The Inspiration

Artist: Young JeezyTitle: The InspirationRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Alex Thornton

With so much complaining about Hip-Hop going corporate, a self-made man like Young Jeezy is a refreshing alternative. In less than two years, he's become a top artist on a top label, and while his rhyme skills are the subject of heavy debate, you can't knock the hustle. With The Inspiration (Def Jam), Jeezy won't convince anyone but his most diehard fans that he's a top ten MC, but he may convince a few that it might not really matter.

Fans of Thug Motivation 101 will feel right at home with this semester's class since it's more or less the same album. The hook to "J.E.E.Z.Y." sums things up all too well: "Jeezy like to drink/Jeezy like to smoke/Jeezy like to mix Arm & Hammer with his coke." While he never bothers to explain what the acronym stands for, those few lines still provide a pretty accurate shorthand version of every other song on the album. As expected, the lyrics are not only simplistic but sometimes just plain bad as well (the lines sometimes don't even rhyme). The production is also far from innovative with even the usually kooky Timbaland sleepwalking his way through "3 AM."

Track after track follows the same formulaic approach that Jeezy loves (see "I Luv It"), and while they work in their own way individually, as a whole, The Inspiration at times feels like a test of patience. Still, Jeezy has always been a rapper who gets by on attitude more than technique and this dark, aggressive album certainly has plenty of it. His words may not be complex, but he at least sounds like he means them. His tone almost dares the listener to criticize him, and by the end, it seems hard to argue with his "money talks" approach; Jeezy is so confident that he must know something that the doubters don't.

Well, maybe he does. If the song titles were changed, the exact comments could apply to Jeezy's freshman album. There were around two million people who didn't care about Jeezy's plain lyrics last year, so Jeezy naturally doesn't either. He isn't just satisfied with simplicity; he revels in it, never pretending to be something he isn't. The Inspiration certainly won't teach listeners much about rhyming, but Young Jeezy's straightforward method of playing to the market may be an even better lesson for hustlers than the actual stories of the trap he tells.