After a ludicrous amount of album delays, rivalling that of even The R.E.D Album, Young Jeezy finally released TM:103 on December 20th. Anticipation went into overdrive with the multitude of leaks, official and unofficial, but is the finished project up to standard?
The album begins with 'Waiting'. Anyone familiar with the Atlanta rapper's previous work will find themselves in standard territory as Jeezy rhymes about his come up from the struggle while also finding time to brag about his success. The project really kicks into gear, however, with second track 'What I Do (Just Like That)'. Drumma Boy produces a bass rattling comfort zone in which the rapper is able to provide the type of club banger that he is known for. Similar in tone are the catchy 'Supafreak', featuring a charismatic 2 Chainz verse, and 'Lose My Mind', in which a surprisingly listenable Plies cameo blows Jeezy out of the water. The best beat on the album, however, is reserved for the speaker-destroying 'Ballin'. It is virtually impossible to listen to the track at low volume as Jeezy spazzes out over the dark, incessant instrumental. Unfortunately, some of the good work is ruined by a depressingly average appearance from Lil Wayne, who even pauses the beat before launching into one of the most forgettable verses of his career.
Unlike previous albums, however, Jeezy does not restrict himself solely to his own brand of 'trap music'. On the silky 'Leave You Alone', the rapper links up with Neyo to rhyme about the pitfalls of a relationship with a hustler. 'F.A.M.E' with T.I is a welcome change of pace into deeper subject matter, as the two Atlanta natives describe the drawbacks of their fame: "Tell me, for running my big mouth/ That I can chill here in this big penthouse?/ All elevatored up, black hardwood floors/ Just to sit around and feel it aint yours...". The track heralds a more mature approach for an artist not noted for his deep introspection. Equally successful is the star studded 'I Do', in which Jeezy, Jay Z and Andre 3000 wax lyrical about their perfect women and how they imagine they would marry them. Jill Scott drops by unexpectedly for 'Trapped', providing a spoken word hook for Jeezy to to recount his grim childhood.
Unfortunately, not all of TM:103 is quite as compelling. 'Higher Learning' is dull weed rap that the world has heard a thousand times. Snoop Dogg continues his descent into mediocrity on the type of song in which he used to shine, while bringing Devin the Dude into the fray underlines his irrelevance. 'All We Do' is one of only 5 cuts in which Jeezy is unaided by another artist, but the rapper wastes his opportunity with a long, repetitive track about how he does nothing but smoke weed and fuck his girlfriend. It is just as interesting as it sounds. Having both Jadakiss and Fabolous on 'OJ' means Jeezy compares unfavourably in the lyricism department. The beat, however, is uninspiring, resulting in none of the artists finding the space to really shine.
Track by Track:
|1. Waiting - 7/10|
|2. What I Do (Just Like That) - 8/10|
|3. OJ - 6/10|
|4. Nothing - 7/10|
|5. Way Too Gone - 6/10|
|6. SupaFreak - 8/10|
|7. All We Do - 4/10|
|8. Leave You Alone - 7/10|
|9. Everythang - 7/10|
|10. Trapped - 7/10|
|11. F.A.M.E. - 8/10|
|12. I Do - 8/10|
|13. Higher Learning - 5/10|
|14. This One's For You - 6/10|
15. .38 - 7/10
16. Ballin' - 8/10 (one point off for the dreadful Lil Wayne verse)
17. Lose My Mind - 8/10
18. Never Be The Same - 7/10
Young Jeezy has put together a slick selection of thugged out trap music in the way only he can. Despite some low points, TM: 103 represents the highlight of the Jeezy catalogue, and is sure to satisfy the legion of fans who have waited so patiently for the release of the album