Jeezy's <i>The Recession</i> highlights the economy, Obama

The album ends up being semi-connected and semi-themed.
Young Jeezy: loves him some spinach dip. Courtesy of Def Jam

Everyone (namely Jeezy himself) hyped this album as an intricate and assumedly cohesively themed concept album. As it turns out, The Recession is only a little bit more about the national economy than Yung Joc's "Hustlenomics." And this seems to be the focus of a lot of The Recession's criticism: It wasn't what it was billed to be and does not appear to be solving any of America's financial woes.

But how about if we just grant that Jeezy admittedly isn't solving the national debt from the get-go and take a look at the album as a whole because, as Dave Chappelle once noted about Ja Rule, if we're really coming to Jeezy for the survival of our economy, we might have bigger fish to fry.

It seems commendable enough that Jeezy is attempting to mix up his formula a bit. It's true that he doesn't stray nearly as far as advertised. But he seems to sort of address that on "Crazy World" ("They want that young shit/That dumb shit, that where you from shit/That ride around the hood all day with your gun shit"). That's what Jeezy has always given the people, and he has become beloved for it. He became a champion of the streets and the streets loved him right back.

Automatically transitioning from his larger-than-life persona to a much more politically themed voice of the streets approach is no easy feat. This seems to be a key contrast in "Crazy World," balancing the fact that his heavily bumpable but ultimately lyrically simplistic songs of the past are a comfort and certainly represent a part of him. But they can simultaneously seem a bit pedantic given the current state of the world. By the same token, simple pleasures make the people smile during hard times. And Jeezy has certainly always deemed himself a man of the people. It seems at times Jeezy gets caught up in the midst of making the album that changed things up and the album he thought the people wanted.

And his forays outside of his main comfort zone on the album actually work surprisingly well. The most unique example of this is the Don Cannon-produced "Circulate," which sounds like Jeezy vocals were perfectly placed into a track accidentally left off the "Super Fly" soundtrack some 36 years ago. And Jeezy is back to his old tricks with catchy drug metaphors ("You want word play, but I'm about bird play") and not-so-subtle bedroom manor ("I go up and down/Round and round/Super Mario") on the notable non-single tracks "Word Play" and "Takin' It There."

And as usual, Jeezy's singles pack a punch on The Recession. "My President" might not be the most socially charged Obama-themed song out there, but it works on a certain simplistic level, and Jeezy's line about e-mailing Jesus is hilarious.

Finally, the track that sums up this semi-connected, semi-themed album as a whole is the epically powerful "Put on," which can be described both as an ode to his Atlanta stomping grounds and, as Jeezy described it, a song about the idea that when times are rough you still put your best hat and your jeans on and come out and put on for your city and yourself. This message, combined with Jeezy's everyday hustler's struggle verse and Kanye's hardships of fame verse create a powerful juxtaposition that actually seems to encapsulate what the whole "Recession" theme meant to Jeezy. 

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