Note: The following video is not recommended to be played at work, in an airport, in church, in the presence of children, and possibly in the privacy of your own home. It is presented here to allow you to hear the music of Young Jeezy, one of three hip-hop artists KingEd has become acquainted with over the past months.
BY ED KING UNAPOLOGETIC ROCKIST A couple of months ago The Editor dropped three then-recent hip-hop releases on me: Young Jeezy‘s The Inspiration, Nas‘ Hip Hop Is Dead, and Ghostface Killah‘s More Fish. “I’d like to get your take on this stuff,” he said. “This Young Jeezy guy is all the rage,” he continued, “it’s hardcore gangsta shit. Some of it’s actually scary.”
This would be some listening assignment, I figured. Just the thought of an artist naming himself Ghostface Killah had been bugging me. Isn’t the body count high enough already? But who am I to judge a rapper by his handle? Just another hard-working white guy from the suburbs whose actually underwriting the genre of hip-hop with allowance and babysitting money — that’s who. So, with all this in mind, I spent a few days spinning these CDs as I drove around, and here are my impressions.
Young Jeezy really is nasty as he wants to be. And then some. Everything is “n*gger this” or “n*gger that.” The first song, “Hypnotize (Intro)”, drops 18 N-bombs. Not only that but the guy can’t even pronounce his own title (he repeatedly says “hypmotize”). This is progress? Still, Young Jeezy is, in the talking head parlance of the day, “a useful idiot.” If nothing else, he proves that the N-word cannot be drained of it’s considerable venom no matter how many times you repeat it. “Still On It” drops total of 11 N-bombs after an impressive half dozen in the song’s opening seconds. Track 3, “U Know What It Is” ups the ante with 18 N-bombs. And on and on. Contrary to the album’s title, The Inspiration is the most depressing, self-loathing and humanity-free music I’ve ever heard. Throw in a cynical mix of canned pop hooks for bad measure. Will say this much: the beats don’t suck.
This Nas guy I’d been hearing of for some time. He’s massively popular, and I figured he’d raise the bar a bit. I was wrong. I don’t know what’s more shameful, the amoral stupidity and self-hatred of a Young Jeezy or the pandering, voyeuristic, pseudo-confrontational entertainment masquerading as reality that’s served up by Nas. With a moment’s thought, Nas is worse. At least Young Jeezy shows the commitment to wallow in his own mire. Nas can kiss my ass…two times!
Ghostface Killah was the real surprise in this lot. His lyrics are as nasty as his contemporaries’, but it’s all in good fun. “Ghost Is Back” announces the album with a foul-mouthed, Redd Foxx-like skit backed by honest-to-goodness music. Music that doesn’t sound like an afterthought or a prepackaged “bed” that a producer looped up to support the skit. Killah takes action, musically speaking, while documenting the requisite brand-ho niggas and bitches, and theice that makes it all seem worthwhile. The songs are more good-natured than the hardcore gangsta shit of Jeezy and they’re not as passively accepting of the horrors of urban life that Nas flashes us. It’s about the music. As such, the music benefits, and maybe we do too.