It’s been awhile since Young Jeezy has been relevant. The last time Snowman caught significant spotlight was when the radio was giving the earnest love anthem “I Do” regular spins. To be real, the track’s success had less to do with Jeezy and more with the appearance of Andre 3000 (okay, Jay-Z too) and the catchy production of M16, even if it openly mimics “International Players Anthem”. Not to mention that the song was originally an Andre 3000 cut anyways. Which makes sense considering how off the script it is compared to most of Jeezy’s work.
Jeezy’s new mixtape, It’s Tha World, dropped last December and it doesn’t deviate from this aforementioned and well-worn script. Nor does it change Jeezy’s status quo. Rather, it’s everything you’ve come to expect, want and have grown tired of from Jeezy. His deep, voice still sounds like its being dragged across gravel as he offers up plate fulls of trap-rap rhymes and ad-libs over beats that drop like a bench press in a football weight room. It’s an effective mix that the Snowman has made a career out of and on It’s Tha World it still, at times, satisfies in its pre-game/get-pumped anthemic rubic.
The Jahil Beats-produced “Knob Broke” has Jeezy reminding us of his importance over crowd cheers and his signature “yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaah” echoing in the background. While the big and evil “Get Right” is Young Jeezy in the pocket, channeling the best moments The Inspiration while dropping unabashedly, ridiculous lines (she ride the dick like a ten-speed!) as the hammering beat pounds. “Escobar” is another tale of drugs and money with more of those funny, but characteristically Jeezy-type lyrics (“All I fuck with is mucho weight, I’m talking sumo”).
Guest spots are sparse on It’s Tha World but when Jeezy does pass the mic, good things happen. The Birdman-featuring “Too Many Commas” is horror music for the trap game. The feverish, synth strings courtesy of Kenoe are near nausea inducing but Jeezy keeps things grounded with paranoid tales of moving bricks stashed at his momma’s house. The airy-synths on DJ Mustard’s “All the Same” offer up a nice breather from the mixtape’s dense production while featuring E-40 and a momentarily rejuvenated Snowman who pair well together with their recognizable styles. The 2 Chainz-assisted “RIP” offers up a similar variation with the off-kilter, almost old-school minimal production driven by a muffled, Rick James-like bass line.
Like most mixtapes, there’s a lot to skip. “Tonight” featuring Trey Songz is a radio single in a can that drowns in its own cliches. While “Millions” has Jeezy singing repeatedly “a million dollars cash” like a mantra he’s hoping will bring back him back to significance.
What becomes clear over the 17 songs of It’s Tha World is that Jeezy still has a knack for being able to churn out pounding trap-rap anthems almost as well as he moves those bricks he raps about. Not that it was ever in doubt. Yet Jeezy’s latest mixtape also continues to remind us that his product has largely remained the same since 2005’s Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101. Different producers, different guest spots but little changes. The once addictive, satisfying swagger and sound of Jeezy has grown a bit weary on the shelf and replaced with even bigger, more complex story-tellers (see: Rick Ross) and newer soundscapes (see: cloud-rap). Jeezy still entertains and gratifies but it’s more due to the familiarity of his nearly unwavering recipe than anything new or bold – something he is most certainty not attempting at this point.