had my own taste in music and I knew what I liked and what CDs I was saving my money up to buy, it was a different time. I would save up my money when I was 10, 11, 12 years old, and I’d go down to Tower Records. I could get one CD a month, you know what I mean? You really lived with that CD. You committed to which one. You had to choose which one you were going to buy, and you lived with that. You’d read the booklets, the liner notes, the production credits, everything, and you’d play it front to back. You didn’t just play the single,” muses G-Eazy, who says the first album he bought as a kid was Juvenile’s 400 Degreez. “You really learned an artist’s album. I’ve always been a fan, and still am, and a believer in the concept of the album as an expression of an artist’s self in story.
“I mean, I knew that this was a big undertaking — 20 songs and a short film — but we made over a hundred songs,” G-Eazy continues. “This was all I could do. We tried to trim it down as much as we could, and the theme that just kind of came to me through the process of making it is that it was really these two sounds, these two perspectives on the lifestyle, and these two kinds of personalities inside of me.”
Regarding the twin-personality concept of the new album, G-Eazy, now age 27, elaborates: “The overarching theme is duality — the duality of a lifestyle that we tend to glamorize, a world in which we look at [it] through a lens of a celebrity or the fast life, or the idea of over-indulgence and what comes along with that. But also some of the trappings of it, and the potholes to look out for, and the darker sides of what comes with it. The title is taken from a book. It’s by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it’s a story about a couple in the 1920s, a couple that was living this out-of-control lifestyle. … But what they didn’t know was the ’30s [were coming], and the Great Depression was about to wake them up from this dream that they were having with this over-the-top lifestyle. I’m kind of comparing that to me in my 20s, and living this over-the-top lifestyle that comes with celebrity, this rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, this roller coaster that I’m on. It’s just that kind of fleeting feeling of, can this last forever? Can you sustain this? Or will this send you kind of out of control?”
The final track on The Beautiful and Damned, “Eazy,” goes especially deep and reveals a man who is in a good place in life both professionally and, obviously, personally. “I wrote a letter to my younger self three times on that album at different ages. It just felt like significant points of my life. It was inspired. I read Ray Allen, one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He wrote a letter to his younger self, and reading that inspired me, because anybody who’s chased this idea of who they wanted to be in life or what they wanted to achieve, and faced adversity or doubted themselves at any time, then ultimately achieved what they wanted to do and accomplished these dreams — [they’ll understand the meaning of] that idea of looking back and encouraging yourself at these points, these significant times where it definitely didn’t seem like it was going to happen, and just saying, ‘Listen, I know you’re going through it right now. I know that it’s not looking pretty for you, but just keep your head down, and just keep doing this for the right reason, and you’ll be all right.’”
The Beautiful and Damned comes out Dec. 15.