"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon


Friday, August 29, 2008

Young Jeezy - The Recession: Review


Looks like somebody took some adult education classes...

Ultimately, here’s my biggest problem with Young Jeezy - anytime the words “white”, “birds”, “pies”, “weight” or any other half thought euphemism for benzoylmethyl ecgonine are uttered by his booming, croaking voice, my eyes uncontrollably roll so far into the back of my skull that I need pliers to pry them back and get them functioning properly again. Needless to say, the aforementioned euphemisms for cocaine are 95% of Jeezy’s vocabulary so it makes listening to his music a chore that I generally attempt to avoid at all costs. I surely understand why a certain subset of hip hop fans find him so hypnotic but for me, his music is so unbelievably asinine that I have hard time sitting through an actual album of it. I don’t really believe that Jeezy ever sold an ounce of crack in his life precisely because he’s so transfixed by it. He approaches his coke fetish with the same approach that a teenage fan boy has towards their favorite gangster rapper. He idolizes and worships drug dealing but it’s all cheap, superficial and just the tad bit homo-erotic. He lacks the meticulous devotion to minutiae of Raekwon and Ghostface, the stark dystopian gravitas of the Clipse or even the (“alleged”) surrealist absurdities of one Mr. Cameron Giles. He doesn’t even offer the obsessive sad sack stalker charm that the Game does. Lyrically, Jeezy is a hack, plain and simple. However, despite all of that “The Recession” is a really enjoyable album.

“The Recession”, Young Jeezy’s newest opus, promises Jeezy’s maturity as an artist. It was supposed to be where Young Jeezy inevitably stops childishly fetishizing cocaine and at least make a marginal stab at making a record of “substance.” It actually for the most part, suprisingly does. While Jeezy has only marginally improved as a rapper, he’s able to create a album that is his most mature and interesting album to date. It’s kind of a quiet revelation.

The big secret that Jeezy fans seem unwilling to acknowledge is that Jeezy’s first two records aside from the catchy, memorable singles are actually profoundly boring. The production and the song-writing are nearly identical and interchangeable which makes Jeezy’s coke motivational aphorisms incredibly hard to stomach over the course of an entire album. “The Inspiration” which highlights surpass the vastly overrated “Thug Motivation 101” groans on and on and on running about 10 tracks too long since each song seems nearly identical to the previous. For all of Jeezy’s supposed swagger and charm making up for his abundantly lacking lyrical abilities, his albums are as boring as a Common-Kweli love yarn.

“The Recession” for the most part does not eschew the “winning” formula of the first two albums. The production does it’s best to create a dark, horror film atmosphere, the adlibs are still menacingly floating in the air victoriously punctuating Jeezy’s penchant for coke puns and the album is still about five songs too long. “The Recession”, however, manages to diversify it’s song-writing which helps alleviate the monotony that plagued the first two albums. Jeezy noting the economic problems that plague this country right now has decided to get somewhat political on the album and the results are not nearly as terrible as one might think. “The Recession (Intro)” and “Crazy World” are two of Jeezy’s most mature song to date as he is able to articulate the frustrations that many Americans feel towards the injustices of both the economic and criminal justice systems. “My President Is Black”, Jeezy’s ballyhooed pro-Obama collaboration with Nas isn’t nearly as atrocious as one might imagine and actually manages to be more astute than anything on Nas’ critically molested “Untitled”. It’s nice change of pace to see Jeezy attempt to be more politically astute especially for a man who prior to this record I severely doubted could tell me what a recession actually is.

However, the record’s main thesis (Yeah, I was shocked too. This record has a thesis!) is typically flawed and actually shockingly Republican. Jeezy notes that the people are struggling from the economy’s recession as illustrated by the first half of the record but his solution is for him to make a shit load of money by selling boat loads of soul destroying drugs so he can distribute the money back to the hood as articulated on the song’s show-stopping centerpiece, “Circulate”. Jeezy is actually shockingly advocating the utterly idiotic (and historically disproved and failed and failed and FAILED...) Republican policy of “trickle-down” economics which according to it’s moronic and ignorant principles asserts that unchecked profits and corporate greed of the rich and powerful will magically “trickle down” to the poor and undeserving masses (who should be grateful they are eating the rich’s discarded and unwanted scraps). “Circulate” is a great song but if Jeezy’s solution to the economic problem is the generosity of the rich than we are going to find ourselves in a bigger whole than what we started.

