The fundamental dilemma that street rappers have always faced and will always face is that success in their field means moving further from the source material that made their careers possible. Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy has managed to mostly sidestep this problem, but during the three years between 2008’s “The Recession” and the December release of “TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition,” there were rumblings that Jeezy had lost his spot as the voice of the everyday man on the street — or the corner.
At the Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday night, however, as Jeezy kicked off his Hustlerz Ambition tour, he seemed as relevant, and as beloved, as ever.
In little more than an hour, the rapper managed to rasp his way through most of his big hits, including “Soul Survivor,” “Trap Star,” “Go Getta,” “I Luv It” and other singles from 2005’s “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101,” 2006’s “The Inspiration,” “The Recession” and a slew of mix tapes.
“TM:103” is the third and final installment in Jeezy’s “Thug Motivation” series, and he did most of his talking before and after the new tracks, reassuring fans that, six years removed from “Thug Motivation 101,” he’s still tuned into their lives.
“I stand on this stage before you because, at the end of the day, we’re cut from the same cloth,” he said.
The material from “TM:103” held true to that, with Jeezy rhyming about haters (“Nothing”), varying levels of romance, from the sweet Lenny Williams-sampled “I Do” to the nasty “All We Do,” and other issues. Even when he spoke of his rap star wealth, as on “Everythang,” it was with awe, not arrogance.
He ended with “TM:103” single “Supafreak,” a D. Rich-produced track. And then a final positive note: “I know you had a good time,” he said to the crowd, “But I hope you got some motivation!”
Godfrey is a freelance writer.