I would never call it a sophomore slump, cause you know the element of surprise
is everything in a mixtape. Esp. artists tapes, where simply pumping out that
work ain't enough. If heads know ya style from last year, and all the success
that came with it, they'll respect it. But acknowledgement in this game is goin'
to be a lot harder for one reason: we want that next shit. Who's next on the
come up? Who's ready to make a splash? Young Jeezy was that dude last year.
He can still sell 2 mill or more without question. But he's signed, he's successful,
and he's popular. Mixtape heads root for that underdog, the newbie with something
to offer that hasn't been delivered yet. Jeezy is the epitome of that notion.
At least he was last year. Heads will embrace; but heads won't push this tape
as that crack. Only cause Jeezy is already--after one group album, a debut tape
(Tha Streets Iz Watchin'), one MAJOR artist mixtape (Trap or Die), and one solo
album--old. If you don't hear a song when it drops the day it's pushed to the
streets, or hits Sirius radio, or is ripped onto the web, it's old. Young Jeezy,
as YOUNG as the kid is, and as much of a legacy he has yet to conjure up, is
considered old in this game. I feel bad when an artist tops himself once, or
several times, as is the case with Can't Ban the Snowman, Jeezy done did it
again. Not as many heads gonna care this time out, but that's alriiiiiiiiiighhhht
with Jeeze. The opening track "I'm Back" answers all this rhetoric,
while some sturring keys light up the Snowman's introduction to the USDA. "Ya
Dig" is a real gift, playing to a catchy slang-pushing hook compressed
by dramatic synths; this one claims to be an album exclusive. "Cadillac"
is a favorite on the Aphilliate's Friday night Trendsetter's show on Siris.
This joint will remind you of the Southernplayalistic days, taking an old Swisha
beat and unscrewing it. Pow.
If Jigga can rhyme over Jeezy, Jeezy can rhyme over Jigga. That's what "Reintroduction"
is about. Also, Jeezy comes back "Better Than Ever" over the classic
"Imaginary Player." Good choice. This section of the tape is where
heads gonna find the material to be a little more flat than usual. It's the
freestyle section I enjoy, cause you're gonna hear them exclusives sooner or
later anyway. Rhyming over familiar beats lets heads know cats like Jeezy can
jump to various styles--some do it better than others--while shelling out material
you wouldn't normally get from a Let's Get It. "Say I" gives introspect
to Jeezy's thoughts of the media, while Christina Milian lights up a well-crooned
chorus toward lots of mass appeal. Slick Pulla is no Jody Breeze, despite serving
up the straight foward style contrary to Jeezy's abstract delivery. Jeeze even
allows Pulla to shred the instrumental to "Trap or Die." Satisy he
may, I wasn't feeling "Burning Up," where the kinky cheap hook reminded
me a lot of the Worst of 3-6-Mafia. Blood Raw reminds me of Old Jeezy. Funny
they do a song together labeled "Lil Buddy" cause you can't tell who's
who. At least Slick Pulla complimented the style (check "I'm A G").
And how many mixtapes gonna use that "Dead Wrong" beat? I understand
the instro is widely available; doesn't mean you HAVE to use it tho. "Studio
Gangsters" uses the instrumental with as much flair as Fifty on the original.
It's the best remake on the disc. So even if the USDA is a stepdown from the
Boyz--which remains to be seen--the Snowman ain't goin' nowhere in the zero
six. Chalk up another one for the Gangsta Grillz.