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Something about Jeezy

Apparently The Inspiration leaked on Thursday. I haven’t downloaded it, but from the tracks I’ve heard at various sites on the Internet (and on the Drama mixtape I Am the Street Dream!), I have to admit that it’s shaping up to be pretty damn hot. “Child of God (Bury Me a G)” is nuts, as are “I Luv It” and “Jeezy.” I’m not mad at that R. Kelly collabo “Go Getta” either. I can’t stop playing it. Looks like there’s not gonna be a sophomore slump for Da Snowman. More like a sophomore Jordan jump.

The Jeezy Movement is a funny phenomenon to me. I can never really seem to pinpoint why it is that I like him so much. For the most part, I’m not a fan of coke rap. The whole Southern dope boy trap talk shtick bores me. I can’t get into chant-rapping. Simplistic lyrics and repetitive ad-libs don’t do it for me. And I could care less about tear-it-up sexcapade records. Plus, you c-boys already know how I feel about the “I’m not a rapper” swagger.

Yet, I love Jeezy’s music.

And I couldn’t tell you why. I’ve tried, too. I get in arguments about that dude pretty regularly. Those backpack boys that love to hate me tend to run their mouths about Jeezy an awful lot. And, really, they have a point. It’s true that Jeezy epitomizes a lot of really wack trends in hip-hop. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Jeezy is more than the sum total of the irritating trends he’s set.

You all will no doubt call me corny for this one, but it seems to me that part of Jeezy’s appeal has to do with the healing power of music. Simply put, he makes music for people that are hurting. And there’s something to that.

I interviewed the rapper for Pound a couple of weeks ago and asked him what he thought of the recent surge of coke rappers. Here’s what he had to say:

I mean, it’s a way of life. I wouldn’t glorify the term hustling. But if that’s all you got to give, that’s what you got to give. That’s how some people express they pain. That’s what counseling is about, that’s what AA meetings is about. You deal with people that been through the same things that you been through and you talk about it and help other people get through they times. You go in and you say “My name is such and such and I was addicted to blank, and I’ve been clean for this long.” I’m basically saying “My name is Young Jeezy and I’m from the streets and this is what I’ve been through.”

He continued:

Sometimes people don’t understand. You can’t be mad about that. Everything ain’t for everybody. You got some people that have really been through it and some people that haven’t. The people that haven’t, it’s not a big deal to them. They like, ‘OK, and…what else?” But where I’m at, it’s everything to everybody. I see my music as a form of message. For the people that don’t understand, maybe they will see why we say and do the things we do. And for the people that do understand, it makes them feel like they got somebody who is for them, who is speaking on the issues. It makes them feel like they not by themselves, like they ain’t alone.

If you’re the cynical type, you might write this off as the handiwork of some savvy media coach. But if you love music the way I love it, if you use it to survive your darkest moments, to celebrate your brightest triumphs, to chase your dreams, to keep moving forward at all costs—then you’ll probably choose to accept that Jeezy is sincere.

Then you’ll hear how each verse is charged with a tension between the despair and futility and anger of the old life, and the promise of something new. You’ll get how every line is an act of faith, a manifestation of the belief that the relentless pursuit of ambition will somehow bridge the gulf between the life you have and the one you want. And, in that context, every “yeaaaah” and “that’s riiiight” that Jeezy drops will be nothing short of invigorating.

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