Jeezy Returns to His Roots on ‘Trap or Die 3′
The realm of trap music -- the bass and 808 drum-heavy sound wrapped around accounts of drug trafficking and criminality -- has become representative of southern rap for the better part of the new millennium. A fresh crop of upstarts may be emerging on the scene and appear poised to become the new faces of trap, but Jeezy, who is considered to be one of the godfathers of the sub-genre, is intent on putting on for the older guard and showing the rookies a thing or two with his latest album, Trap or Die 3.
The seventh studio album in Jeezy's discography, Trap or Die 3, arrives a year after Church in the Streets, which some critics deemed an underwhelming effort, and a sign of the Snowman's regression as a bankable star in rap. In response, the trap god has tasked himself with rekindling the love affair between himself and the streets with Trap or Die 3, which finds Jeezy mixing elements of his initial classics, TM101, The Inspiration and The Recession, with new wrinkles that bode favorable for a rap album attempting to break through the static in 2016.
The inclusion of producer Shawty Redd, who helped craft Jeezy his original sound that stamped him as the trap's favorite and catapulted him to the upper echelon of the game, is indicative of a return to the rapper's roots. His first appearance on a Jeezy album since 2008's The Recession, Shawty Redd lends his midas touch to three selections on Trap or Die 3, two of which serve as the opening salvos for the album. On the first, "In the Air," Jeezy voices that sentiment himself, declaring, "Shawty Redd got the beat banging Snow back on his Snow shit," and waxing poetic on their days pre-stardom with the lines, "Lexus coupe, bubble eye, I was paying 24/Transaction at the car wash 'cross from the store/That was off of Candler Road, dirty south, DeKalb mall/Back when me and Shawty hit up Ts and had a damn ball."
Shawty Redd, who also helms the subsequent selection, "G-Wagon," which gives off shades of past productions like "Who Dat," serves as an early MVP candidate by effectively supplying Jeezy with his tried-and-true formula. The first half of Trap or Die 3 is defined by its list of high-profile guest appearances. Claiming to have gone "platinum on that Boost Mobile" on the PD and Kenoe-produced song "Where It At," Jeezy matches wits with Memphis connect Yo Gotti as the two talk heavy and celebrate the trap life. Slain Atlanta rapper Bankroll Fresh makes his presence felt in spirit on the ominous Trap or Die 3 standout "All There," another piece of evidence showcasing his immense potential as one of the next torchbearers of trap music.
Produced by D. Rich, the raucous number gives Bankroll and Jeezy ample room to flex, with the former spouting, "Dope boy 95 Air Max on/Came from up the road boy you know we tax homes/You want a whole thing hit me on the black phone/Hood nigga Hot Cheetos what I snack on," and ghosting all over the track. French Montana and Lil Wayne also crash the party, with the Coke Boy "Going Crazy" alongside Jeezy atop production by D. Rich, while Wayne gets sandwiched between two Jeezy verses on "Bout That." Serving up quotables like, "Jumped off the porch at eleven, bitch I been bout it/I'm gang gang I been solid, go Bin Laden on anybody/Talkin' all that shit and we gon' have to talk to you in private/What block you on, we gon' spin around it/Leave dead bodies, fuck them zombies," Weezy flourishes, as Jeezy, the Isaac Newton of this trap shit, steadies the ship.
The first half of the album may feature Jeezy sharing the spotlight with his industry compadres, but the second finds him going for dolo more than not, beginning with the P.C.-produced heater, "Let 'Em Know" -- another selection that harkens back to the era when he first trapped his way to platinum success. "Recipe," which features the handiwork of producers Mike Will Made It and 30 Roc, and the DJ Montay, Big Korey and Doda 1K-co-produced "Goldmind" are both serviceable, but Trap or Die 3 hits a snag with "U Kno It," which pales in comparison to Shawty Redd's previous two contributions to the album.
However, Jeezy regains his footing and closes Trap or Die 3 on a high note, with a little assistance from the likes of Plies, whose verse on "Sexe" is obnoxiously endearing, and Chris Brown, who tackles the vocal duties on "Pretty Diamonds," one of the rare songs on the album with any inklings of true hit potential.
While Trap or Die 3 likely won't yield the returns that Jeezy's prior offerings managed to garner during the hot streak of the late aughts, it is sure to quiet concerns of whether he's lost the ability to move the streets while maintaining his appeal as one of the landmark names in rap on a mainstream level. With 16 tracks that move from the trap, to the clubs, to the gutter, and back again, Trap or Die 3 is potent enough to leave listeners fiending for his next hit.
Here's a Ranking of Every Jeezy Album