Jeezy released Church in These Streets November 13th 2015. Tonight at the Hawks game, he definitely shut the city down and performed some of his tracks during the Hawks game half time performance. In his latest venture, Jeezy is a preacher, the wise, older veteran of an Atlanta rap scene that is currently worlds away from his grim motivational semina Church in These Streets doesn’t completely deliver on its compelling premise—a “reborn” Jeezy, half-conscious but still the self-proclaimed “God in these streets.” There are some moments that strike this note, especially the spoken-word interludes that broadly touch on social issues like privatized prisons, police brutality, and even the toll of drug dealing on the lives of the hustlers and the buyers (especially striking on a record with a song called “Hustlaz Holiday”). But they do just feel like moments, a snapshot of a project Jeezy is unable to make.
After a few years of toiling in major-label purgatory, Jeezy’s new persona (and it is a “persona,” not a guiding aesthetic principle) is good for a few effective, if perhaps obvious, metaphors and symbols. The song titles, just like the album title, give it all away: “Lost Souls”, “Holy Water”, “God”, “Forgive Me”. He deserves credit for turning a new album around in just a year that’s influenced by his feelings and thoughts on the current political climate, but it feels workmanlike and too deliberate to hold weight. It is conspicuously light on guests, probably by design, but Jeezy’s voice can wear during sustained listens, and when Janelle Monáe shows up on the light, totally un-Jeezy-like single “Sweet Life”, she’s anonymous. Tonight Hip Hop Weekly cameras spotted, The Dream, Two Chainz, Tony Vick, DJ Baby You, and Bankroll, in the crowds. Congrats to our Hawks final score, 106-100 ! Pics and video by Briana Crudup