Before I get into the genius that is The Beautiful & Damned by G-Eazy, you should know that I’m not the biggest rap/hip-hop fan. I have a handful of songs and albums from rappers in my music library, but generally, I spend my time in other genres.
I think it’s to G-Eazy’s credit that I’ve stuck around until album three, and that I managed to fall in love with this album. I heard both These Things Happen and When It’s Dark Out in their entirety, and I plucked a few favorites from both bodies of work. However, The Beautiful & Damned drew me in right away and I have yet to escape.
The duality of this album is fantastic; Gerald and G-Eazy push and pull at one another as the artist battles between his wealth and fame and the desire to maintain who he really is–just a normal guy who loves to rap. The album fluctuates between the uptempo, radio-baiting, popular rap songs like “No Limit” and “That’s A Lot” to the more introspective, lyrically clever songs like “Eazy,” “Summer in December,” and “Leviathan.”
The lyrics are my favorite part of a song, so the latter category is what really made me respect G-Eazy as a rapper. That’s in line with the pattern I developed with his previous albums–my favorites are “Everything Will Be OK,” “Almost Famous,” and “Tumblr Girls,” each of which either tell a story, have some lyrical depth, or a mix of both.
Most of these songs feel as if he reached into his deepest thoughts and spilled them onto the paper, and that is what I think makes a fantastic song, regardless of the genre. With the smooth production and melodies on songs like “No Less,” “Eazy,” and “Pick Me Up,” the listener is drawn into the mind of a rapper who spent years grinding until he finally achieved his dream–only to be met with the inevitable difficulties that fame and excess can bring.
As he said in an interview with Sway In The Morning while promoting the album, his goal isn’t to get anyone to feel bad for the poor, rich white boy, but to reveal a deeper part of himself. I get why it could be conceived as him looking for sympathy when he technically has everything that a lot of us regular people (think) we want.
“Be careful, you don’t want this. Carefree, but there’s a dark side that haunts this…”
– Leviathan ft. Sam Martin
However, everyone has their challenges, and the “trappings of fame” isn’t just a saying. We only ever see the glitz and the glamour that’s caught on camera…but most of us don’t know what it is to have access to wild parties, drugs, and people who will do anything to stick by our sides only to tell everyone else they’ve been in our space.
Hip-hop, at its root, is poetry. G-Eazy’s growth is evident in The Beautiful & Damned, especially from a lyrical standpoint. The larger body of work is infinitely more intricate and appealing than its lead single, “No Limit.” (Although, I bop with the chorus whenever I hear it…because who doesn’t?)
I have to give “Love Is Gone” a special shoutout. On the track, he laments the state of the world, especially the political nonsense that the U.S. is currently experiencing. He also verbally acknowledges the fact that most of his fans may want him to stick to the “simpler topics” in his music, but he makes it clear that their preference won’t stop him when he feels strongly about it. I have a lot of respect for his willingness to include this song, especially when so many artists purposely stay clear of these topics out of fear that they’ll alienate their fanbases.
Verdict: I. am. obsessed. This album truly surpassed my expectations. Buy The Beautiful & Damned on iTunes here.
Also, check out one of my favorite tracks, “No Less,” below: