The ultimate test in measuring one’s worth is not conducted in the battle to the top but the downhill slide when there’s nothing left to prove, yet more recognition to gain. Back before the Internet held any sort of weight in the rap caucus of what’s hot or not, Young Jeezy was a star with his early effort Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101. Since then, the Snowman’s stomping grounds have been nothing but the sky and a much deserved hiatus came shortly after he helped usher in President Obama’s election in 2008 on the heels of his third album, The Recession.
As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind” and Jeezy saw plenty of various competition take advantage of his time away and several of his comeback mixtapes wane in the public eye shortly after their release date. Unfazed but determined, Jeezy shows why the ghetto nominated him to occupy the podium in the first place with his fourth album, Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition.
As previously mentioned, Jeezy hasn’t broke a sweat amidst talk that he’s lost his spot in the streets and TM103’s hardened consistency – featuring producers Midnight Black and newcomer Lil Lody – proves just that. Sorry to disappoint those holding their breath for a squeaky clean, commercial blockbuster that was destined to impress the suit-and-tie-types at the Grammys. This is an album for the trap, its inhabitants and survivors. The mesmerizing “Nothin’,” “OJ” – boosted by crafty wordplay from Fabolous and Jadakiss – and the public awareness of “Waiting” all hit hard within the first 15 minutes, setting the tone for a impressively dark album that doesn’t veer off course to attract the radio. The ladies get their fix for the lust with “All We Do” (“I got a bitch named Banana/pussy bananas/That’s why I gotta say it again/pussy bananas”) as do the fellas on the rowdy “SuperFreak” featuring the red hot, 2 Chainz.
While a solid offering in its entirety, it shouldn’t go unnoticed that TM103 doesn’t boast one of those instant classics the world has come to expect from the real voice of the people (with most of them have been relegated to deluxe edition tracklistings and past mixtapes). That’s not a detractor to the meat of the album like “F.A.M.E.,” a duet with T.I. as the two ATLiens break bread over similar experiences of cabin pressure at the top and “Trapped,” which consists of a bit of remorse, a lot of real and Jill Scott. It’s just that we know the sermon, even if it does still get the blood pumping like the days when it was really “trap or die.”
Now that the questions are answered as to whether or not Jeezy still has the ability to motivate anyone who’s bout that thug life, it’ll be interesting to see what cloud his next progressive steps land him on. Until then, Hustlerz Ambition will keep the block laced with activity.
Label: Def Jam/Corporate Thugz Entertainment | Producers: Drumma Boy, Warren G., Lil Lody, Lil C, Midnight Black, Marz, D. Rich, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Mike DuPree, M16, Mike Will