Young Jeezy Presents U.S.D.A.: Cold Summer

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Less than six months after Young Jeezy released The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102 he returned as part of the crew U.S.D.A. (United Streets Dopeboys of America), featuring longtime friends Blood Raw and Slick Pulla. On their full-length debut, there's a natural chemistry that makes the tired topics sound a lot more alive than they should. It's a good thing, too, since cocaine pushing, thug life, gunning for number one, and partying on the weekend are all topics Jeezy's covered before and with much better production. Still, the hooks are here -- strong as ever -- and the production downgrade is all part of Cold Summer's decided effort to connect with the streets. Reliable folks like Drumma Boy and Midnight Black provide 808-based trunk rumblers that almost warrant the "mixtape" subtitle, although it should be noted that there are no freestyles, jacked beats, or typical mixtape flow. Cold Summer sounds more like it should be sold in indie circles rather than underground circles, minus a couple tracks that come gift-wrapped for clubs and radio. Calling cocaine "White Girl" and building a song on it is nothing new and yet the single remains fresh, while the aggressive "Check" lives up to anything on either volume of Jeezy's Thug Motivation. Speaking of which, "Go Getta" from Thug Motivation 102 reappears here in a remix with Jadakiss and Bun B slapped on. That rounds out the must-have tracks, since the rest of Cold Summer is B-list without ever dropping down to C. While few listeners will mind, the album's biggest problem seems to be launching Blood Raw and Slick Pulla, since the two never get their proper showcase. They do, however, stand up just fine next to the talented Jeezy, who remains exciting even when he's just making records instead of making history.

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