G-Eazy's Confessional 'The Beautiful & Damned' Strikes Compelling Balance Between Rap & Pop
Bay Area rapper G-Eazy shakes up his unblemished James Dean-chic with the release of his third LP, The Beautiful & Damned (out Dec. 15). It appears the millennial MC’s picture-perfect rocker lifestyle has taken an unforgiving toll on him as he works toward being the man he aspires to be.
On The Beautiful & Damned, Gerald Earl Gillum reflects on the beast he is becoming. "When you move this fast as I'm movin'/ All the toxic things that I'm using/ All the substances I'm abusin'/ All the sex, and the drugs, and the boozin’,” G-Eazy spits, acknowledging his over-indulgence on the title track. His vice-filled ascension and self-awareness are further illustrated on the haunting earworms “Pray For Me,” “The Plan” and “Pick Me Up,” where he navigates through darkened dreams and a plethora of women who only think of themselves, but feed his ego.
Nevertheless, through fame's jungle, G-Eazy has managed to snag himself a loyal confidante in songstress Halsey. Together the A-list couple beautifully portrayed 2017's tattooed Bonnie & Clyde with radio hit “Him and I.” The memorable lyrics, “He said be true, I swear I'll try/ In the end, it's him and I/ He's out his head, I'm out my mind/ We got that love, the crazy kind,” went viral. The song, which debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, depicts G-Eazy and Halsey living out a real-life fantasy together.
The unceasing duality of his adrenaline-laced narrative heightens G-Eazy’s artistry by placing his internal demons at center stage. "But a Dream,” the Charlie Puth-assisted record “Sober” and “Legend” serve as confessionals from his wrestle to the top of the charts, and spotlights hip-hop's often addictive whirlwind of stimulation.
This year the rapper’s continuation of featuring both prominent street emcees, like A$AP Rocky & E-40, alongside pop princesses over testimonial beats was exceptionally apparent -- and two of his The Beautiful & Damned singles are climbing the Hot 100. It's a recipe that has inherently served G-Eazy well, making him one of the few hip-hop hitmakers capable of easily crossing genres. Even so, Gerald's bars and aristocratic brand power do not impede on his ear-pleasing alliances with emerging talents, such as Jay Ant and Madison Love. His soon-to-be famous collaborations on singles such as “No Less” and “Love Is Gone” showcase sonorous superstar promise.
The perks of already being a celebrity blare through distinctively on the celebratory anthem “Leviathan,” and then there's the inescapable way Cardi B turned him out on the fan favorite “No Limit.” Still, the allusive hangover of Gerald’s bubbly fortune was fastidiously doused in references of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel of the same name, The Beautiful & Damned, demonstrating the heartthrob's rap virtuosity.
“Mama Always Told Me” and “No Less” articulate G-Eazy's willful submission to true love and fresh compromises for romance. With the plot twist on the cadences of “Fly Away,” the rhythmic revelation in which he bows to a devoted lover who unconditionally supported his negligence growing up, G-Eazy regrettably notes how his then-wooer was given every reason to hate him, yet doesn’t.
The purposeful compositions “Summer in December” and "Crash & Burn," a joint effort with fellow Oakland native Kehlani, reinforce the well-rounded musical anecdotes of G-Eazy’s tribulations, solidifying the beat-filled reminiscences of The Beautiful & Damned as a repentant vicissitude of ambition. The album opens the floor for listeners' presumptions of the once baby-faced emcee to wither away as they play through the lyrical ruins his of lawless alter ego’s canorous exposé. This release pushed G-Eazy to author his heaviest album, deliver his most dexterous wordsmithing and to delve into chapters of fame most VIPs wouldn’t divulge publicly.