G-Eazy designs collection with H&M
Fashion's favourite rapper is conquering both music and fashion with his new album and upcoming collaboration with H&M. Here, he talks risk-taking, hating regrets – and spills what we didn't know about Britney Spears.
G-Eazy prefers to look forward, but if pressed, even he will concede
that the clothes he wore to his first VMAs could have used a little
finesse. To the 2016 event, the No Limit rapper slipped into black
leather trousers, round-frame sunglasses and a red velvet
shirt—unbuttoned from top to bottom. It wasn’t his best look, he tells
H&M Magazine in an exclusive interview.
But even now, he doesn’t quite regret it. "That’s fashion," he says. "I’d rather be me and take a risk than pretend and feel like someone else." It's an attitude that’s paid off. The musician has appeared on countless best-dressed lists, been cast in ad spots for the likes of William Rast, and was once deemed "fashion’s new favourite rapper." Even his much-anticipated album evokes a headier moment, all decadence and brash, explosive swagger: he titled it The Beautiful and Damned.
This week, he releases both his new record and announces his exclusive collaboration with H&M, the first time the musician who once dedicated a full track to fashion week has ever created clothes on his own. "It is such a cool opportunity,” he says, “a way to take my taste and style and inspirations and turn that into clothes that are accessible on such an enormous scale."
A COLLABORATION WITH H&M IS NO SMALL FEAT. WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE
TO BE APPROACHED TO DO IT?
"I was really honoured that they’d be interested in working with me. I loved what they did with The Weeknd. I love what they’ve built with the brand as a whole, but particularly their collaborations with other artists and fashion houses: I just think they represent a very tasteful approach to fashion at an affordable mass-level, and I really respect it."
WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH FASHION? HAS STYLE ALWAYS BEEN
IMPORTANT TO YOU?
"Style has been important to me my whole life, long before I could afford to dress how I would like to. I just see it as another way to express yourself. When I was a kid, I dressed up as Batman almost every single day. When I was growing up as a teenager, the clothes were a lot baggier then, and I cringe when I see some of the pictures, but those were the times. I was always in tune with whatever inspired me at that time."
WERE YOU A BIG RISK-TAKER?
"I did start to wear skinny jeans before they were socially acceptable. It was probably around 2008. I was into skinny jeans, blazers, leather jackets. I wore boots instead of sneakers. But I’ve always preferred to express myself and take risks as opposed to playing it safe and being behind and being uncomfortable because of that. I’ve always wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin and feel comfortable in whatever I wear."
AND NOW? ANY REGRETS?
"I know I took a risk at the VMAs that may not have gone so well. I wore leather trousers, a red velvet shirt completely unbuttoned and opened, and I kind of got some flack for it. Looking back, maybe I could have hit a couple buttons on that. [Laughs] But I said, I’m at the VMAs and I’m in skinny, black leather trousers and a red velvet shirt. Why not?"
I’ve always preferred to express myself and take risks as opposed to playing it safe.
THERE’S FASHION KILLA, VERSACE, GLORY —WHAT’S THE BEST HIP HOP
SONG ABOUT FASHION?
"I like the one I did with Wale. He’s had such an influence on me, and he’s a friend. I also just think he has great style and a fantastic sneaker collection. And if a sneaker collection impresses me, it has to be pretty good. He has over 250 pairs of shoes."
FROM HALSEY TO KEHLANI TO CARDI B, IT SEEMS LIKE YOU WORK WELL WITH
SMART, SUCCESSFUL WOMEN. HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIKED TO WORK WITH FEMALE
"Absolutely. Especially in a conversational way on a record, where it kind of feels like our lyrics can speak to each other. I just think that balance creates a really beautiful result."
"Like with Cardi B., I’ve watched her come up for over a year. I was a real fan, and then we had the chance to play a show together. I just remember I was really excited to see her perform live, because that’s where I feel like you fully get a feel for what an artist is like; they’re live, in the flesh, in front of real people. It’s just a really raw, present thing. And she just blew me away. I felt like I knew she’d be a superstar, so I really wanted to work with her when the right time came. I was just waiting for the right song."
OK, SPILL. WHAT DON’T WE KNOW ABOUT BRITNEY SPEARS?
"She’s really humble and down-to-earth. Obviously, she’s one of the biggest artists in the world—ever, of all time. She’s one of the most transcendent performers of all time. I had no idea what it would be like; I was nervous the first time I met her. And she was just so nice to me."
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL IN TIME TO ANY ERA TO MAKE MUSIC, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
"1994 New York City in the hip hop scene — obviously, was a golden era. Or 1967 rock band. Or just Phil Collins. If I could be him, I’d do it."
YOU’VE MADE MUSIC THAT PEOPLE LOVE, AND WITH THIS COLLABORATION,
YOU’VE CONQUERED FASHION. WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR CREATIVE WISH
"I would love to do more in the fashion space, but I’d really like to act. I made a short film to accompany my album, to kind of just visually explain the concept of what I wanted to say on the record. I had a really good experience, being on camera, practising my lines, doing something new that was challenging. It’s exciting. When you go on tour, it’s like, this is something that I’ve done before. I played 250 shows last year. I’m always on the road. It becomes muscle memory at a certain point — not that every show isn’t exciting and you can’t find new experiences. But with acting, that was brand new. It was rewarding for me."
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
"I wake up with ideas, and then I’m just restless. I want to put them on paper. I take notes all the time. But I just need to be somewhere relaxed where I can catch a vibe. Ideas aren’t like push-ups. Sometimes they come, but sometimes they don’t. You can’t just try to think harder. I take it as it comes."
G-Eazy x H&M will be available in stores and online on March 1. G-Eazy's new album The Beutiful and Damned is released today, December 15.
FULL NAME: Gerald Gillum
DOES: Rapper and record producer
G-EAZY’S TOP 3 WARDROBE NECESSITIES
1. A great leather jacket
2. Black skinny jeans
3. A good pair of boots
G-EAZY’S TOP 3 PUMP-UP ARTISTS
1. 21 Savage