Other than the idiotic politics, the album’s main flaw musically is that the highlights of the record fail to surpass the highlights of the previous records. “The Recession” lacks a record as infectious as a “Go Crazy” or as hypnotic as “3 A.M.” which saved the previous two records from being completely travesties of modern music. “The Recession” overall has much better records but it lacks that show-stopping panache that convinced people that “Thug Motivation 101” and “The Inspiration” were anything other than crimes against humanity. “The Recession” is a good record and it perhaps maybe the best mainstream record released this summer but it lacks that little extra cowbell from keeping it classic.

Now, excuse me. I have to go throw-up. I just praised a Young Jeezy record.

41 comments:

Marcus said...

"Who taught Young Jeezy what a recession is?"

lmfao. Personally, album of the year so far. Classic status.

Now I'll leave cause I'm sure the small amount of respect you had for me.

Passion of the Weiss said...

Are you eating soylent green or something?

DocZeus said...

"Are you eating soylent green or something?'

Dude, I know. I went back and forth on this album for about a week straight. Ten hours ago, I had a negative article 60% written and then I re-listened to it again and I'm like it "Fuck it! This album's good. I need to quit hating."

Jordan said...

Trickle down economics doesn't work because most rich people aren't slaves to conspicuous consumption like Jeezy is. The money doesn't circulate, it gains interest in swiss bank accounts. Jeezy's actually being an excellent role model to the super rich: if more of them spent money like it was going out of style, our economy could improve!

On a serious note, I've only heard pieces of this album but have a tough time believing it's better than Carter III.

DocZeus said...

"Trickle down economics doesn't work because most rich people aren't slaves to conspicuous consumption like Jeezy is. The money doesn't circulate, it gains interest in swiss bank accounts. Jeezy's actually being an excellent role model to the super rich: if more of them spent money like it was going out of style, our economy could improve!"

The flaw in that line of thinking though is that Jeezy spending 500,000 on a Bentley or a luxury car is that it's going right back into the pockets of the super rich. For trickle down economics to theoretically work is that the profits gained be turned into new jobs, higher wages, and more benefits for their workers but as corporations prove profits just go into the pockets of executives and they generally shun giving any of the spoils to the people who make their businesses run.

Jordan said...

Sorry, I thought you would be able to tell I was 3/4 joking there. The idea is in a non-existent fantasy world where every rich person spends all their money, trickle down economics could potentially work. It's a dumb hypothetical anyway, since the rich will always spend a lower percentage of their income than the poor.

JK said...

I actually really liked the tracks as they were leaked and then as a whole came away a little disappointed. He does mention politics hear and there but so much coke talk makes my ears bleed.

tray said...

Maybe I didn't listen to Circulate closely enough, but I'm not sure where he said that his buying a Bentley would improve the welfare of the poor. I thought he was saying he was actually going to reinvest his profits in the hood by way of charity. Nor do I take him to be advocating trickle-down economics in general - he's just saying that all he, Young Jeezy, can personally do is make money so he can reinvest it in poor neighborhoods. Not that charity is the solution for our economic problems.

Daniel said...

I've hated every Jeezy album the first time I heard it, but both have won me over eventually. I frankly think it's just the beats. As blasphemous as this is going to sound, Jeezy's beats sound like what Three Six Mafia's are supposed to sound like but don't (at least until recently).

tray said...

I do want to say, though, that the Bentley isn't exactly the fairest example for trickle-down economics. Think about all the time Jeezy claims to spend in the mall. Someone has to service him and find him his shoes and clothes. The more Jeezys shopping in the mall, the more mall jobs there are, the less tight the competition for those jobs is, high-school and college kids take the jobs, and then things aren't like the way they are today, where people with perfectly respectable resumes are taking jobs at Macy's and kids struggle to find summer employment. Bentleys, on the other hand, are mostly creating jobs in foreign factories. Not that there's anything actually wrong with, in the felicitous words of Obama, "shipping jobs overseas."

Christopher said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUB0XHVSxpA

OH MY GOD.

DocZeus said...

" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUB0XHVSxpA

OH MY GOD."

Yeah, that's fucking hot.

Trey Stone said...

clearly Doc just got really drunk and aggressive one night recently and had an epiphany with Jeezy's music

really though, don't tell me this'll end up being the one Jeezy album i don't like or something.

as for the trickle-down, i actually wrote a paper last semester on Reaganomics being unsound and not working the way they said it would, but you're kinda caricaturing it here. not to sound condescending cuz i'm sure you probably know and maybe just put it in a certain way, but i think the idea that really excessive taxes on upper income detracts from investment has some truth. i mean before Reagan the highest tax rate was 70%. but yeah, i don't think lower taxes is the solve everything cure today's Republicans seem to think it is, or that supply-side economics has ever proven to be an effective replacement for other historical economic strategies.

my bad, back in school and i'm already rambling 'bout this shit

Rudebwoy381 said...

