“The Beautiful & Damned”
BOTTOM LINE An uneven flexing of his growing hip-hop power.
Sometimes on his fifth album, “The Beautiful & Damned” (RCA), G-Eazy is stunningly good. Other times, though, he sounds like he’s phoning it in.
It’s a weird dynamic, considering this didn’t have to be a double album and there is so much accumulated star power here that its breakout status was almost guaranteed.
The hard-hitting first single “No Limit,” featuring A$AP Rocky and Cardi B, has already crashed the Top 10, while the more pop-leaning “Him & I,” featuring G-Eazy’s rumored girlfriend Halsey, seems set to surpass it on the strength of her haunting chorus.
A plaintive Charlie Puth makes “Sober” a standout, as does Kehlani on the stately “Crash and Burn,” which sounds like the sequel to Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie.”
With so much strong material to choose from, including “Charles Brown,” which features Bay Area legend E-40 and Jay Ant, and the jazzy “Summer in December,” there’s no need for throwaway songs like “That’s a Lot” or throwaway lines like “To the beach, I don’t bring sand,” in “The Plan.” A little smart cutting and rewriting would turn “The Beautiful & Damned” from good to great.