When Gashi dropped his G-Eazy-assisted single “My Year” at the start of 2019, he was speaking his success into existence. “I have a relationship with the universe, and I’m slowly learning how to talk to her,” the 29-year-old rapper and singer says during a phone interview from his home in Beverly Hills.
That sweet talk is working. In the half year since, the wildly versatile Roc Nation artist has celebrated an astronomical ascent, from performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to dropping a pair of acoustic Spotify Singles (including a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”) to signing on for a residency at Marquee Nightclub. His #OhMyGashi party kicks off July 12, and when it does, it’ll be the culmination of an impossible dream come true for the former refugee.
Born in Libya to Albanian parents, Gashi lived with his family in 24 different countries before settling in Brooklyn during the late 1990s. That’s when his obsession with hip-hop started. But his future is much bigger than rap. Songs like “Roses” and the DJ Snake-produced “Creep on Me” with French Montana showcase an artist who can just as easily pen an R&B banger or tropical dancefloor bop as he can a boastful rap bar.
Though Gashi hasn’t even dropped his first album, he’s got two ready to go. The first record, Gashi, will spotlight his rap roots. The second as-yet-untitled album is an ’80s-inspired curveball that Gashi dubs his best work. “I built a time machine because I hate the music in 2019, so I went back to 1984 and I made music there,” he says of the concept.
As his name gets bigger, the artist hasn’t lost sight of how far he’s come. “I feel like a lot of people wouldn’t know success because they’ve never struggled,” he says. “What I want to do is inspire other people like me who come from countries where there’s no opportunity at all.”
The words “never quit” are inked on his neck as a constant reminder of his purpose. Despite his success—a platinum single, a home on each coast, two cars and a Las Vegas residency—Gashi says he’s nowhere near where he wants to be. “The struggle never ends, but the fact that I come from nothing is what makes me keep going.”
He’ll leave that hunger and passion on the floor at Marquee. “I’m one of those artists that doesn’t really go out much, so when I go out I give you energy that I’ve been holding back for months,” he says. “Anyone that comes to any of my shows ends up leaving with my energy.”
GASHI July 12, 10:30 p.m., $20-$30. Marquee Nightclub, 702-333-9000.