I'm not sure if I've ever heard an album with so many songs that use THE EXACT SAME BEAT. Look, I understand that Southern rap is what it is, but gawdDAMN, enough with the skittery hi-hats already.

And yeah, 'Circulate' is a hot beat, but Dilla already flipped it twice as good on Steve Spacek's "Dollar" joint. And another half-decent moment, "Hustlaz Ambition," is just a half-assed hijack of Pac's "Ambitionz Az a Ridah."

At least the Clipse are creative with their crack raps and don't sound like a 15-year-old who just smoked a whole humidor of cheap stogies.

Jeezy should retitle his shit "The Great Depression" instead of "Recession."

DocZeus said...

Rudebwoy-

You're opinion of "The Recession" could be word for word, my opinion of "The Inspiration" and "Thug Motivation 101." As much as people trumpet those records for those "monolithic" bangers, those records are boring as shit.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

"Jeezy should retitle his shit "The Great Depression" instead of 'Recession.'"

maybe DMX could do another intro/outro on the rerelease. those couldn't be boring.

Trey Stone said...

regardless of how much more "clever" the Clipse are, i have a problem with 'em seeming a little too obsessed with being the coldest rappers around. literal sense. it makes 'em seem inhuman, which i realize is probably the point, but still. Pharrell's who made Hell Hath, not them.

tray said...

Yeah, 70% taxes = not a good thing, but no one's proposing that nowadays so it's a moot point. Well, not a moot point abroad at all, but a moot point here. Now the debate's over low thirties or high thirties, and I think it's pretty clear you're better off giving lower brackets tax breaks and paying for it with a small hike on the upper ones, as the lower-bracket folks spend way more of what you give them. Anyway, Jeezy's not a supply-sider.

Marcus said...

"regardless of how much more "clever" the Clipse are, i have a problem with 'em seeming a little too obsessed with being the coldest rappers around. literal sense. it makes 'em seem inhuman, which i realize is probably the point, but still. Pharrell's who made Hell Hath, not them."

I think HHNF is one of the albums that is 50/50 split between lyrics and beats. It really wouldn't be as great with a rapper with alot of energy like Wayne or TI or Santana and Clipse wouldn't sound as great over production like Kanye's or Dre's

DocZeus said...

"Anyway, Jeezy's not a supply-sider."

Well, of course. I'm not literally arguing that Jeezy believes in supply side economics. I doubt he knows what that is but I'm just saying his notion that through his profits of drugs, he'll be able to save the hood by giving back is somewhat similar.

Rudebwoy381 said...

Doc:

Full disclosure: this is the first Young Jeezy record I've actually listened to, aside from miscellaneous singles and a remix I did of 'Soul Survivor.'

But when I think monolithic/gothic, I think Rick Ross' 'Hustlin'' - a wide-open, relatively sparse beat that leaves a lot of room for big echoes and atmospherics.

tray said...

Did he say he was going to save the hood or that he was just going to reinvest and hopefully do some good? If the latter, that's commendable. I don't really think there's anything to criticize there.

Passion of the Weiss said...

The more I think about it, the more I think this might be the worst major-label rap album to see release this decade.

Granted, dudes like Ace Hood and Blood Raw are miraculously worse rappers than Jeezy. However, the critical plaudits that Jeezy bafflingly receives help strengthen my anathema for Young Jeezy's "catalogue" (which admittedly, wasn't very hard to do in the first place.)

DocZeus said...

"The more I think about it, the more I think this might be the worst major-label rap album to see release this decade."

C'mon, there is no way this worse than Curtis, Terminate On Sight, or any random Ja Rule record.

It's better than his first two records, though.

tray said...

Plies is on a major label. He's made two albums. I think that settles it.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

as terrible as plies is, "went to sleep real/ woke up realer" is a fantastic line to me.

tray said...

Well sure, but there are great lines on Curtis, good songs on Ja albums... I guess we could look at recent Fat Joe.

jack said...

nice write up doc. I usually disagree with you. you're too negative about today's rap. but its nice to see you can tolerate this album.


I think it's a great album, probably album of the year unless T.I. brings it.

But how about rap this year? It's gotten a sudden boost outta nowhere in my eyes. It's been a good year for rap so far, hopefully it gets better.

Christopher said...

http://grandgood.com/2008/09/02/black-moon-performing-enta-da-stage-and-smif-n-wessun-performing-dah-shinin-live-in-nyc-flyer/

Easy decision.

