Hustle & Flow
Young Jeezy refers to himself as a hustler that just happens to rap. In other words, rap is not his hustle, it's the other way around. So, he should probably be your last resort for inspiration on anything hip-hop-related. Then again, two million music buyers would beg to differ. Despite his populist appeal, Jeezy is more likely to be remembered as that guy who introduced plus-size strippers to award shows than the coke-rapper he truly aspires to be.
The raspy-voiced rapper spends half a minute saying "ayy" on the album opener "Hypnotize," as if unsure how to commence his journey with "hip-hop or whatever you wanna call it." When his droning voice finally starts dishing tired lines, "they move too slow when I think too quick, that's why I flash like Gordon," you immediately wish he had just said "ayy" the whole three minutes. Another ear-splintering moment arrives on the self-blandishing "J.E.E.Z.Y.," where the ATLien wearily runs down his pasttime, "Jeezy likes to drank, Jeezy like to smoke, Jeezy at the trap..." Unlike other crack-rappers like Clipse and Weezy, this snowman is too busy at the trap to invest any time or thought on his rhymes.
More "Motivation", Less "Inspiration"
Redundancy is Jeezy's worst nightmare. Many of the songs on The Inspiration are safe regurgitations of his hype-fueled debut, Thug Motivation 101. "Go Getta" is Thug Motivation's "Trap Star," "Keep It Gangsta" is anything but a rehash of "Gangsta Music," etc.
His guttural snarl and catchy adlibs do very little to redeem Jeezy's botched attempts at smart-sounding lyrics: "You can't take nothing for granted, and don't take granted for nothing" ("Bury Me a G"). Once you've accepted the fact that Jeezy's is no lyrical powerhouse, then you'll start to understand why he spends more time yeeeaaahhh-ing and daammn-ing us to death. After all, he's not in it for the skills, he's in it "for the skrilla."
The Bottom Line on The Inspiration
In spite of the big league track suppliers, The Inspiration suffers from uneven production. Jeezy chills in the kitchen, while his boardsmen--Cool & Dre, The Runners, DJ Toomp, etc--map out the sonic ingredients. The end result is a bumpy ride. For every Timbaland ace ("3. a.m."), there are two Shawty Redd mishaps.
With no standout cuts and no distinguishable theme, The Inspiration lacks the spark of Thug Motivation 101. Cheesy piano beeps, synths, and lyrics about being lifted have never sounded so pale.