I, no no scratch that, WE have been waiting for this moment since they day the last bit of air was let out of Young Jeezy’s 2008 release of The Recession. Tours, guest features, a slew of mixtapes (good and bad), false starts and everything in between have kept us entertained while Jeezy crafted his fourth solo opus TM103. However, the elephant in the room remained and stood firm: God damn Young, nigga where that album at?
Many may have argued Snowman lost his footing. Some might have argued his hip hoppity counterparts slid in and snatched his lane. But if you let Jeezy tell it, it’s simple: patience is a motherfucking virtue. However, in a world where singles, remixes, mixtapes, EPs and videos are released faster than I consume Egg Nog, Jeezy was slowly becoming, according to some, a thing of the past. And though the Trap Star has hits on hits on hits (mainstream and trap worthy), we wanted Mr. Jenkins to put up numbers against the current monsters in the game today. This brings me to November 3rd, 2011. 7pm. NYC. Quad Studios.
I received word that the good folks at Def Jam were having a quite listening session for Thug Motivation 103 and was asked if I’d like to attend. I responded calmly, “of course.” However in my mind: “FUCK YES!!!!” But I remained mum. I wasn’t aware how private the function was. And if you know my history with Def Jam and their events lol, let’s just say it’s best I don’t say anything lol.
I arrived to Quad at around 7:45pm, I was filming JumpOff TV prior to my arrival and we ran a bit over. They checked my name off the list and escorted me upstairs to the 10th floor. The door opened to a sea of familiar faces: Sowmya, Jeff Rosenthal, Carl Cherry (XXL), Jayson Rodriguez (XXL), Rahman Dukes (MTV), Rob Markman (MTV), Shawn Pecas (Executive at IDJ), Steve-O (Def Jam), B.Dot (Rap Radar), Vanessa Satten (XXL) ,Sway (MTV, Shade 45), Young Sav (Def Jam), S. Maddox, Johnny Nunez, and many more that I forgot to name. Daps and pounds were handed out and of course I made my way to the bar because that’s what I do lol.
On the screen in front of me was a documentary playing about Young Jeezy. Not sure how old it was, but it looked pretty current. I downed two glasses of Moet while talking to a college buddy and active Def Jam employee, Tim. Tim’s always full of fucking jokes. Tim’s like that slick talking kid you KNOW is trying to sell or get something out of you. But he’s not a bad fella, just a fucking clown who’s always laughing about something. Sort of like me. I guess that’s why we get along so well. I digress. Fuck Tim and he knows why lol.
It was a different energy in the room that night, something was different. I want to say it was vibrant, extremely vibrant. Gabe and Pecas were extremely cheerful. Sidebar: Pecas is a gigantic fella who looks like a NYG lineman. Every time I see him, I swiftly move out the way. But still, he was cheerful. Irv Gotti, who is rumored to be the new President over in the IDJ HQ’s was bouncing around like a kid in a candy store, but I’ll go into that later. Music time. Gabe whisked everyone into a dimly lit studio lounge where a huge glass window separated us from Team Jeezy. Of course, they took our phones and placed them in a cardboard box. Whenever I’m in attendance at events like this and our phones are swiped, I always get an evil or sarcastic stare followed by a quick snipe “You know this is because of you right?” SHUT UP!
Young quietly dipped inside the lounge area where we were all sitting and began explaining some of the logistics behind the project. He was excited and so was his team. While Jeezy and Shaheem Reid exchanged pleasantries, Young uttered proudly “I’m just happy this mufucka done.” It almost sounded like Jeezy was glad this chapter of his life and career was complete. He smiled uncontrollably. He greeted EVERYONE in the room. And not once did he say “I hope ya’ll like it.” A stern confidence hovered over Jeezy last night. Something even Stevie Wonder could see.
The intro blared. “Waiting.” If you remember the day Jeezy and his team released the date of the LP, that song playing in the background serves as the intro. We slid into the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League produced Jill Scott assisted “Trap.” Out the GATE, Jeezy catches you off guard. Jill Scott? Nice gamble. And if you’re familiar with the JL, your production expectations will be met. Snowman rhetoric at its finest. Young brought it back up top with “OJ” by featuring Jadakiss and Fabolous on the simple yet potent Lil Lody produced number. Jeezy intro’d the effort by saying “This features two of the homies from up here.” Interesting. Nonetheless, all three dope boys did their numbers. That should be coming soon. “Nothing” is served cold heatedly to the folks with their hands out .
“Leave Ya Alone” is your typical “your momma told you not to date that boy” composition assisted by Ne-Yo, which was actually brought back several times. We’re not use to Jeezy talking so openly to his female counterparts, but this isn’t the Jeezy of old. Jeezy was somewhat mushy on “Leave Ya Alone.” Jeezy isn’t in love is he? Maybe. BUT, right after “Leave Ya Alone”, “Smoke & Fuck” along with “Supa Freak”, which is strip club ready, bring us back to reality that Jeezy is still ready to run through em all right after the club.
Jeezy was on cloud 9 and not because of the weed, in which I might add he offered us on several occasions, but because he honestly felt GREAT about the music. He rapped each of the songs. Did the ad-libs and had a huge grin at the end of each song. Not because we were clapping, but because the nigga knew what he created. As I said before, the energy was different. The lineman that is Shawn Pecas was fancing to the project. Kevin Liles was actually doing the stanky leg to “Smoke & Fuck”, the women in the room were EXCITED by “Leave Ya Alone” because they’ve alll been through that.
And Irv Gotti? Let me tell you about Irv. Irv had that look in his eyes. As you know Irv was HEAVILY involved in bringing DMX to the forefront. There was something in his eyes that reminded me of that time. Now I’m not saying I was there for the time DMX and Irv were creating their magic, but it was a connection those two shared last night that went unspoken. But if you paid close attention to it, like I was, you could tell Irv was DAMN proud of what Jeezy had produced on TM103. I mean all the Def Jammers were, but something about Irv’s aura convinced me a bit different.
More records were played including a collaboration with Devin The Dude and Snoop Dogg and the, in which Jeezy likes to call it, “grand finale” “I Do” featuring Jay and Andre 3000. And though a snippet of the song leaked about a year ago, folks reacted to the song as if they NEVER heard the beautiful melodic strings on the sample in which all three Jeezy, Jay and Andre floated PERFECTLY on.
This isn’t your typical album review or whatever, and I know that. But there are certain events, happenings and occurrences I like to share with you guys. I’m not a writer, I just give my thoughts as clear as possible. Last night was an occurrence that I damn sure wasn’t sweeping under the rug or holding it to 140 Characters. I wanted to share this story. I needed to be shared. And I damn sure glad I did it. To those anticipating the arrival of Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition? It’s EVERYTHING you hoped for, PLUS more. Yes I said it. And to my man Carbon15, we’ll gladly take the blame lol. I guess Jeezy got wind of this….or did he?
Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition hits December 20th.
BIG shouts to the big/lil homey Allison S.