As the crowd swayed back and forth to the lyrics of a newly released song, “All Eyes on Me”, Hip-Hop group, EARTHGANG stood on the stage and smiled. They clearly were taking in the special reaction to what they created on the eve of their fourth studio album, Ghetto Gods, which finally releases Friday, February 24th.
Initially, the project was set to be released on September 24, 2021, according to a tweet posted by the group. However, the date was eventually moved to January 28, 2022, as confirmed by the LP’s official trailer. That date was also missed with the group citing sample clearance issues in an Instagram Post the week of the hopeful release.
In the essence of two date changes, EARTHGANG members Olu and WowGr8 decided to do something special to make it up to their fans. A cross country live tour, in which they would play their album completely free of charge, with the only thing required for entry was good vibes.
The New York show was at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY. There truly were good vibes in the air as the live performance element paired with new music was truly an experience. With features on the album ranging from the likes of Future, J.Cole, Ceelo Green, JID, 2 Chainz, and Ari Lennox, the project perfectly encapsulates the highs and lows of the past 2 years, not just for EARTHGANG, but for patiently waiting fans.
With lyrics like “You survived last year? Get your hands up,” EARTHGANG kept the crowd engaged by citing and relating to the struggles of any general person. The song, “Strong Friends” further dives into that topic of just checking in on the people we love who look strong but could be struggling internally. The album shows a collective introspective look at the life, power, and struggles of Americans, but more specifically Black Americans, a perspective not easy to portray in their privileged position, but they managed to do it well.
The album’s lyrics cite the group’s response to not only the global pandemic but also the United States social pandemic of racism. EARTHGANG recorded the reggae-vibe track “Smoke Sum” in the midst of citywide marches protesting the deaths of George Floyd. (“We’re really closing Pro Tools out and meeting these people outside, Olu says, describing the recording process. “I can’t believe I’m still living this s***. “) Songs like “American Horror Story” dive deeper into this idea of a social pandemic, as they say, “Could’ve bought my freedom all this money I spent, Ain’t that some shit,” a cheeky remark on not only racism but the consumerist culture we live in.
All in all, I was impressed at the performance element of the show, as the delivery of verses like these is important, and their ability to make sure these lyrics hit hard is commendable. By the end of the show, I left uplifted and excited – uplifted after what I had witnessed that night in Brooklyn – and excited for the long-awaited release when the world will hear “Ghetto Gods” by EARTHGANG in full.