The posters plastered on the walls outside my apartment proclaim that U.S.D.A. (no, not the department of agriculture, the United Streets Dopeboyz of America) is “America’s Worst Nightmare.” Nightmare might be going a little far. If their album, Cold Summer: The Authentic Mixtape, sells half as well as Jeezy’s Thug Motivation they’ll be more like Def Jam’s dream, a group that appeals to the streets and suburban kids looking to piss off their parents. That kind of crossover appeal is the not-so-secret formula to rap riches and believe me U.S.D.A. knows it. U.S.D.A. is lead …
DJBooth Album Review
U.S.D.A. is lead by trap star extraordinaire Young Jeezy, who brings in Slick Pulla and Blood Raw to complete the trio. The group suffers from an advanced case of St. Lunatic’s Syndrome, without Jeezy’s endorsement they wouldn’t be on a major label. Slick Pulla sounds like Jeezy with his slow pronounced flow and straightforward lyrics (I don’t think there’s a metaphor on the album) and Blood Raw sounds like…well…a higher pitched version of Jeezy. Pulla and Raw certainly don’t do enough to distinguish themselves; they’re all basically the same rapper, except the Snowman’s got a rawer voice and more swagger. Cold Summer doesn’t feel like a group album, it’s more like a Jeezy mixtape that happens to have two guys who rhyme on every track.
There’s a lot of hip-hop heads ready to bash anything coming from Jeezy, I’m not one of them. If you’ve already decided you hate trap music you’re going to hate this album. But if you’re a fan of stuttering drum lines, blasting sythn sections and dopeboy anthem choruses, even if it’s only a guilty pleasure, than Cold Summer delivers.
The track Check is a full blown trap anthem complete with a head-nodding beat, a middle-finger up swagger, and plenty of rubber bands. Check’s the reason they make sound systems you can hear from a block away. The lead single White Girl dropped with no small amount of controversy (would there have been protests if it was called Black Girl and about crack?), but once you get past the hype it’s actually a decent song. The pace is perfectly slow for the Snowman, Slick Pulla puts down a tight verse, and the hook will lodge in your brain like a slug. If you didn’t get down with the original Go Getta than you’re so bitter it’s hopeless. The remix isn’t quite as good as the original, when is it, but Bun B and Jadakiss certainly hold it down. Dopeboys rejoice, Jeezy’s delivered a package.
Unfortunately U.S.D.A. also provides plenty of ammo for their critics. A few tracks on Cold Summer are embarrassingly bad, and it can’t be a coincidence the worst all involve women. You can guess what Quickie and Throw This Money is about, freaks and strippers. For songs like this to work you’ve got to have some humor, no one does it better than Luda, but U.S.D.A.’s incapable of anything less than dead-on seriousness. On the chorus of Quickie Jeezy calls his hook up and says, “I’m on that Grey Goose, a little Red Bull, you know how I’m feelin tonight,” would that line even work on a groupie? The track Pam has a quieter beat and introspective harmony that at first sounds like it could be Jeezy’s version of Brenda’s Got A Baby, nope. Pam’s a freak and she likes it from the back. Not everyone has to be Talib Kweli, but bad is bad. If these tracks didn’t have Jeezy’s name attached they’d have a hard time making it out of the studio.
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t break down Cold Summer, but in the end it comes down to a very simple equation: if Thug Motivation’s playing in your stereo right now go buy it, if you’re not a Young Jeezy fan don’t. The only mystery here is how long it will take before teachers figure out what U.S.D.A. stands for and starts banning their t-shirts.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 05/28/07
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Check ft. Young Jeezy" (2007)
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