G-Eazy Embraces His New-Found Fame on ‘The Beautiful & Damned’

It’s fascinating to watch the upswing of certain artists from underground to the mainstream. G-Eazy is currently in the midst of one hell of an upswing. His newest project, “The Beautiful & Damned,” speaks directly to this. Out Dec. 15, the LP, his fourth, finds the Bay Area rapper living in the moment, sparking joints and popping champagne. Coming in at 20-tracks strong, this record plays to his strengths, both lyrically and sonically.

From “Me, Myself & I” to “Him & I,” G-Eazy’s gone from a solo artist seeking recognition to a widely recognized MC in a high-profile relationship. The latter tune features his better half, Halsey. “2017 Bonnie and Clyde,” as he describes their relationship in the opening verse of “Him & I,” a track which could have fallen on either one of their respective records. The chilled-out beat, a piano riff that falls somewhere between sinister and somber, and Halsey’s ravishing vocals make this single almost too good to be true. Stylistically, the two are damn near perfect for one another. If you need further proof, the album’s final track (“Easy’) shows G rapping to his former self over Halsey’s “Hold Me Down.”

In part two of G’s transformation into the mainstream, fans find him going from “five beats a day for three summers on two CPUs” to stadium tours, huge album drops and even a starring role in a film (“Tunnel Vision”). Bigger and bigger names are finding their way on his albums, with this one being a sort of crescendo. “No Limit” features arguably two of the biggest names in hip-hop right now. During a chance encounter with A$AP Rocky at a studio in LA, G played him this cut and moments later, they were freestyling over this tune’s Southern bounce. Cardi B drops in on this one for a verse as well where she borrows from Three 6 Mafia’s 1999 hit “Slob on My Knob.” In fact, the whole tune is an homage to that early 2000’s era of Southern rap artists like Three 6 and No Limit Soldiers. “Pick Me Up” turns to Oslo’s Anna of the North for vocal help. G’s style melds so well with aesthetically similar artists, particularly females, like the aforementioned Halsey, and Anna is another solid example. It’s that mix of low-key electronics and a general vibey quality that makes his collabs so strong – see “Crash & Burn” ft. Kehlani and “Mama Always Told Me” with Madison Love as well. Other featured artists include Drew Love of THEY., E-40, Charlie Puth, Sam Martin and a handful of others.

There’s no question G-Eazy’s on an upswing, and loving every minute of it. New found love and new found success will put a man in some kind of mood. “The Beautiful & Damned” may show that his sonic progression is somewhat plateaued, but regardless, his mindset and lyrical presence of mind is improving. The first line of “Crash & Burn” reads “Live each day like it’s your last / ’Cus you never feel the moment till it’s passed.” G’s lack of naïveté is impressive in and of itself. He knows that this could all drop off a cliff at any moment. Not because he’s untalented, but because of the pace at which the industry moves in the modern era. He’s having fun right now, and this album epitomizes it.

The Beautiful & Damned is available Dec. 15 on Apple Music.