Top 8 of 08 #05: Young Jeezy – The Recession

January 2nd, 2009 by | Tags: , ,

I used to be a Young Jeezy hater. I think I first heard dude in Fabolous’s Do The Damn Thing, where he gave a funny, if uninspired and really kind of dumb, verse. The problem with that verse is that it was quotable, just off the strength of how dumb and how ad-lib laden it was. If you can come out with more quotables than the punchline heavy Fab, well, there’s something there.

I couldn’t escape Jeezy from 2007 to 2008. I got put on to Juelz Santana after years of hating and went through a few months of playing his CD. Make It Work For You was catchy and has a pretty ridic beat. Grew Up A Screw-up was probably the first song where I genuinely respected Jeezy. It’s not even a special verse– it’s just vaguely autobiographical. There was something about it, though.

Young Jeezy’s The Recession somehow, someway became one of my favorite albums of the year. I couldn’t even figure out why I liked it until a couple weeks after it came out. I just knew that I kept playing it on my iPod and feeling guilty, and then turning up the volume to drown out the guilt.

The overall theme of the record is that there’s a Recession on and it’s time to make money because time’s almost gone. He kind of sticks to the point, but like any good trap star, he’s kicking that drug dealing thing more often than not. So, what’s left is an album that occasionally shows flashes of what would be called conscious rap if anyone but Jeezy was rapping, and throws post-T.I. drug rap at you at the other times. Tracks like Vacation eschew the album’s concept entirely, Put On is hood motivation (and probably has one of the last good Kanye verses ever), and Crazy World is all about a recession.

The Recession, as an album, isn’t quite as smart as it should be. Jeezy has a niche, and that niche requires banging, bass-heavy beats and cocaine talk. He comes off better than he ever has before, though, which makes the entire album surprisingly listenable. His rasp-heavy flow is pretty charming, and his ever-present ad-libs (Yeeeeeeeeeeah!) add even more charisma into the mix. His punchlines are off-kilter, and he’s willing to commit cardinal sins like rhyming Columbia three lines in a row just because it’d sound hot on a song. It makes it a fun album to listen to, despite the subject matter, just because it’s so weird. Why should we call him Jeezy Hamilton? Man, why not?

Listening to Jeezy gives me a weird mix of hometown pride (he used to live in the next town over from my hometown, Macon/Warner Robins representing), a weakness for ignant rap, and genuine enthusiam. The only way to explain it is that it’s a fun record. Jeezy himself sums it up with his first few bars on Crazy World:

What they want?
They want that young shit
That dumb shit, that “where you from?” shit
That ride around your hood all day with your gun shit

I said earlier that I couldn’t figure out why I liked The Recession. It took me listening to My President Is Black, Jeezy’s collabo with Nas, to figure it out. Nas is one of my favorite emcees, so I obviously have a a vested interest in the song. The thing about that song is that Nas, who dropped one of the top five greatest rap albums of all time, was completely bodied by Jeezy. While Nas was talking about how some stripper isn’t a politician, she’s a pole-itician, Jeezy Hamilton spit two verses about real life and a love for passed rap artists that completely outclassed Lil Homey. In my hater days, I’d have said that it’s the equivalent of Justin Timberlake outsinging Al Green on the same song. Nowadays, I just appreciate.

Official videos:
Put On feat. Kanye West
Crazy World
Who Dat (“why he keep saying yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah? I’on’t even know”)

Hot guest appearance:
I Got My Locs On, by Ice Cube

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One comment to “Top 8 of 08 #05: Young Jeezy – The Recession”

  1. turn up the volume to drown out the guilt hey. lol. Yeah, Im a young jeezy fan too. new albums tight