Rating: 7 / 10
It’s been an interesting ride for the Snowman, so it’s only fitting that his latest album is released around Christmas. Young Jeezy’s third album, TM:103 (Hustlerz Ambition) is finally upon us to listen to and dissect, but the pressure may have been too much for even Jeezy to top his last incredible LP, “The Recession.” Combining forces with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Freddie Gibbs, Jill Scott, Lil’ Wayne, and more, TM:103 delivers another solid dose of street music, even if it is initially underwhelming.
It becomes all too evident that the bar was possibly set too high during the first half of the LP. Some songs are charismatic enough to work, but most of the tracklisting (pre-Jill Scott) seems to be uninspired. “Waiting” is possibly one of the weaker introductions that Jeezy’s ever crafted, but thankfully it’s saved by the production and his verses. “OJ” is another average track that’s elevated solely by features from Fabolous and Jadakiss. 2 Chainz does his best, but even “Supafreak" falters in more than one area. This trend continues for a majority of the project, but things change dramatically halfway through.
From the moment that Jill Scott spits a verse on “Trapped,” until the end of the project, we see Jeezy in an almost artistic-like zone, cranking out incredible songs one after another. “Trapped” goes directly into the T.I.-assisted “F.A.M.E.,” which transitions into “I Do” with Jay-Z and Andre 3000 (sidenote: did Jeezy get this hook idea from Kenan, Kel, and Orange Soda?). Even the aged singles of “Ballin’” and “Lose My Mind” seem to gather renewed energy from the sequencing, making them sound much fresher than reality. Jeezy then closes it out with arguably one of the best songs on 103 with “Never Be The Same,” which has Jeezy going adlib-less to relate his thoughts for the finale.
There are serious flaws with TM:103 when compared to his other work, or even with other albums and mixtapes that have dropped this year. The reemergence of redundant topics (even moreso than his last two albums), the heavy reliance on features (12 of the 18 total songs on the deluxe edition - including eight of the last nine - have features), and even at times, the uninspired production all could be held as faults. Even with those flaws, this still could’ve been a classic Jeezy album - if the first half of the songs were more spirited.
It’s painful to say, but this is nothing more than a good album. Unfortunately for most Jeezy fans, we needed a great one, and this isn’t it. Don’t get it twisted; this is still a solid album, but it falters to reach the standards he set for himself out of the gate. Here’s to hoping that Jeezy has more tricks up his sleeves in the future.