Jeezy has really seen it all. Throughout the Atlanta rapper’s 10-plus year career, he’s giving us stories on the trap, his drug king status, and how he hustled out of the streets to become one of the biggest figures in hip-hop. He’s also fed the masses with tons of mixtape material—something a real hustler is very familiar with—that includes a notable run in 2013 where he dropped three tapes full of certified bangers. Now, with four albums under his belt, Jeezy is ready to capitalize on his veteran status in the game to deliver something special for his fifth studio LP.
Last Thursday night (July 14), Jeezy held a private listening session at Jungle City studios in NYC with a few select media outlets. With a camera team in tow, the 36-year-old MC greeted journalists with a wide smile and shook their hands, embodying his “El Jefe” nickname to the T. After some small talk, Jeezy brought us into the control room to play about 70 percent of his Seen It All LP, slated to hit stores on Sept. 2 via Def Jam.
Jeezy’s been a thug motivator. He’s inspired, telling tales of his hustler’s ambitions on each of his albums. He seemed genuinely happy to explain the new concept behind Seen It All, which taps into his experiences to educate the younger generation of hip-hop. Backed by EVP of Def Jam Kyambo “Hip-Hop” Joshua, who helped A&R the project and had three different sequences on paper in-hand, he started the session with “What You Say.” With production by Childish Major, the hard-thumping drums give the perfect setting for The Snowman to talk that trap talk. It’s been a minute since we’ve heard Jeezy lay down the law on who runs the block and he’s clearly rapping with a chip on his shoulder.
Aside from your standard Jeezy joints, he’s also offering up a more reflective side that’s similar to big records like “Soul Survivor,” “Dreamin’” and “My President.” On “Holy Ghost,” Jeezy offers a rapper’s perspective behind the tinted windows. In his eyes, fans just see the glamour and don’t realize that rappers go through real-life problems as well. It’s one of those records that’ll get praise for its honesty and maturity, showing he’s truly evolved from Mr. 17.5 to recording artist. Other songs to pay attention to are the soulful-sounding “Beautiful” featuring Game and the club-ready “Want Me,” which has a guest appearance by Wiz Khalifa.
“Black Eskimo” is a hard-hitting track that’ll be an instant favorite because it transitions smoothly into the Jay Z-assisted “Seen It All.” Mike Will Made It’s powerful production appears on “4 Zones”—a brick anthem about coming out on top once you get knocked down. Jeezy believes all a hustler needs is four ounces of work and you’re back on your grind again. With a bit of melody and harmonizing by Jizzle on the hook, you can expect to hear this one blaring from whips.
In every project, there’s always at least one song that encapsulates the entire theme. For Seen It All, Jeezy emphasized everyone in the room to really focus on “No Tearz,” even playing it twice to drive his point. Featuring the vocals of Future, Jeezy says he’s proud of making it out of the block to become a full-time rapper. As with anyone who survived the ghetto, Jeezy has watched many of his closest friends fall victim to the street life. To hear Jeezy rap in a tranquil state as compared to the pained bars in describing past struggles, it’s a welcomed change that fans will get excited about.
Jeezy wrapped up the listening with “Quarter Block,” where he talks about whipping it in the kitchen, using kitchenware metaphors that relate Pyrex pots and Coleman stoves. This song in particular is one of the reasons why Jeezy continues to deliver quality over quantity. Although noticeably absent are tracks with DJ Mustard and his CTE signees, Jeezy has a wealth of songs that proves he’s still hungry to be at the top. The real is back, and he’s not going anywhere.—Eric Diep
Previously: Ranking Jeezy’s Mixtapes From Worst To Best