“The Beautiful & Damned,” the fifth and latest album dropped by Oakland rapper G-Eazy was released in early December. It is a 74-minute inside view where he wonders if it’s possible to survive the strenuous and corrupting life as a celebrity.
The title of the album comes from the novel “The Beautiful and Damned“ by F Scott Fitzgerald. The novel tells the story of a outgoing New Yorker Anthony Patch, who is awaiting the death of his wealthy grandfather so he can play with the money. Patch claims himself a writer, but in reality, is a drunk who would rather have a night out with friends than write a single word. The party life is all he knows and cares for. G-Eazy named the album after the book because “he was struck by the duality in the title,” when in fact the two are linked by more than just the title. Like patch, G-Eazy struggles to resist the temptation of nightlife rather than focusing on living up to his full potential.
Being the most inwardly focused album, he has released, G-Eazy fights his personal devils and angels throughout the entire album. We see this first hand at the very beginning of the album in the track titled “The Beautiful & Damned,” Eazy contemplates: “I’m talking to myself like every night/You could try to be a better guy/But to understand a Gemini/Angel, Devil, it’s both him and I.” References of said angels are also seen in “Pray for Me” where he states that a female counterpart “looks like an angel, she might be a demon.” In “Leviathan,” Eazy tells the same female, “When I told her I’m the devil, I was smiling.” In this song, he also states, “Be careful, you don’t want this/There’s a dark side that haunts this,” and two lines later he’s back to pills and shots of liquor.
This album is a lot darker and deeper than his previous albums but when it gets too dark there is a flighty song around the corner. “Sober” and “Legend” both talk about Champagne and Valium. “Pick Me Up” worries about getting caught up by the stronghold of cocaine, where “Gotdamn” focuses on romancing a girl who is just as extroverted as he is.
The album itself doesn’t get a complete flow to it until about the last third, where we are introduced to “Crash and Burn,” “Summer in December” and “Charles Brown.” All of these highlight topics such as depression and the fear of failure.
There is no doubt that G-Eazy has a lot to say and a lot to give to the music industry, but there is a stronger and shorter album that could be produced out of the 20-song playlist. He is slowly making his way into the spotlight, yet he needs to focus more on his own style rather than on what he thinks the radio wants to hear. G-Eazy needs to trust his abilities and know that they will get him far rather than playing it safe with guaranteed radio hits.