The Case for Young Jeezy
By Emmanuel Agyemang
July 26, 2005-
“LAST TIME I CHECKED, I WAS THE MAN ON THESE STREETS.”
And thus, the legend of Jeezy the Snowman was born. A pivotal moment in trap history.
Nine years after the release of Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, the hip-hop landscape is different. “Trap rap” is characterized by auto tune and rapping in triplet notes.
Cookie cutter beats populate the radio waves. Most older artists have adapted to the times to retain commercial success. Then along comes Young Jeezy’s seventh studio album: Seen It All: The Autobiography, and it is evident that he has no intentions of switching anything up.
Jeezy comes in on the intro track, “1-4 Block”, with a ferocity and hunger unheard since 2005, spitting his trademark coke bars over a somber guitar riff as a flashing reminder that he’s still got it.
It’s apparent from the jump that Jeezy is lyrically in the best shape of his life as he paints vivid portraits of the underbelly of American society while the 808s reverberate through the deepest crevices of your soul and the hi-hat rattles your skeleton (Seriously, the beat is that good.)
The album continues with tracks that strike the perfect balance between sticking to the tried-and-true Jeezy formula and keeping up with the times.
The beat to “Black Eskimo” sounds like it was taken right off a Migos tape, and “Been Getting Money” sounds like an ode to DJ Mustard.
The Snowman cycles through his usual subject matter; materialistic raps, coke cooking tutorials, and admonishments of his peers for a lack of authenticity: “The nerve of you n—-s, signing with these rappers that ain’t never sold s—.”
He reminds the rap game of his influence on the younger generation: You gone learn ‘bout this n—-s, Loaned sperm out these n—-s/ What they is n—? my clone.”
He implores the listener to strive for greatness on “Enough”, and reflects on the friendships he’s lost on “Holy Ghost”, two emotion-laden tracks. The title track “Seen It All” brings Jeezy and JAY Z together as the two reminisce about the drug game over a beautiful oriental sample, and in doing so delivers the best Hov verse in a *LONG* time.
However, the album is not without its weak links. “4 Zones” features an autotuned crooning Jeezy hook that just doesn’t fit his style. The ferocity and hard-hitting production in the opening half of the album tails off towards the end.
As a whole, however, the project is a solid reminder of what makes Jeezy’s music great: he found a formula that worked for him and perfected it rather than deviating from or commercializing it. This album is typical Jeezy-and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
In an era where “innovation” and “growth” is at times seemingly held in higher importance than putting out a good record, Young Jeezy’s unchanging style is ironically refreshing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Seen it All: The Autobiography is in stores now.