Review Summary: A piss-poor, formulaic release by a piss-poor, formulaic rapper.
There’s a saying that goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” At this point, Jeezy is joining, not beating. It’s pretty well acknowledged by ‘the streets’ that the Snowman has been ousted by five-year rival Gucci Mane. The two have always been fairly even in way of beats (slight edge to the latter), but Gucci has always been much better lyrically and is (arguably) still on the rise. So it’s not very surprising that Mr. 17.5 has begun to draw small influences from his superior peer over the past few months. In addition to muting adlibs and placing them in the background rather than delivering them in the verse, he’s adopted the Gucci-esque technique of releasing a slew of mixtapes in promotion of his upcoming album TM 103
. With two official mixtapes this year, a hit single, and various leaks to his credit, Jeezy is in a battle royale with not only Gucci, but T.I. The three Atlanta heavyweights all have scheduled their albums to be released on the same day, and it’s looking like the Snowman is gonna take the bronze. 1,000 Grams
is a simple, cheap, yet effective ploy to generate attention. Despite an all-too common formula (rapping over the beats of prominent songs by other rappers, with a big name DJ ‘co-signing’ the tape) 1,000 Grams
is a shoe-in as a hit, but is one of the worst releases swirling about the mixtape circuit right now.
On his past releases, Jeezy’s success has been spurred on by his cinematic trap beats driven by electronics and spooky organs and a stubborn, coke-first mentality. While the latter persists on this record, the former does not, and this painfully exposes his lack of technical skill. Never commended for being a stellar vocalist, Jeezy’s raspy, shouting delivery, at times choppy flow, and style of lyricism don’t help him in the eyes of more experienced, well-versed rap fans. When not in his element, these things beleaguer him even more so than before. Admittedly, his flow has sped up a bit and his delivery is a lot smoother, but his lyrics are the same old song and dance. With corny, hyphenated punchlines (“Call me Scarface – breakin’ down kilo
”) and overly obvious internals (“I think it’s de-hydrated/Put a lil’ water on it, get it re-hydrated
”) littered amongst materialistic boasts, drug number/measurement lingo, hypermasculine bravado, Jeezy is by far no lyrical wizard.
What truly makes this mixtape a flop, though, is the fact that Jeezy doesn’t even outdo rappers on their own tracks, which is what you’re supposed to shoot for when rapping over a beat that is not your own. He should be ashamed of his shoddy, relatively horrendous performance on “Powder” - which is placed over Kanye West’s prog rock-influenced “Power” – as he comes nowhere close to touching what Kanye did. On songs such as “Dope Boy Swag” (a remix of Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag”) and “Drug Dealin’ Muzik” (a remix of Waka Flocka Flame’s “Oh Let’s Do It”) he flow-jacks like no other and on songs such as “Choppa N Da Paint”, overtly steals rhyme schemes. Top this all off with DJ Scream’s annoying shoutouts (think: exaggerated take on Game’s voice) and the unnecessary intro, you’ve got a pretty poor release. The saving grace of 1,000 Grams
is “Death B4 Dishonor”, a diss to Rick Ross over Officer Rickay’s Shawty Redd beat “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”, which is the #7 song on the rap charts, behind Jeezy’s “Lose My Mind”. However, this is more or less a good song in a meta- way (I like the fact that Jeezy is dissing a labelmate), rather than being aesthetically pleasant.
Despite the overnight success this release has garnered, it’s disheartening to see how bad this is, especially after how encouragingly enjoyable “Lose My Mind” and “Jizzle” are. I was starting to (dare I say it) look forward
to TM 103
. But they say you practice how you play, and if 1,000 Grams
is a warm-up, TM 103
isn’t gonna be too hot.