Jeezy Remains Street Smart On ‘Church In These Streets’  0 Comments

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Posted on 19 Nov 2015 at 5:13pm

© Def Jam

There are x number of rappers on the hip-hop scene in modern times. The palette of hip-hop has expanded exponentially, hence inviting a higher level of eclecticism. That said is there anybody who delivers a harder, brasher approach to rap than Jeezy? The answer to that question is very few, as Jeezy has “gone hard” from day one, his “Soul Survivordays. On Church In These Streets Jeezy didn’t need to convert any souls, but he does nonetheless – in a musical way of course, not spiritually! 

From the start, Jeezy is on…autopilot that is! “Grind State” opens with Jeezy proclaiming, “Sounds glorious don’t it / victorious don’t it…I told y’all n****s I was gone come back hard…” Indeed he does, delivering a profane, no-holds-bar rap intact with hardcore production to match. If “Grind State” didn’t set the tone, Lost Souls” certainly does, as the streets are alive and tough as ever as Jeezy tells it. Being the ‘god’ that he is, he boast, “Lord knows…they got me praying for these lost souls.”

 

“Holy Water” continues his blasphemous ways as Jeezy is by no means referencing anointing oil – duh! Usually when referencing a “fifth,” the word “holy” doesn’t come into play. On “Gold Bottles” Jeezy’s duties as prophet/pastor are clear as he gives back to his flock: “I spent a mil on my hood, I’m like f**k a Bugatti / but when you get your first mil they think that you Illuminati.” The unshakable MC continues being tough on Hell You Talkin Bout” as well as “Hustlaz Holiday,” proclaiming “If you a lazy b***h, stay away / we even hustle on Labor Day.” Relentless. 

Expectedly, much like many of his contemporaries, Jeezy features a song titled “God.” Listening to “God,” has Jeezy ever been more Mephistophelean? Even though he doesn’t proclaim himself to be the Most High, he does assert himself as “a god in the hood,” in addition to a reference to the Virgin Mary sure to infuriate Catholics (“Pure like the blood of Virgin Mary / turn water to some wine…”). 

The church references don’t stop with “Holy Water” or “God.” On title track “Church In These Streets” Jeezy elevates himself on the pedestal as the pastor, asking, “Where my street disciples? Church off in these streets / call my congregation, church off in these streets / Call me Pastor Young, I came to spread the word…” “New Clothes” also plays on Biblical references of being baptized and being anew, though Jeezy opts for the literal, proclaiming on the hook, “only one way to go and get them h**s / fall up in this b***h in some new clothes.”

Jeezy cools off church references on Sweet Life featuring eclectic R&B standout Janelle Monáe on one of the set’s few collaborations. The contrast between Monáe’s poise and Jeezy’s grit is a selling point. If the “Sweet Life” was too heavenly, “Scared Of The Dark” returns Church In These Streets to relentless hellishness, with malicious, devilish production intact. 

The rest of Church In These Streets continues in grimy fashion. On “No Other Way,” Jeezy preaches, “Just know I’m standing taller than I ever stood,” again asserting a prophetic stance. He balls on “J BO,” asks haters to prove him wrong by winning on penultimate number “Just Win,” and closes humbler on “Forgive Me,” which features lovely vocals by Monica. Interestingly, Monica’s role is one characterized by ad libs.

So, does Church In These Streets incite a hallelujah? Amen! Jeezy offers nothing he hasn’t done over the course of a decade’s long career, but he’s consistent and has yet to stop flexin’, which means a lot. After all, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Preach on preacher!

Favorites: “Grind State,” “God,” “Church In These Streets,” “Sweet Life” featuring Janelle Monáe, “Scared of the Dark” and “Forgive Me”

★★★★

Jeezy • Church In These Streets • Def Jam • Release Date: November 13, 2015

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