Song of The Year-Just Win by Jeezy produced by Cassius Jay
Thinking about how much Jeezy has changed, without altering his aesthetic universe in the slightest, is baffling. During his breakout Thug Motivation 101/Trap or Die phase he was openly mocking lyricism, loudly declaring his allegiance to the hustle and the hustle alone. At this point in his career, at the Church In These Streets period, his responsibilities are infinitely more diverse.
This new album is nineteen songs long with only two features and those are not rap features (Monica and Janelle Monae). Jeezy is not just comfortable with all the lyrical weight on his shoulders but he absolutely murders some interesting beats. Cassius Jay provides a beat in Just Win that would sit beautifully on Eric B & Rakim’s Don’t Sweat The Technique album; it has that rich soulful echoing boom. Instead of sounding out of place (like Waka Flocka over East Coast beats) elder statesman Jeezy starts dropping pearls of wisdom like “Being rich that s#&* a talent, being broke that’s a profession.” His drive to succeed might be larger than it was in the beginning because Just Win is NOT about him winning, Jeezy knows he already won. It’s about infusing a shot of ambition adrenaline to the community he loves that still hasn’t. So lyrics like “…Want to live the American dream like Uncle Hoss and his wife, work hard feed my kids see what that be like, For now seeing junkies and pipes make a soldier put on his uniform and earn him some stripes.” That’s for someone out there in ferocious need of a cash infusion. Jeezy can’t give you that but he can provide you the soundtrack to go get it.
I loved his last album Seen It All with its grizzled drug dealer PTSD and community awareness, lucky for me, this album just continues what is my favorite leg of an already illustrious career.