For 43-year-old rapper Jeezy, it has been one of the best weeks of his entire career. Last Thursday, he participated in a Verzuz battle against arch-rival and fellow trap pioneer, Gucci Mane, where the two squashed their long-running beef in one of the most-watched musical events of the year. Following this, he released his tenth studio album, The Recession 2. Being the long-awaited sequel to his classic LP The Recession, can Jeezy revive this once prominent era of his legacy?
With 12 years between installments, it’s evident there’s both stylistic and topical growth in Jeezy’s pen game. This is made clear from “Oh Lord” and “Modern Day” as The Snowman gruesomely depicts current racial injustices and the teachings they stemmed from. These ideas are furthered on the brutally honest “N****z” and the covid-19 inspired “Stimulus Check”, which both show the 43-year-old rapping from the perspective of those stuck in the ghetto struggling every day to survive. With some of his most engaging storytelling and showmanship ever, Jeezy makes this entire experience a thought-provoking one. “Praying Right” and “The Kingdom” continue to add character as we hear more of the Atlanta trapper’s insightfulness. When it comes to lyrical food for thought, no track is more prevalent than “Almighty Black Dollar”, which teams Jeezy with Rick Ross for an intense ballad about the pain that coincides with greed. Going in a more personal direction, The Snowman is not afraid to indulge and explore the makeup that defines him. “Live and Die” serves as one of this sections standouts as the trauma filled anthem is a bittersweet telling of the city Jeezy grew up in and everything that makes it special to him. Bolder than this is “Therapy For My Soul”, which faces Jeezy against himself in a heart wrenching self-analysis. While there’s loads of content embedded here, the most significant moments come from jabs taken at Freddie Gibbs and 50 Cent. For those who prefer the ruthless Jeezy of the past, there is “Here We Go” and the Yo Gotti collaboration “Back”, which are hard-hitting bangers at their core. On the topic of working with other artists, all are solid at the bare minimum as “Da Ghetto” with E-40 and “The Glory” with Ne-Yo reunite some beloved one-two punches. Out of all these collaborations, “My Reputation” was surprisingly the best as Jeezy, Lil Duval, and Demi Lovato come together seamlessly for a surprisingly well rounded track. With some of the most narrative driven storytelling of his career, Jeezy delivers his most mature performance yet.
Sonically, there’s an intuitive soundtrack that strengthens the ideas Jeezy’s fighting to push. Built with layers and intracity, each song is filled with compelling samples and ever-changing drum patterns. Whether it’s the tribal-like “Oh Lord” or augmented “N****z”, each moment does something to enhance the last. The array of styles utilized within the 48 minute LP is another one of its standout qualities. From the smooth glamor of the 2000s r&b thriller “The Glory” to the harmonic “Stimulus Check”, the production team offers something for all to enjoy. Mostly handled by the production collective, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Leauge, the trio creates some of their most dramatic instrumentals ever. “Live And Die”, “Praying Right”, “Almighty Black Dollar”, and “The Kingdom” all capture the listener’s attention with their emotional undertones and moving samples. At the peak of this is “Therapy for My Soul”, which thrives due to its chopped up harmonic soul sample. When it comes to highlights, the Don Cannon produced “Back” is one of the finest sounding trap records all year as its bouncing drums are complemented by an angelic choir and some oddly satisfying keyboard combinations. In all its sonic glory, “Here We Go” remains the most memorable as its booming drums are complemented by an epic one of a kind horn arrangement. While some of Jeezy’s past soundtracks have played it too safe, his newest project draws up a completely new element for him to work within.
Overall, The Recession 2 is a perfect sequel in the sense that it evolves and expands upon its predecessor’s themes and ideas. With little filler, Jeezy gives one of his most empowering and inspirational performances to date, ultimately showing his artistic journey coming full circle. In the future, I’m not sure what Jeezy has instore, but with everything he’s done, The Snowman is easily a lock for the hall of fame!
- Jeezy’s most mature work to date
- Production is versatile/dynamic
- Balanced blend of bangers/deep cuts
- Solid features
- What Jeezy’s saying has been done to a greater degree before
Written by: Marc Dator
Scored and edited by: Marc Dator founder and owner of Fantastic Hip Hop