When we first featured G-Eazy's "Make-Up Sex" in August of 2011, it was apparent that the Oakland native had talent and heaps of potential. Just a few months short of three full years later, the buzzmaking hip-pop artist and producer has embarked on a European tour and the release of his new album, These Things Happen.
Included on the 16-track project are previously-featured, Booth-approved selections "Been On ," "Almost Famous," "Far Alone" and "Let’s Get Lost."
For the most part G rides solo on These Things Happen, but there are a few friends who pop up along the way. Guest contributions are turned in by A$AP Ferg, Blackbear, E-40, Jay Ant and more, while boardwork is handled by Christoph Andersson, Jordan Evans, Matthew Burnett, Remo and others.
These Things Happen Album Review
Of course, that subjectivity has limits. We all agree that eating dirt is fundamentally disgusting, and I have yet to meet a living human being who didn't enjoy a well made chocolate cake. Ice JJ Fish can't sing, D'Angelo can. Those are as close to facts as we'll get in music. But in between is a whole lot of subjectivity, and while I could hide behind that myth of objectivity, like most of my music critic brethren and sistren, that'd be a lie. And I think the only way to truly talk about music is to embrace our biases head on, put them out in the open.
All of that was a very long-winded way of saying that I don't particularly enjoy G-Eazy's new album, These Things Happen, and the reasons why are exactly the reasons why I'm sure other people will love it. As he said of the album, "I wrote most of the album on tour. And every single night, even when we would say 'yo, let's chill tonight', end up drinking into oblivion, all is lost, bottle get emptied, you wake up the next day like what the hell happened last night? And it's just a nonchalant, Kanye shrug - these things happen."
Last night I did not empty out bottles with models. Last night my daughter scolded me for talking while she was trying to watch Frozen. Like everyone, I'm looking for music that reflects some part of my life, or what I might want my life to be, and so frankly there's not much for me on These Things Happen. But if you're 19 right now? Trying to live each day like it's your last? Fighting off hangovers with more beer and shuddering at the prospect of one day being forced to watch Frozen over and over again? Then there's a pretty good chance G-Eazy's got your anthem on this album.
That doesn't mean I'm completely immune to the appeals of this album - there is something universal about a melody and a catchy beat. Which is why even though G-Eazy might stereotypically get clumped into the "frat rap" crowd, the closer comparison by far is Drake. The same way Drake manages to get aggressive without losing some of the more relaxed charisma that makes him so popular on a song like Worst Behavior? That's exactly the kind of aggression we get from G-Eazy on I Mean It, a song that allows him to show a harder side without slipping into tough guy parody. The same way Drake can rap about balling out in the strip club on one song, and then two songs later sing about the loneliness that comes once the party's over and he's alone again? That's exactly the duality Eazy is trying to strike when he just outrights bangs on a song like Lotta That and then raps about the aftermath of a relationship forged during one of those late night parties on a song like Downtown Love.
Now I don't want to push the Drake comparisons too far - the music itself doesn't sound particularly alike, and I'm not saying he's biting Drizzy's style - but I do hear in These Things Happen the same balance of boasting and regret, women chasing and heartbreak. And when you're young, isn't that life? Just like Far Alone, aren't you constantly being told by those older than you that you'll never make it going your own way, that you have to follow the path they laid down? And then don't you fantasize about rubbing your success in the face of those doubted you, just like on a song like Been On? Just like Tumblr Girls, aren't you spending time each day staring at beautiful girls on the screen, dreaming of the day those women cross the digital divide into your life? Yes, yes and yes.
At this point in my life, personally, I need more from my music. I need my music to say something about where I've been and where I'm going, while These Things Happen lives decidely in the moment. The only horizon it sees is the next night's party, and I'm not going to be that old guy trying way too hard at the college party, pretending to still relate. Objectively speaking, there is no objectively speaking. But subjectively speaking, while I can't see myself revisiting These Things Happen, it's not hard to see it as the kind of album that will one day be looked back on by a certain generation as "the only album I played during that one awesome summer in '14." It's neither my fault or G-Eazy's fault, really, that I don't dig this album more. There is no "fault". Sometimes, if we're really being honest, these things just happen.
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth, a music writer and occasionally talks in podcast form and appears on RevoltTV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]
* In retrospect, how crazy was it that teachers let us play I'll Make Love to You at an 8th grade dance? I can only assume they weren't really paying attention.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins