New album release by G-Eazy gets personal
Two years after dropping his first independent album, rapper G-Eazy sold out his first solo show in 2014. Following this skyrocket to fame was his second album, These Things Happen, which exuded Bay Area pride and deliberated on his newfound recognition. The album, which remained at the top of charts for a full year, featured top hits such as “I Mean It” and “Almost Famous” which highlight G-Eazy’s reservations about how long he will be able to hold onto the spotlight. Will he stay relevant? Can he handle a solo tour and make a name for himself? The open-ended set up and introspective vibe of this second album laid out a solid platform on which a highly anticipated follow-up album, with the answer to all of these questions, could be built.
When It’s Dark Out, G-Eazy’s third album, does not disappoint. The album, which dropped last Thursday, is very much a continuation of G-Eazy’s musings about his newly acquired fame and fortune. The featured artist line-up for When It’s Dark Out, though lengthy, is arguably much better than previous albums. The album features Big Sean, Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Keyshia Cole, and E-40, to name a few.
The album’s intro track samples a beat used several times throughout this album and These Things Happen, which creates a nice cohesion between his past albums and the songs on this particular album. The intro track features G-Eazy singing the words to the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas. The seriousness and almost eerie vibe of the intro sets the stage for a more serious album.
The first song, “Random,” previously released as a single, has a classic G-Eazy vibe — medium paced rapping with the occasional, frustrated yelling, and a mildly to severely cocky demeanor. Although the featured artists on the album are quite good, it was nice to see G-Eazy start off the album with a statement song that was true to his style and featured his voice alone. The slightly boastful “Random” highlights the hard work that G-Eazy has put into his success thus far in his career, and focuses specifically on how recent events and efforts have pushed him into the spotlight.
“Me, Myself, & I,” the third song on the album, gives us a meditative look at G-Eazy’s success. The premise of the song is plain and simple: Would his friends really be here if he weren’t famous? This theme is seen throughout the album, especially on songs “Sad Boy,” “Don’t Let Me Go,” and “For This.” These themes highlight G-Eazy’s struggle between loving fame and wanting to be surrounded by people who love more than just his success.
Within the next two or three songs, you can really start to see that this album is going to be more personal than his previous two. “Drifting,” an R&B crossover track featuring Tory Lanez and Chris Brown, talks about G-Eazy’s simultaneous drift toward fame and away from the woman he loves. This is another reoccurring theme in the album — G-Eazy is surrounded by beautiful women because of this fame and success, but none of them is who he really wants. The mixing of an almost confused, pondering G-Eazy with this classic cocky rap style creates a dynamic and quite enjoyable album. It’s almost like G-Eazy was in the middle free styling, took a step back and asked himself, “Is this really who I am now?”
The song “Sad Boy” is a perfect example of this confused side of G-Eazy. During the song, he is asking himself why he is unhappy, even though he is living a lavish lifestyle which many envy. This song undeniably signals a transition in the mood of the album. If you came to When It’s Dark Out in the search of feel-good, hyped up vibes similar to recent releases like “Forbes” and “I Mean It,” then you’re definitely going to want to stay within the first half of the album.
The latter half of the album features some really personal moments for G-Eazy about love, family, fame, and the sheer act of balancing it all without losing himself. In “Think About You,” he talks about the inner conflict of deciding whether or not to reach out to a lost love. He doesn’t want to hurt her by reaching out and opening up old wounds, but the last things he wants to do is hurt her by ignoring her. In “Everything Will Be OK,” featuring R&B and hip-hip singer-songwriter Kehlani Parrish, we see a vibe from G-Eazy that is more personal, in which he discusses not only this lost love, but the love lost between his parents. The song is five minutes of chills and pure heartache, but you simply can’t turn it off.
The honesty and reality of this album is refreshingly deep. Many of the songs on When It’s Dark Out are far more relatable than his popular singles about making it big, selling out shows in Europe, and buying Lamborghinis. The album show a more mature, confident rapper. Songs “Nothing To Me” and “For This” show a side of G-Eazy that is far less concerned with abiding by mainstream rap and the opinions of others, and far more concerned with telling a powerful story through quality music.
Even though the album does feature a mellower, more personal touch, G-Eazy fans can rest assured that the rapper’s classic boastful rapping style still has a strong presence, most notably in “You Got Me,” a song previously released as a single, and “One Of Them,” which essentially outlines a list of things that G-Eazy would like — or perhaps is demanding — one of.
All things considered, When It’s Dark Out is a quality album. G-Eazy stayed true to himself, while still managing to successfully create a strong dynamic between someone who is both confident and confused. Although some of the featured artists seem to be an odd combination with the rapper, and the quantity of artists featured on the album seems a bit excessive, most of the songs were good, many of them great, and a few were, in my opinion, fantastic. The contemplative vibe from his second album remains strong in the third album, and the listener still ends with the same, persistent question: “Where does G-Eazy go from here?”