People say hip-hop is dead, but all signs seem to point in the other direction. With artists such as Kendrick, J. Cole, Drake, Gambino and Earl Sweatshirt blowing up, it’s not a stretch to say that the rap game is in the best shape it has been in a long time. Leading his countrywide tour, “From The Bay To The Universe,” and selling out venues within a matter of weeks, Berkeley-bred MC G-Eazy is proving that despite his newcomer status in the industry, he is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
G-Eazy came back home to Oakland’s Fox Theater last week, accompanied by other artists, many of them local: HBK Gang, Marty Grimes, Bobby Brackins and E-40, to name a few. Walking on stage as the minute countdown neared its final digits, G truly embodied his moniker, “The James Dean of Rap,” sporting his iconic dapper black-on-black ensemble and trademark slicked pompadour. He opened with “Downtown Love,” from his sophomore album, These Things Happen, garnering animated cheers from the audience as he jumped across the stage.
Although known for his cool-headed monotone flow, G-Eazy quickened the pace of his tracks, fitting in more than 20 of his own songs, along with many other guest performances, in the hour-and-a-half-long set. At times, it seemed as if the rapper was trying too hard to turn his slower songs into crowd-stirring bangers with more aggressive and hurried vocal deliveries, which was, unfortunately, more underwhelming than electrifying. But when the rapper performed his hard-hitting tracks, such as “Monica Lewinsky,” “I Mean It” and his cover of Big Sean’s “I Don’t Fuck With You,” the energy was palpable. The crowd responded accordingly, wildly waving their hands in the air and screaming along with G.
G-Eazy shone during his more intimate and downtempo songs, notably “Remember You,” “Waspy” and “Let’s Get Lost,” in which supporting vocals from the likes of Devon Baldwin and Black Bear complemented the more relaxed vibes.
“Single ladies make some noise!” G-Eazy said after casually being handed a whiskey bottle and taking a couple swigs. The crowd erupted in hormone-induced shrieks. People threw bras on stage, which then collected on the mic stand.
Throughout the set, one thing was clear: G’s humility and gratitude for the success that he has earned. He gave constant shoutouts to his fans, his collaborators, his family and his friends — the people who gave him their unwavering support.
“This is a feeling I can’t fucking explain: coming home and selling out the Fox,” G-Eazy said before playing “Loaded,” the last song of the night. “Anything is possible.”
Contact Josh Gu at [email protected].