Jeezy's approach on his seventh Def Jam album is signaled clearly by its cover and title. As ever, there's nothing seasonal about this snowman -- like the rapper proclaimed on previous album Church in These Streets, hustling is year-round, nonstop business -- and the first two volumes of Trap or Die were mixtapes served to the streets. Volume three, released six years after the first sequel, seems to carry the weight of a proper studio recording, not a mixtape, though Jeezy said "It ain't an album, it's a way of life." This way of life is loud at almost any volume, seemingly designed to sound imposing in every setting. Little sermonizing is involved, his pulpit evidently converted to a pallet for transporting product as he threatens and gloats. Three cuts produced by old associate Shawty Redd loom particularly large. Over bulky drums and baleful strings, Jeezy's gruff-as-ever voice is often layered, making it easy to picture his competitors looking up at him from the ground, stupefied, receiving a beat down with triple vision. The other tracks -- seven from D Rich, one or two each from a short roster that includes Mike WiLL Made It -- tend to be equally or only slightly less brutal in tone. Jeezy doesn't say much that deviates from previous ice-veined rhymes, but he attacks just about every track with intense focus and ferocity. Stern support from the slain Bankroll Fresh excepted, the guest appearances are extraneous.
Trap or Die 3 Review
by Andy Kellman