YOUNG JEEZY & r & & r & The Recession & r & & r & 1-1/2 STARS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & Y & lt;/span & oung Jeezy means well. Problem is homeboy's a bit confused when it comes to the title of his album. The economy may well be approaching perilous territory, but it is Jeezy's own skills that are really in a state of recession.
Unlike fellow Southerner Lil Wayne, Jeezy's rhymes demonstrate little creativity, instead merely serving as opportunities for self-centeredness and self-celebration. His album fails, though, because of his remarkably incompetent attempts to address political issues. "My president is black," he tells us in the song of the same name -- even though months earlier he voiced support for Senator John McCain. Then Jeezy gets silly, proceeding to rap about his Lamborghini, his blue rims, his Jordans and cocaine. In the same verse.
Oh, yeah, he repeatedly flaunts his wealth (the Lambo, the rims), too -- in an album dedicated to a stalling economy. But hey, Jeezy means well. Right?
-- TIM BROSS
DOWNLOAD: "Put on (Feat. Kanye West)"
LL COOL J
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & B & lt;/span & ack when LL Cool J dropped Mama Said Knock You Out, there was a Bush in office and a war in the Middle East and -- wouldn't you know? It was 1990. But after all those years, you still can't knock LL Cool J's hustle, even at the ripe age of 40. Exit 13, the final album of Cool's baker's dozen with Def Jam, is a banging bundle of hip-hop -- a redeeming effort for a man whose last project, Todd Smith, flopped.
Though the record's first single, "Rocking with G.O.A.T," flew under the radar, "Baby," featuring the Dream, will soon be a club favorite. Cool even includes the Northwest on Exit, reminding us that he said he would "blow like Mount St. Helen's" in "Old School New School."
With its 19 tracks, Exit could have pulled over a bit earlier -- there's some fluff -- but it's a worthy listen. And it's a fitting way for LL Cool J to end his two-decade-long relationship with Def Jam.
-- TIM BROSS
DOWNLOAD: "Old School New School"