Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
G-Eazy's "Breathe" kicks off with sounds that seem to indicate a foreboding, but they turn out to be something more like super confidence. A plinking and persistent piano line feels like it should accompany a gristly scene featuring a psychopath inflicting countless stab wounds to just another one of his victims. It sounds like Halloween come early, but this is before the New Orleans rapper, born Gerald Earl Gillum in Oakland, California, settles in with a tried and true storyline babes, babes, babes - all of them wanting him greedily.
It's a familiar tale for a rapper, but it's one that still comes from Gillum with a new form of charisma, coming from a slicker place, from a man who's been grooming himself to know how to handle signing tits since the day he mastered the art of cursive and began scrawling signatures in his school notebooks, with the hunch or more so the inclination to have a reason for a great autograph someday. The song delivers confidence and he DOES have "Tim Burton scary flow," as he refers to it. It's a boast, but it feels like one that's capable of being backed up. He raps, "I've been killing it for ages/Always checking ages/If she ain't tryin' to fuck the first night we're on different pages/We pregame then we party/Then the after-party rages/After that is when the purple smoke billows up and hazes," and it's more than evident that there's an end to the means, just as there's a means to the end. They work concurrently and help to serve each other, making one wonder which he holds in a higher regard - the ladies or the rhymes - and interestingly, it seems that the two are tied here.
Many times, rhymes about bagging chicks left and right are lazy and don't actually seem believable in the way that you could see those songs - ABOUT the topic - actually leading to more shenanigans of the same nature. G-Eazy songs about the slamming and bamming actually romanticize the subject and make it feel plausible that there's going to be more willing participants for that very same thing later tonight, after the show, after the after-party. Gillum oozes confidence and gives it off, partially sounding like Danny Brown and looking a whole hell of a lot like the suave Justin Townes Earle. He's here tonight to get the spins, as he's used to, and he'd like to take a few test drives when the clothing becomes optional.