Album Review: Young Jeezy - Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition
Anyone familiar with any of Atlanta trap-rap icon Young Jeezy's prior Def Jam albums, starting with 2005's "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101," knows how this goes: The lyrics are over zealous statements about how "the Snowman" once shifted copious quantities of white powder on the streets, and now enjoys a luxurious lifestyle as a result. "Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition" is Jeezy's latest installment of his story.
"Trapped" is the high point of this willingness to not just regurgitate the street-corner tales he's already told; it's a melodramatic redemption song that finds the rapper musing, "How I got here in the first place? / Oh, that's right, see, the trap was my birthplace." Throw in the lament "I've been cursed since the day my momma birthed me" and there's a sympathetic fatalism developing here — it's Jeezy against the world. This thread isn't TM103's defining motif — the album's momentum is driven more by big-name guests (Lil Wayne on "Ballin'," Snoop on the weed-based "Higher Learning," and Jay-Z and Andre 3000 teaming up for "I Do"), and perked up with brags like the time Jeezy "bought a Phantom just to take a nap" and the realization that he has "so many shoes I can't wear 'em."
For now, Jeezy's still rooted to the street, content to boast about being a "superstar in my hood" and throw snide shots at his haters. But for his next manifesto, there's now reason to believe that he might move on from motivating to leading. I suppose we'll have to wait another year for that breakthrough though.
3 out of 5 hearts
Stand Out Track:
"I Do" (ft. Jay-Z and Andre 3000)