Is there still a place in the rap world for Jeezy, aka Young Jeezy? I hope so. His debut album, Thug Motivation 101, was one of the finest examples of post-2000 gangsta trap, an unabashed throwback that belonged on the same shelf with albums by The Game and T.I. Now, more than a decade later, he’s still doing the same thing. And he’s still great at it.
He includes the likes of Tee Grizzley, one of the best new voices in 2017, as well as 2 Chainz and Kodak Black. Is he doing it to sound relevant? Probably. And while such team-ups have the opportunity to make an older artist seem like an O.G., in this case it just makes Jeezy sound old, which is too bad–because his verses and the beats on this album are solid. He doesn’t need gimmicks to sell his lyricism. On the other hand, the first song I listened to here was Cold Summer, the Grizzley track, so maybe it worked?
And, of course, there’s the inevitable Kendrick Lamar appearance as well.
There’s enough here to make this worth a listen, even if Jeezy isn’t hitting the heights he used to.
Recommended tracks: Cold Summer, Respect, American Dream.