Yung Joc

New Joc City

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As a longtime member of Atlanta's hip-hop community, Yung Joc watched his neighbor Young Jeezy blow up while he waited on the sidelines. Bad Boy South CEO Diddy watched from a different angle since his label was home to Jeezy's first group, Boyz N da Hood, and yet he lost the boy to Def Jam. There's no doubt Jeezy's style and success were major influences on Joc's Bad Boy South debut, New Joc City. Those influences are audible, and the parts of the album that don't sound like Jeezy's breakthrough, Let's Get It, sound a heck a lot like another Atlanta hit, T.I.'s King. Put the Bad Boy polish to the two albums and you're close to New Joc City, although the club tracks here are much more hooky, pleasingly more slick. "It's Goin' Down" with Nitti is the key track, a simple, familiar-sounding bit of Southern weekend music that withstands numerous replays. The rowdy "Do Ya Bad" and "I Know You See It" are more of the same, while "Hear Me Coming" goes in a different direction and borrows G-Unit's attitude and production style. Joc's skills are solid enough in these safe and tested surroundings, but he's less convincing when delivering a swaggering ballad or attempting Jeezy-type storytelling, like on "Dope Boy Magic." He doesn't sound comfortable with all these concessions to what's hot, and the album as a whole suffers from an identity crisis. With plenty of hooks and great beats, it's a solid album for Bad Boy South, but here's hoping Joc brings his own style next time.

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