G-Eazy (Gerald Gillum)

Gerald Gillum at Willard in 2003

Although his school photo caption in 2003 predicted a future as a BMX-er, rapper G-Eazy, known to Willard alums of a certain age as Gerald Gillum, has said he always saw music as a career. After graduating from Berkeley High, he enrolled in Loyola University’s Music Industry Studies program. By 2007 he was part of the East Bay hip-hop scene. “He emerged as a hip-hop heartthrob that transforms the late-Fifties/early-Sixties American Graffiti aesthetic to the American Gangster era,” according to Rolling Stone. By 2010 G-Eazy was opening for some well-known artists, most notably Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg. His 2014 and 2015 albums jumped close to the top of the U.S. Billboard 200, he’s headlined a sold-out international tour and has played the main stage at music festivals including Lollapalooza, Electric Forest, and Austin City Limits among others. In the summer of 2016, he was featured in Britney Spears’ lead single “Make Me . . .” which he performed with Spears at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. In January 2017, G-Eazy won the People’s Choice trophy for favorite hip-hop artist, beating out luminaries like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and DJ Khaled. “Beat the odds do numbers & remain humble,” he tweeted to fans.