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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 23, 2019 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 15, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 23, 2019 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2008 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 26, 2005 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 2, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 28, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

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Jeezy's approach on his seventh Def Jam album is signaled clearly by its cover and title. As ever, there's nothing seasonal about this snowman -- like the rapper proclaimed on previous album Church in These Streets, hustling is year-round, nonstop business -- and the first two volumes of Trap or Die were mixtapes served to the streets. Volume three, released six years after the first sequel, seems to carry the weight of a proper studio recording, not a mixtape, though Jeezy said "It ain't an album, it's a way of life." This way of life is loud at almost any volume, seemingly designed to sound imposing in every setting. Little sermonizing is involved, his pulpit evidently converted to a pallet for transporting product as he threatens and gloats. Three cuts produced by old associate Shawty Redd loom particularly large. Over bulky drums and baleful strings, Jeezy's gruff-as-ever voice is often layered, making it easy to picture his competitors looking up at him from the ground, stupefied, receiving a beat down with triple vision. The other tracks -- seven from D Rich, one or two each from a short roster that includes Mike WiLL Made It -- tend to be equally or only slightly less brutal in tone. Jeezy doesn't say much that deviates from previous ice-veined rhymes, but he attacks just about every track with intense focus and ferocity. Stern support from the slain Bankroll Fresh excepted, the guest appearances are extraneous. ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2006 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 13, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings

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Dropping the Young from his name and turning on the full Jeezy, Church in These Streets finds the veteran Atlanta MC tackling the concept album while playing the role of an inner-city preacher. The title cut is also the LP's key cut as it bangs along with twerking Zaytoven production, and offers the album's main message for anyone caught in the drug game: "If you see another day, then just say 'Hallelujah!'" The track "Lost Souls" is a heavy triumph, sampling a bit of the movie Street Life before the lyrics declare that any time spent in jail is time spent breeding another monster, while later, the woozy and hooky banger "Scared of the Dark" skewers flashy gangsters for their unwillingness to do life's dirty work. By the time "Sister Good Game's Testimony" snarls all the weak and meek out of the trap house, it seems Jeezy's "Pastor Young" character comes with the toughest brand of love, but "I Feel Ya" ("You put your fam on your back, boy I feel ya/You put your hood on the map, boy I feel ya") is a sympathetic cut that broadens the album's spectrum. "Sweet Life" with Janelle Monae is the kind of high-flying, blue sky rap that Curren$y usually offers, and if that wasn't enough, it comes with a Psalm recited by Monica, who is playing the role of Sister Brown. Monica and Monae are the ambitious album's only guests, and when the highlight "God" hits the speakers, with its underground dubstep wobble and its rickety beats, Jeezy does a successful reach outside his comfort zone and winds up with a spell-binding cut. That said, when taking in a full album, his monotone, bellowing delivery is an acquired taste, and with only a few guest shots, plus a long track list, newcomers might find this big LP a tough go. Regardless, the ambitious Church in These Streets stands with the man's great Thug Motivation 101 while beating that album on artistic merit and meaningful lyrics. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 18, 2014 | First Place Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2011 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 15, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2011 | Def Jam Recordings

After releasing The Recession in 2008, Young Jeezy suffered his own three-year layoff due to legal problems and a fight with the crippling disease Bell's palsy. Add a paradigm shift in hip-hop radio, where the introspection of Drake and Kid Cudi found favor over Jeezy and T.I.'s extroverted pusher music, then top if off with a slew of missed released dates and the whole thing stinks of a setup, which is why any fond appreciation of TM:103 must come from the "warts and all" department. This unforgiving return to form doesn’t suffer from being over-thought and it’s not even overwrought, but it is overstuffed at 14 tracks (make that 18 for the deluxe version) and the most welcoming moments are pushed to the back (the "F.A.M.E."/"I Do"/"Higher Learning" sequence is like a trap music glitter dome with Jay-Z, André 3000, T.I., and Snoop Dogg all on the guest list). These minor complaints will matter little to returning fans as their needs are put first with the front half of album rolling like a steamroller fueled by grind-time anthems. Even the hack "game needs me"-styled opener is welcome as the rapper forces "Waiting" out of his hoarse throat like it was gravel, and after "What I Do" does something infectious and incredible with an economic hook and a Drumma Boy beat, the bold "OJ" comes along filled with iffy metaphors and a trailer load of controversy. The scattershot and irresponsible number is a red herring and kept a safe distance from the album’s true key track, "Trapped," where Jeezy and Jill Scott offer a crafted and complicated social statement, one that’s soulful and the worthy successor to "My President." What’s made Jeezy's evolution as an artist interesting is that this rebel without a cause sometimes finds one, and even when he's more Hulk than Bruce Banner, his changes are driven by emotion rather than something calculated. Here he's driven by the hunger to put things back where they were and live up to TM:103's official subtitle, Hustlerz Ambition, along with its unofficial one, Trap or Die Tryin'. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 3, 2019 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 13, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 5, 2007 | Corporate Thugs (BCD Music Group)

