G-Eazy – These Things Happen

An album that flaunts its own excess

More stories from Parker Reed


Sometimes it seems like all rappers do is write songs about partying, gettin’ money and women. It may not be Shakespeare, but it is a welcome escape from the average joe’s daily routine.

A rapper who prides himself on living a lavish lifestyle is none other than Oakland-based hip-hop artist Gerald Earl Gillum, better known by his stage name G-Eazy. Known primarily for his chart topping singles, “I Mean It” and “Me, Myself and I,” Gillum didn’t always live a life of excess.

While growing up in the bay area of California, Gillum was being raised by a single mother when he first discovered his love of rap and hip hop music.

After releasing six mixtapes independently, in addition to two full-length records, RCA records took notice of his quickly growing fan base and signed him to a multi-album contract. Years of touring independently prepped Gillum for what was to come.

G-Eazy’s major label debut, “These Things Happen” was released on June 23, 2014 to great commercial success. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with 47,000 pure album sales in the first week alone. This commercial success, however, was not accompanied by universal critical acclaim.

Upon the release of “These Things Happen,” many critics slammed the album for being as shallow as a kiddie pool and containing only surface-level tracks dealing with late-night money-dropping club visits, the quandaries of fending off groupies on tour and wearing his success like a badge of honor to almost a sickening extent. All of these things are true, but that doesn’t mean that this album isn’t a fun listen.

The two opening tracks on the record, “These Things Happen” and “Far Alone,” both possess lyrics indicating that Gillum’s rise to pop success was self-propelled and his hard work is what got him to this point. With an impressive track record of independently released projects and successful independent tours, it is hard to argue with his logic.

The song that arguably made G-Eazy a hip-hop superstar is the third track on the album, “I Mean It.” Complete with a cheeky music video, the track proclaims G-Eazy is the epitome of attractiveness, wealth and success.

Another key aspect of this song is that it features an incredibly catchy chorus sung by rapper Remo. Gillum’s flow throughout the track capped off by Remo’s powerful chorus had this song destined for every dive bar from the bay of Oakland to New York Harbor.

The album is also laden with other interesting instrumental pieces and varied song topics. Tracks like “Almost Famous,” “Downtown Love,” “Just Believe” and “Tumblr Girls” show a more human side of G-Eazy. They portray him as a vulnerable and fearful artist even while he is basking in the glory of his newfound success.

Although the record is a fun escape from more serious records in the genre by artists like Kendrick Lamar, the album’s downfall is that, like many a high school house party, the album carries on for a bit too long.

Sixteen songs is too long for an album with this little variety in terms of subject matter. It becomes redundant after 10 or 11 songs, so the best way to consume this record is definitely in small doses.

“These Things Happen” is the equivalent of the jerk you knew in high school who only talked about how much he drank last night or what girl he hooked up with. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.

This record almost seems to relish in the backlash from forward-thinking millennials. The rapper channels that into some of the most enjoyable hip-hop tracks of the past few years.

G-Eazy is going to offend you, he is going to keep living a lavish lifestyle and you are going to keep hearing it as long as it keeps selling. So until the market responds poorly,  G-Eazy is going to keep pumping out club anthems.

Because when the money is there, these things happen.