With A$AP Ferg
The Bomb Factory, Dallas
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Trying to comprehend the magnitude of G-Eazy's fan base is a tough task — they are an enormous, ravenous horde. Well before doors opened at The Bomb Factory on Sunday afternoon, this dedicated bunch filed in a line that stretched several blocks down Canton Street, around to Walton Street, up to Commerce Street and nearly wrapped back to meet its beginning. Once inside, the anticipation and hysteria only grew.
It was remarkable given that a G-Eazy concert isn't a rarity in Dallas. The 26-year-old Bay Area rapper has toured constantly for the past five years. He even played two shows here in 2015, all thanks to Scoremore. This sold-out affair was his largest headlining performance in Dallas yet, as the 4,000-plus capacity venue was packed wall to wall.
As he took the stage to "Random," a cut from his newest album, When It's Dark Out (also the tour's namesake), the crowd erupted, sang back every word and snapped photos and videos on their phones. Not bad at all for a guy who receives no radio play and is largely considered an underground artist. Nonetheless, he's a Billboard success, selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his two studio albums, with the latest release peaking at No. 5 and selling 103,000 copies in its first week.
His immense success would be easy to comprehend if G-Eazy were an outstanding lyricist and rapper, but he's not. There's a lot more at play here. A lot of times it's unfair to bring up an artist's looks, but G-Eazy's look and style aren’t traditional hip-hop. His slicked-back hair, retro-styled ensembles and charming good looks elicit a strong reaction from women, and considering at least 60 percent of the venue was female, this seems to be his play. He's embraced the heartthrob role and hams it up frequently on stage, lifting his shirt at opportune moments and licking his lips regularly.
And why shouldn't he? In an age where hip-hop is mainstream and comprises a majority of pop music, G-Eazy may be a new type of rapper altogether: the superstar pop heartthrob who raps. Eminem is one of the most successful artists of all time, but G-Eazy's trajectory suggests he has the potential to be an even bigger commercial success.
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There’s nothing stopping him. While Eminem is a superstar in his own right, the controversy that constantly surrounded him and his horrorcore lyrics limited his commercial success, a goal he all but rejected in his music. G-Eazy embraces it and plays it safe. He’s approachable and marketable. He avoids the Macklemore trap by sticking to party raps, and while someone like Mac Miller or Logic could be considered competition, neither has the pop star looks.
He’s also earned the respect of some of hip-hop’s biggest acts such as Big Sean, who is on G-Eazy’s new album, and A$AP Ferg, who opened for G-Eazy Sunday with a wild, rambunctious offering that had the crowd going nuts and included a wonderful tribute to the late A$AP Yams.
G-Eazy wouldn’t be on this superstar trajectory if it weren’t for his spectacular live show, though. He's built his fan base by creating a personal connection with the audience and doing all he can to entertain them, like jumping into the crowd, taking photos with them and just giving it all he has. He was drenched in as much sweat as the audience by the show's end, when he announced his plans to make his latest single, “I Mean It,” platinum, and said he knows his fans will help him get there.
G-Eazy and his fans have a reciprocal relationship, and as long as he continues to play his part, who knows how far his enormous fan base can take him.