Caroline Grogan, Reporter
Marc E Bassy is a special one, and not just because he was my most-listened to artist on Spotify this year. Any artist that begins his first EP with a sample from a James Baldwin speech, has Sly and the Family Stone lyrics tattooed on his ribcage, and casually releases poetry demands a second look.
Towards the tailend of a rather bleak 2017, one saving grace emerged on October 14th (for Marc E. Bassy fans, at least). Bassy finally dropped his newest album Gossip Columns and, though almost two years have passed since the release of his last full-length project, the East Hollywood EP, he hasn’t exactly been laying low. Since releasing the Groovy People EP, which dropped in 2016 through Republic Records, Marc E. Bassy has skyrocketed into the mainstream lexicon, especially with radio-friendly singles You & Me (2016) featuring G-Eazy and Plot Twist (2017) featuring KYLE.
With Gossip Columns, Marc delves back into all things gritty, describing the album in an interview with Billboard as “sensationalized stories from my personal life, experience and observation. I have always dug into these stories as sources for inspiration, and being based in the muck and mire of Los Angeles, a tabloid-ish picture is what I have painted within this album,” Marc said.
The first track, Black Jeep, feels the most out of place in the context of the album as a whole, yet it emerges as one of the most necessary and introspective songs from Gossip Columns. On this track, Bassy takes a more head-on approach to a topic he’s briefly alluded to in songs before: the death of his father when he was a young teenager. Though Marc discussed this turning point in his life at length in his interview with podcast Mama We Made It, Black Jeep is Bassy’s way of telling the story in the way he knows best: through a song.
Features throughout the album include fellow Bay Area artists and frequent collaborators G-Eazy, Kehlani, and Bobby Brackins as well as KYLE and Hailee Steinfeld (on Plot Twist) and LA rapper YG, who makes an appearance on the stripped-back track Westside Love in which he and Bassy lament the struggles of finding love in LA.
Gossip Columns’ theme of Bassy’s love-hate relationship with LA and the people who inhabit it is front and center in Real One, the last track on the album. Even though Bassy spends most of the song criticizing stereotypical rich LA girls, he concedes to them: “let me make one thing perfectly clear, I still wanna be your one.”
If Marc struggled with coherence in his first EP, Only the Poets, Gossip Columns is him coming into his own. Bassy has his keen eye trained on the aspects of Los Angeles that people – himself included – love to hate, and out of it he has conjured and immersed us listeners in this amoral, materialistic world through an album rife with satire and keen insights.
Marc E. Bassy recognizes his vices, but doesn’t pretend that they aren’t fun to indulge in. Whether it be going back to a former flame or starting a solo music career, Bassy seems to keep in mind what he sang on Only the Poets: “You’ve got to give in at some point to the things that you love to do.”
- Black Jeep
- Til I Get Found
- New Ting