Gerald Earl Gillum, better known as G-Eazy, understands music and how to create his brand. "It's not money, it's really just having a good idea," says the 23-year-old rapper/songwriter from Oakland, California. It's clear, looking at Eazy's self-produced music catalog, and rows of black-and-white photos of him decked out in classic Americana gears, the indie talent had great "ideas" and consistent efforts for his sound of memorable tunes and bars to come together as a package. But his sound wasn't always channeling 1960s nostalgia (like on Endless Summer) or boasting lifestyle of the ratchet (like on "Loaded"). Growing up in the Bay during the height of the hyphy era, Eazy's musical epiphany came when he arrived in New Orleans for college. While his peers were busy celebrating youths, G locked himself in his dorm room, composing music, and recording tracks. His early determination began to pay off after graduation, hopping on tours, quickly growing from 200 seaters to nearly 1,000-seat venues. Is he a front runner for the new wave of web-savvy indie talents? He's certainly in the race, and quickly running faster than most. While in New York City for a sold-out show, XXL caught up Eazy about zebras, groupies, and oversized t-shirts. —Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)