G-Eazy’s New Album: Beautiful or Damned?
As I drove through the quiet neighborhoods of Mill Valley while listening to The Beautiful and Damned, my foot tapped along slowly to G-Eazy’s smooth flow and the rhythm from the music. But that’s all there was. The words didn’t have any substance nor did the music evoke a sense of awe within me. G-Eazy, the Oakland-based rapper first rose to fame in 2015 when his “Me Myself and I” featuring Bebe Rexha reached number seven on the Billboard hot one hundred chart, his first song within the top ten.
In his new album, the songs are very self-centered and focused on basic ideas like women, fame, and money. The title track suggests that “this is everything that comes with celebrity/criticism, ridicule and the scrutiny… truthfully/you don’t know ‘bout the fame, what it do to me/…you could try to be a better guy.” His lyrics on fame are quite ironic though, because he is living every Hollywood cliché as a rapper who’s words barely scratch the surface.
Most of the songs are exceptionally two-dimensional and black and white. His songs have subjects where it’s one or the other, which holds no room for interpretation. In “Mama Always Told Me”, there are only saints and sinners, good girls and bad boys and nothing else. G-Eazy raps “Label me as a bad guy/safe bet, I’m the anti.” While the song tries to delve into his pleas to take a chance at love, it is overshadowed by the idea of him being rebellious and, surprise, surprise, a bad boy.
Another conclusion that I came to was that his songs were almost unbearable if they didn’t have featured artists. The “best” songs on the album were “Sober” and “No Limit,” which relied on other artists like Cardi B and Charlie Puth to make this song even remotely tolerable. In “No Limit,” Cardi B brought a fresh wave of energy and confidence to the song which automatically elevated its status. Meanwhile, Charlie Puth’s velvety falsetto in “Sober” made the song flow evenly to create a basic but strong showcase of tunes.
In the album, G-eazy explores his inner pain and conflict, but it comes off as selfishness and shallow instead. In “Pray For Me,” he spits “Why the fuck you say you know me?/ This industry is hella phony/ Never gave a fuck and I probably never will/ Only kept it hella real/ I ain’t got an ounce of chill.” The chorus of the song is him repeating “Pray for me” as he tries to navigate through the jungle that is Hollywood and trying to balance fame but then he follows with saying he doesn’t give a [expletive] . He condescends himself while trying to gain empathy from the listener. The most he leaves his inner bubble is in his song “Him and I,” which features Halsey. He says “They don’t wanna see us make it, they just wanna divide/ 2017 Bonnie and Clyde/ Wouldn’t see the point of living on if one of us died, yeah.” His girlfriend is essentially the only the only extension of himself in the whole album.
“The Beautiful and Damned” misses the mark and purpose of exploring G-eazy’s inner conflicts, but instead comes off as one dimensional and cliche.