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 2, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Stuck in prison on gun charges as this seventh studio album saw release, Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy -- or now, just Jeezy -- mentions he doesn't "eat, sleep, or shit" without his m-f'n pistol. This evidence for the prosecution shows up here on the hooky thug cut called "Me OK," a Drumma Boy and Jeezy wonder where criminal-minded lyrics are packed tight into a singalong list of dirty deeds done dirt cheap ("Mister, if I'm talkin' you should listen, game is free, ok?/Got two whole ones and two half ones, mister that's three, ok?"). "Seen It All" is the reflective flipside of "Me OK," where Cardo's exotic production and Jeezy's tale of no regrets and night sweats ("Not only got my fingers crossed, but I pray") add up to something equally vital. Rarely has this big baller come off as poignant, but his hard truths drive guest Jay-Z to offer the amazingly ironic admission that he used to "Park bricks in front of 560 State/Now the Nets a stone's throw from where I used to throw bricks", and suddenly the Don King-like dream of drug dealer to NBA owner is oh so real. "Beautiful" with Rick Ross and Game delivers "Bricks, they were beautiful, yeah, Mona Lis(a)/Streets introduced me to money, nice to meet" in such a grateful way they seem like Jeezy's beloved surrogate parents, while "No Tears" is an ambitious surprise where an Auto-Tuned Future croons the chorus while YJ rattles off his memories over what sounds like a Tears for Fears backing track. Strange thing is, Jeezy should have worn out his welcome in the land of drug talk by now, and yet everything here feels fresh and inspired, perhaps validating the rapper's pre-release declaration that some lyrics are here because "the statute of limitations is over." Whatever the reason, Seen It All: The Autobiography shakes off all the challenges of Jeezy's lesser releases and finds new inspiration from the same old rap sheet. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 23, 2019 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 26, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 13, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings

Dropping the Young from his name and turning on the full Jeezy, Church in These Streets finds the veteran Atlanta MC tackling the concept album while playing the role of an inner-city preacher. The title cut is also the LP's key cut as it bangs along with twerking Zaytoven production, and offers the album's main message for anyone caught in the drug game: "If you see another day, then just say 'Hallelujah!'" The track "Lost Souls" is a heavy triumph, sampling a bit of the movie Street Life before the lyrics declare that any time spent in jail is time spent breeding another monster, while later, the woozy and hooky banger "Scared of the Dark" skewers flashy gangsters for their unwillingness to do life's dirty work. By the time "Sister Good Game's Testimony" snarls all the weak and meek out of the trap house, it seems Jeezy's "Pastor Young" character comes with the toughest brand of love, but "I Feel Ya" ("You put your fam on your back, boy I feel ya/You put your hood on the map, boy I feel ya") is a sympathetic cut that broadens the album's spectrum. "Sweet Life" with Janelle Monae is the kind of high-flying, blue sky rap that Curren$y usually offers, and if that wasn't enough, it comes with a Psalm recited by Monica, who is playing the role of Sister Brown. Monica and Monae are the ambitious album's only guests, and when the highlight "God" hits the speakers, with its underground dubstep wobble and its rickety beats, Jeezy does a successful reach outside his comfort zone and winds up with a spell-binding cut. That said, when taking in a full album, his monotone, bellowing delivery is an acquired taste, and with only a few guest shots, plus a long track list, newcomers might find this big LP a tough go. Regardless, the ambitious Church in These Streets stands with the man's great Thug Motivation 101 while beating that album on artistic merit and meaningful lyrics. ~ David Jeffries