‘Runaround Sue’ Rapper G-Eazy Takes Big Step Up With ‘When It’s Dark Out’: Album Review

G-Eazy
Album Review
3.5
Courtesy of RCA

"In just one year I went from ­overlooked to overbooked," G-Eazy raps on "Sad Boy," summarizing his ascent from Tumblr heartthrob who made a rap ­version of "Runaround Sue" to rising star with a Billboard 200 No. 3 debut (2014's These Things Happen). The Oakland, Calif., MC's second LP aspires to back up his claim that he's "the coldest white rapper in the game since the one with the bleached hair" ("Calm Down"). It's hyperbolic, but When It's Dark Out marks a vast leap forward: His cadences are more agile, his boasts more boastful, his guest list tighter (Too Short, E-40, Kehlani). Produced by longtime ­collaborator Christoph Andersson, Boi-1da and Southside, the sonic aesthetic is Danny Elfman in the trap. A few blatant crossover-R&B attempts ("Some Kind of Drug," the Chris Brown-featured "Drifting") feel ­faceless, but they're largely outliers on an album that gives this former greaser ­novelty three dimensions.

Listen to G-Eazy and other artists featured in this week's issue of Billboard.

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 12 issue of Billboard.