G-Eazy, The Beautiful & Damned | Album Review
Bay Area Rapper G-Eazy shows more range on this highly-anticipated third project, double album ‘The Beautiful & Damned.’
28-year old, Bay Area Rapper G-Eazy has experienced quite the rise to fame. He’s defied the expectations, particularly for the white male rapper. It seems that he has some staying power, as he drops his highly-anticipated third studio album, The Beautiful and the Damned. He’s joined by a star-studded cast on a mix of bangers and surprisingly more reflective, thoughtful cuts.
“The Beautiful & Damned”
“The Beautiful & Damned” initiates in foreboding fashion, successfully capturing a damned sensibility. The distinct vocals by Zoe Nash accentuates the assertive, dark vibes of the opener. Her initial chorus sets up G-Eazy with hard-nosed, unapologetic rhymes. Electric start. “Pray for Me” possesses a haunting, spiritual sound that stands out from the first listen. Essentially, he petitions for prayer given the vices of fame.
“These women, they plot and they scheming / Do anything to get ahold of my semen / I’m flushing the rubber, you won’t get my children.”
Perhaps his seriousness and sincerity are questionable, particular within the context of the music he’s issued throughout his career. Nonetheless, intriguing.
G-Eazy and Halsey join forces on “Him & I,” a Bonnie and Clyde themed, rough-and-tumble relationship record. The results are enjoyable, resulting in pleasant, no-frills vocals from Halsey, and agile rhymes from Eazy. “But a Dream” commences with pitch-shifted vocals from G-Eazy on the hook. By the first verses, the listener is reacquainted with his distinct, Bay Area sound and tone. As always, his flow is compelling, while the production work by Dillon Francis is a selling point.
“Sober” begins abruptly with the beautiful, smooth vocals of Charlie Puth. His kinder, gentler sound on the hook contrasts the blunter, edgier rapping of G-Eazy. G remains cocky and profane, though he reins it in more than usual. Production work is solid, and the song, fittingly set in a minor key, matches the sentiment of the lyrics and persona of Eazy. Puth is an asset, and Gerald is on autopilot. “Legend” is a respectable solo banger. Like the material preceding it, flow and production stand out.
Move aside “Legend,” “No Limit” is the banger to beat. Assisted by Cardi B and A$AP Rocky, Rocky sets the f**kboy tone, totally suiting G-Eazy. Eazy follows up with a cocky post-chorus, as well as a verse encompassing sex, money, and uncompromising confidence. He returns for the third verse, referencing Costco rubbers, #Damn Daniel, and Saint-Laurent. Cardi B drops the second verse, matching Eazy’s unapologetic-ness.
“Liquor and women, two things I don’t chase.” Sigh, he remains cocky and hard-nosed on “The Plan.” It’s hard not to smirk, or crack a smile on certain lines, such as, “Popeye just opened the can” or “Tell me, why is your girlfriend my number one fan.” “That’s a Lot” is sleek and modern in sound. Eazy maintains his cockiness – shocker. Naturally, lines like “Ooh, she a thot,” speaks to the depth exhibited. “Pick Me Up,” featuring Anna of the North, is filled with vices – Drugs, sex, and perhaps most of all, Hollywood. G-Eazy notably makes reference to the album title: “The Beautiful & Damned, tryna find balance.”
Banger “Gotdamn” commences the second disc profanely. Eazy’s flow is chill and relaxed, yet he still packs a punch with his rhymes. Devoid of depth, the hook, in all its simplicity, is infectious. “Leviathan” is more elite. Featuring a fantastic hook by Sam Martin, the record is on autopilot from the jump. As rock-solid as the flow and rhymes are, arguably, Martin, as well as the sensation production by G-Eazy, steals the show.
“Crash & Burn” pairs Eazy with Kehlani, who sounds radiant. Thematically, this record has more substance and thoughtfulness – clearly more transcendent than say, “Gotdamn.” Eazy is on autopilot, spitting assured, yet easily over the beat. “Summer in December” commences mysteriously with moody piano. With a more refined sound – jazzy, soulful, old-school production work – Eazy takes a more reflective, thoughtful rhyming approach.
On “Charles Brown,” G-Eazy taps Jay Ant and Bay Area vet, E-40. Jay Ant handles hook, while E-40 drops a colorful second verse. As for G, he drops the first and third verses. What’s notable about this record is the jazzy, soulful, West Coast sound. On follow-up “No Less,” he’s joined by Louis Mattrs (vocals on the intro, pre-chorus, chorus, and outro) and SG Lewis (production). The result is a chill, pleasant record. It doesn’t challenge the ‘elites,’ but certainly enjoyable.
“Love Is Gone”
Madison Love joins in on “Mama Always Told Me,” dropping an infectious, memorable chorus. She’s a great catalyst for G-Eazy, who follows with sick flow and sound rhymes intact. “Mama” is laid-back, rhythmic, and well-rounded. Ugochi guests on “Fly Away,” where the rapper reflects on a past relationship. It’s clear he has regrets and has great respect for his ex:
“I wish you happiness, one day you’ll find the right one / You’re a queen, you deserve to be treated like one.”
“Love Is Gone” is among the most hard-hitting songs from The Beautiful & Damned. The production work is a selling point, featuring dusty, old-school drums, and set in minor key. Drew Love blesses us with his beautiful, distinct, and soulful vocals. Rather than relying on the shallow, G-Eazy focuses on relevant political and social issues.
“Eazy,” featuring Son Lux, concludes intriguingly, finding the rapper reflecting back from whence he came and where he is now. The production is slick and the rhymes ‘on.’
All said and done, G-Eazy shows greater range on The Beautiful & Damned. Sure, there are still songs that center around his confidence, cockiness, and sexual endeavors. BUT, there are also deeper, more thoughtful moments. The bangers bang, the flow is tight, and the production is top-notch. Much more to embrace than to denounce by all means.
Gems: “Pray for Me,” “Him & I,” “Sober,” “No Limit,” “Leviathan,” “Crash & Burn,” “Love is Gone” & “Eazy”
G-Eazy • The Beautiful & Damned • RCA • Release: 12.15.17
Photo Credit: RCA