Jeezy has always been someone that when people hear his voice, you know it’s him. His gravelly cadence can be recognized by anyone who follows the genre of hip hop. The problem is his content and production have always sounded uniform. He’s been successful and has done enough to get by, but rarely have I heard an experimental side of the South Carolina native. He’s just been a good street rapper.
On his tenth studio album, Pressure, Jeezy continues to go through the motions in every facet. At this point, it seems like he’s riding off of big-name features and hard-hitting beats. Most of the record’s attention was most likely filtered towards J Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s appearances on the mammoth track, “American Dream.” With titans like that, it wasn’t a surprise that it was the highlight of this project. J Cole delivered the best verse on the album, spitting powerful lines like, “hysterical screams coming from mothers that buried their kings/or the unbearable pain of watching ’em walk out with a sheriff in chains.”
Consequently however, Jeezy gets lost within this track, and his chorus is nowhere near as impactful as J Cole and Kendrick’s contributions. The contrast between the problems African Americans face in this country and what it means to finally make it really does mesh nicely though on this song.
Aside from a few other highlights sprinkled throughout the album, Jeezy really struggles to keep his head above water when it comes to his flow and lyricism. The sluggish “Bottles Up” has the street rapper giving one of his inferior performances to date. His verses on this song sound like Lil Uzi without the interesting sound effects. He just kind of says words without having any context surrounding them. More than a few times throughout this journey, Jeezy finds it difficult to put out a decent effort without having a worthy feature to back him up.
“Spyder” doesn’t have the grand opening that an album like this should have. The result is a bland clap-back towards his haters. Meanwhile, “Cold Summer” would have been a positive moment if not for the same beat that Tee Grizzley uses in every one of his songs. The lack of creativity unfortunately distracts me from otherwise modest verses from Jeezy and Grizzley. “This Is It” includes the weakest hook, where Jeezy feels the need to repeat “this is it” in the most monotonous way possible. This song will put people asleep.
I do like 2 Chainz’s appearance on the much more lively, “Floor Seats.” Aside from the line where he says “yeah she on the wood,” both artists sound a lot more energetic, and the chorus is actually very enjoyable.
The same could be said about the surprisingly soulful, “The Life.” Trey Songz carries the weight of the track wth his auto-tune charm, and buoyant chorus. This is Jeezy at his most spirited on the entire record, and the production is a lot more colorful than previous songs on the album.
Yet, Jeezy showed time and time again why he can’t take over a song anymore without any guidance. YG brings his needed flamboyant personality on “Like Them,” especially with Jeezy portraying the street life in the most stale way possible on the song. He’s telling us certain aspects that are not new to anyone listening.
At times it was hard to understand what Jeezy was saying, and that’s mostly because of the overproduction and poor mixing on some of these tracks. “Spyder” and “Cold Summer” were two instances where something like this occurred. Heck, even on “American Dream” producer Ynot can’t seem to hold back the horn in the background for just a moment.
Pressure is definitely a coherent endeavor, but that’s all it really is. Jeezy never experiments with his sound, and takes the safe route on this project. Without some of these features, this record could have been a lot worse. Instead, the South Carolina native needed the two biggest rappers in the game to keep his reputation a float.