Music Lessons: Loyola grad makes it big, inspires other young rappers

Music Lessons

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - He's got the No. 8 song on the Billboard Hot 100 and a sold-out tour. One of today's biggest rappers is a product of Loyola University and is inspiring a whole legion of high school students to follow in his footsteps.

One of those students, 18-year-old Dylan Sheh, has been rapping for years. Today, he's practicing in a state-of-the-art recording studio inside Loyola University. A New York City native, Dylan just enrolled at Loyola.

He explains, "G-Eazy definitely had what he needed and showed me that I needed to come here."

G-Eazy is a 26-year-old rapping phenom from Oakland, Calif., and 2011 graduate of Loyola.

"It's mind-boggling. It's like I pinch myself every day," G-Easy told FOX 8. "The music business program just made sense."

The rapper, whose real name is Gerald Gillum, initially didn't want to go to college.

"I wasn't very gung ho on the idea of school, to be frank, to be completely honest. It was kind of my grandma who forced me," G-Eazy explained.

The move paid off.

"This is where I found my voice, myself, my sound - like, everything. it was all coming together in those years," G-Eazy said.

Coming back to the school this January, Eazy, as he's often called, chatted with current students about his rise to fame. He says he's amazed that students like Dylan Sheh chose this school specifically because of him.

"That's crazy, but that's why I wanted so badly to fit this in, today, to come back because it's like, any game I can give back, anything I learned along the way, like let me help share that," G-Eazy said.

He learned at Loyola how to run the business side of a music career, taking classes on marketing and production. He cranked out his own singles and booked shows at places like the Republic nightclub, fighting his way to the top.

"It wasn't like some get rich quick scheme and if this doesn't work I'm abandoning ship. I just love making music," G-Eazy said.

Lovell Cooper, a music teacher at Loyola, says of the star, "He started as the freshman project and that whole model that they use now was started when he was a freshman. It just continued and it grew."

Cooper has real-world experience, having produced albums with Mos Def, and Cash Money records. That experience is what he tries to pass on to his students.

"You're learning how to be entrepreneurs, you're learning basically how to make money," Cooper said.

They're lessons G-Eazy took to heart. He met his good friend and current manager, Matt Bauerschmidt, while at school. Together, they implemented the school's teachings to build Eazy's career.

G-Eazy says, "Honestly it's just about being persistent, being determined, saying to the universe like what you want and just like going and making that happen."

That's exactly what Dylan Sheh is trying to do. He says, "I want to be touring every second. I want to just non-stop be on the road, entertaining."

The 18-year-old has lofty goals. But so too did another 18-year-old at one time.

When G-Eazy is asked if he really envisioned being famous one day, he replies, "Yeah, absolutely. That's the point. You dream big."

Dylan knows he's got his work cut out for him if he's going to make it big in the cutthroat entertainment business. But he's got some good role models and a program that's setting him up for success.

Dylan says, "It's definitely a lot of hours that have been put into it but it's not work when you love what you're doing, so I don't mind."

G-Eazy is currently in the middle of a sold out tour across the country. He's headlining the popular Coachella music festival in California this spring.

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