By: Brenna Mata
Artists and bands of all genres are always known to switch things up dramatically at one point in their career. This is that dramatic point for Oakland native rapper, G-Eazy. I suppose I should have mentioned in that previous sentence that he’s also a vocalist now, too. ‘Everything’s Strange Here’ is a record that any G-Eazy fan would have never expected. We can also assume that Gerald, along many other performers, have used this forced downtime to indulge themselves into their music 24/7. Lockdown times have definitely paid off for him.
The ten track album is coated with a perfect balance of alternative euphoria and a soulful Gerald Gillum speaking on his deepest thoughts. He explains in an Instagram post that “I didn’t know I needed to make this… This project is a representation of where my heart and head have been at. It’s honest and pure – it’s me.”
This message came after the surprise release of track number two ‘Free Porn Cheap Drugs’ that gave us an insight into the intriguing new project. The music video, which now has over 2 million views on YouTube, emphasizes a world of sunshine and sadness through trippy visuals and exhilarating tunnel shots. I remember listening to the song for the first time thinking to myself “Ok, so when is he gonna start rapping? Who’s singing?” Then I came to the realization that sure enough, it’s Gerald singing. No one was prepared for that. The song itself has a smooth indie vibe that surrounds a guitar riff you’d hear in a song by The Neighbourhood (this is where I shamelessly write in the fact that G and The NBHD actually have a song together, check it out). What makes the track so cohesive though is that it still fits the “G-Eazy Style.” I believe it represents wanting to escape the glamorous yet complicated lifestyle of being a celebrity, or living in the ego-centric city of Los Angeles, a subject he’s known to talk about.
However, there are multitudes of emotions through out ‘Everything’s Strange Here.’ It takes a lot of effort to introduce an album with a sorrow-filled track like ‘Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime’ to the revengeful ‘Back To What You Knew’ which might be the most relatable off the album. “You call me a monster, but this is what you turned me into.” We all felt that Gerald. From there it transitions into a bolder composition that features fellow Bay Area rapper Kossisko and actress Ashley Benson. ‘All The Things You’re Searching For’ is likely a ballad towards an ex as the trio exclaim in the chorus “I hope you find all the things you’re searching for” but maybe not in the nicest way.
G pulls out his urban dictionary for ‘Stan By Me’ as he sings about internet lingo like OnlyFans, “Making you my bae” and the “gram” (short for Instagram for those who are unaware). The verse “I’m a Stan for you” has tons of history attached to it – but to keep it short here it basically infers that your life is dedicated to that specific person only. That’s quite the statement to make, but at least it has a feel good sound.
Perhaps the track that stands out the most to me personally is ’Nostalgia Cycle.’ You can hear that his voice is full of pain as he slurs some of the words. The lyrics are beautiful too. G discusses his troubled past with all the demons that affected his mental health. When he explained that this project was an honest one, he wasn’t lying.
G-Eazy somehow manages to craft this record to greater heights with ‘Lazarus’ which is a cover of the late David Bowie. I’ll admit that I didn’t know this was originally Bowie’s song because G perfectly engineered his version to sound like it was an original. There’s this suspense and subtleness to it in the piano chords that makes it seem as if it should be played in the car on a journey to nowhere. Lots of kudos to this rendition!
‘Everything’s Strange Here’ finishes on an eyebrow-raising note with what is clearly a diss track to an ex of his. G’ goes full force on ‘Had Enough’ which is the only track on the album where you’ll hear him rapping. Every verse is full of defense to anything his ex ever said about him, whether it was what she was “texting the homies” or when “she would go on TV, she’d go Ellen on me” (ouch). Amidst the hostility of the track, G raps “I don’t hate you now but got the right to.” Maybe this was his goodbye message to the drama that surrounded this past relationship. Whatever the case may be, it yet again proved to be 110% honest.
Had you played me this record five years ago when I first became a fan of G-Eazy I would probably be like “WTF is this.” But as you grow up, you learn to appreciate art for what it is more and more. I can respect Gerald as an artist to the point where he could make a country album and I’d still listen to it. That goes the same for every other artist in my stacked music library. If it’s what they want to do, then so be it. Life’s too short to stick to one sound just so you can “stay on brand.” Staying on brand in my opinion is doing whatever you feel your heart should do – and G-Eazy did just that with ‘Everything’s Strange Here.’