Sex, drugs, and rock & roll. And rap. On G-Eazy's second LP, When It's Dark Out, the self-made Young Gerald oozes confidence on a nocturnal journey of hedonistic rhymes set to the wooziest of productions. He spits about what he knows: gratification, how to attain it, and the energy expended in the process. Yet despite the pitfalls and pain that he raps about here, the lures of pleasure and fame remain mighty. G-Eazy covers familiar ground, spinning similar tales of drugs, partying, and fornicating over 17 addictive tracks without the decadence ever growing stale, like wandering through different, enticing corners of a dark club. By weaving such tales of danger and pleasure, G-Eazy delivers a bevy of vicarious escapes to his listeners. He manages to differentiate himself from easy race comparisons -- while also acknowledging his conflicting privilege -- rapping about being "the coldest white rapper in the game since the one with the bleached hair" and asking "what if the game didn't care I was white?" He's not corny like Macklemore, not scary like Eminem (circa 2000), not as earnest and afflicted as newcomer Witt Lowry. He's another breed: a rapper and a rock star. Throughout, G-Eazy is supported by an army of guests ranging from singers Bebe Rexha (on the hit "Me, Myself & I") and Keyshia Cole ("Nothing to Me") to hip-hop stars Big Sean ("One of Them") and Chris Brown ("Drifting"). Old-school icons Too $hort ("Of All Things") and E-40 ("Nothing to Me") even make appearances to offer a bit of street cred. Occasionally, G-Eazy takes pause, offering moments of introspection and reflection. On "For This," he provides a lyrical reminder of how far he's come, and how he did it by himself, while on "What If," he reminds listeners "I worked for years and studied the game." It's an assured nod to the past, when rising to the top came with a lot of discipline and grassroots support. Beneath the debauchery and boasting, G-Eazy sounds grateful to see his hard work pay off. Just don't stop his party.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
feat: Bebe Rexha