Dart Adams said...

Unfortunately, major label Rap albums are already hamstrung in regards to how "good" they can be. This album was tolerable by my standards as was "The Carter III". The thing is that I haven't played that album since I first reviewed it. I reviewed Nicolay & Kay's "Time: Line" about 6 months ago and I STILL play it now. I got Invincible's "Shapeshifters" back in late April and I'm still playing it now.

I won't be playing "The Recession" anymore this year...I guarantee it.

One.

Anonymous said...

while we're on the subject of superficially discussing trickel down economics - im always suprised by how many rappers think of themselves as liberals - when in actuality, the essential ethos of the grind for most rappers i.e mind on your money,go get your paper etc etc is very self-motivated and independent minded. None of them seem to believe in handouts, and when you couple tht with the fact that several of them brag about making a living off coke,a substance that destroys their very own communities - this whole idea of singularly self motivated hustle is magnified. Nothing wrong w/ this imo, but it just seems like they share a lot more w/ what i usually think of a republican rhetoric, some sort of cold ayn rand-ian cold capitalism if you will. at least more so than the idea of compassionate liberalism . jay (d)eff kay

Anonymous said...

I've heard the album twice so far and I really cant tell why so many people have changed their minds abt Jeezy. I mean, I didnt mind Jeezy's last two records, and his lyrical content has improved a tad bit, but Im kinda clueless as to why this album in particular is getting accolades from the blogosphere. also, am I the only one whose jaw slightly dropped when a few bars right before the 'poletician' line (hilarious for all the wrong reasons), nas adopted a sped up, biggie-on-notorious-thugs-type flow.-jay (d)eff kay.

Trey Stone said...

how are major-label rap albums limited in how good they can be dart? i mean a lot of them these days rely on a wack formula, but Wayne's is the one i've heard this year that didn't give a shit about that save "Got Money" (which is fun anyway,) and it's part of why it's great. i'm listening to The Recession right now and there's no way the quality of these beats (which so far sound like bad knockoffs of past Jeezy shit) or rapping can be compared to Wayne's album, a bunch of which isn't overtly "major-label" sounding at all.

tray said...

Yeah, Nas always does something stupid with his flow on Southern tracks. See his verse on "Where Do We Go From Here" - it's like he's channeling Silkk Da Shocker.

Anonymous said...

How is it shocking that Jeezy is advocating a republican policy like trickle down econmoics? Most crack rap and gangsta rap have a lot of conservative republican ideals. Why else would Eazy E(r.i.p) have supported Regan or Curtis Jackson supported Bush

Guy Fawkes said...

This album was terrible... I don't see how you could have enjoyed "Go Crazy" and not liked the rest of Thug Motivation 101, as Thug Motivation 101 is "Go Crazy" with a slightly different beat and lyrics 20 times.

I'm really surprised you've made it so far preaching bullshit, but the blog looks good... anyone who can praise "The Documentary" and respect Charles Hamilton is kind of a shady rap critic to me...

DocZeus said...

"
I'm really surprised you've made it so far preaching bullshit, but the blog looks good... anyone who can praise "The Documentary" and respect Charles Hamilton is kind of a shady rap critic to me..."

When did my entire taste get reduced to the Documentary and Charles Hamilton? I also enjoy Skee-Lo and the later, bat-shit insane works of R. Kelly. I'm beginning to appreciate what Breihan has go to through with his commenters.

Guy Fawkes said...

Really, your whole musical taste is really flawed...
Anyone can throw around big words and outrageous statements (which is a generalization I can safely make about your blog).

DocZeus said...

"Really, your whole musical taste is really flawed... "

Flawless... My musical taste is flawless. It's something that I established in my first post. I have the correct opinion. Sorry, it is what is.

Anonymous said...

Eyyy fuck tha haters Zeus...
What you think about Max from hiphopisntdead?

quinton ridley said...

i love jeezy. i've found all of his albums entertaining. not smart, not polished, not even 100% believable. but he's a magnetic vocalist, the half-assed stoner lyrics are hilarious and sometimes motivational. i can relate to his aggression and desperate need to succeed. plus the beats usually swallow other mainstream rapper's albums whole. enjoy "the recession" for its low standards of modern baroque, campy dark elementary coke rap. thats why it succeeds and is so fun. the clipse are clever but really contrived and seem to embelish everything. "the carter 3" was just a below-average weezy mixtape with too many guest appearances. i jam "lights out" more than that mess. this album was very good and a step towards even better jeezy albums. THATTT'S RIGHHHT!