The West Side loves Eric Bellinger, and with good reason.
Despite a practically non-existent chart history, the 32-year-old singer/songwriter from Los Angeles has quietly been penning some of the most popping party R&B the Left Coast has to offer, all while sliding out mixtape after mixtape of under-the-radar bops to groove to at your ratchet cousins’ kickbacks and pool parties. Eric B is just as vocally inclined as an R&B superstar like Chris Brown — without the history of scummy behavior to make the more conscious partygoers uncomfortable.
In fact, Bellinger even won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album for his work as a songwriter on Brown’s F.A.M.E.. His lyricism later garnered an ASCAP R&B/Hip-Hop Song with Usher for “Lemme See” in 2013. He’s got a plethora of EPs and self-released studio albums under his belt and that veteran skill is on full display in his latest long-player, Eazy Call.
His years in the game have also granted him a pretty extensive Rolodex, which he puts to effective use here, calling on both underground LA rap stalwarts like AD and Dom Kennedy as well as fellow singers Chevy Woods, Mila J, Sammie, and Ne-Yo. There’s even a Mase appearance, which sounds way fresher in execution than it does on paper.
It’s always seemed odd that such a talent as Eric Bellinger can fly under the national radar for so long while basically becoming a superstar in his native Los Angeles, but that’s more or less the way things have always worked here. A regional hit just lands with a greater impact in the most populous state in the Union, which is how a bonafide hitmaker can carve out a decade-long career without seemingly ever actually leaving California.
Make no mistake, though, there are hits galore on Eazy Call, from bedroom shakers to bouncy, top-down-cruising-on-Pacific-Coast-Highway anthems. The 808-heavy “Main Thing” forgoes trying to resurrect the Dom Kennedy who actually cared about rapping, instead utilizing his laid-back vocals to drop smooth ad-libs as player bookends, while Bellinger sprinkles post-club come-ons throughout both his own rapped verse and his catchy chorus.