As commercial rappers go, Young Jeezy and The Game don’t have much in common. Jeezy speaks in an Atlanta drawl, while The Game is a gruff son of Compton. Jeezy brags on his albums about selling cocaine; The Game waxes poetic about gang warfare. Yet with their third CDs, they share a tough choice: Switch things up or stick with the formulas that earned their previous efforts gold and platinum plaques?
It’s clear from The Recession‘s first track that Jeezy has done the former, ditching the ebullient street-capitalist persona of his first two CDs: ”It’s the recession/Everybody broke,” he gripes. A majestic wall-of-synths backdrop prevents that intro from feeling like too much of a bummer, though — a balancing act the rapper repeats throughout the album. Jeezy has assembled a politically tinged disc that will sound spectacular blasting out of dashboard speakers for the rest of the year…assuming anyone can still afford to drive a car by then.
The Game, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to have adjusted his model in the slightest. As on his first two efforts, he spends L.A.X. barking gleefully ignorant gangsta fantasies over hard-knocking drums. And while the 19-track disc could use a good trimming, The Game’s routine is just as entertaining the third time around. After all, if the real world is as dire as Jeezy says, what better time to binge on some empty-calorie thrills? B+
DOWNLOAD THIS: Listen to ”Vacation” and other tracks on the rapper’s MySPace page