Plenty of rappers extol the pleasures and bemoan the pain of selling cocaine, but few rappers exude Young Jeezy's childlike joy. For a rapper whose mascot is an angry snowman, Atlanta superstar Jeezy is almost comically exuberant about every facet of peddling narcotics. He's gotten far on enthusiasm alone: His subject matter is relentlessly monomaniacal, seldom straying from the fundamentals of selling cocaine and bragging about the neat stuff he bought with the proceeds. Jeezy should have worn out his welcome a long time ago, but he's learned to make a little go a very long way.
His third solo album, The Recession, picks up where his previous discs left off, with Jeezy rapping over big, dramatic synthesizer beats and acting as his own endlessly supportive hypeman. Jeezy double-tracks ad-libs and hyper-caffeinated overdubs so he can laugh at his own punchlines, cheer himself on, and act altogether impressed with metaphors like "Like a crippled mayne / you can catch me with that 'caine." Yes, Jeezy is his own biggest fan, but his outsized swagger is addictive. He's found a style that works, and he's riding it as far as it'll go. The few curveballs come from guests: Kanye West gets crazy with the Auto-Tune crooning on "Put On" (et tu, Kanyeezy?), and Nas shows up to propose putting Barack Obama on the $5,000 bill on the uncharacteristically political "My President." Recession is silly, repetitive, and wildly unoriginal. Yet thanks to Jeezy's razor-blade rasp and goofy charisma, it's also strangely infectious.