"Seen It All: The Autobiography" finds the trap legend at the top of his game, comfortable with his position, and ready to finally dispense true-to-fact game.
Every meaningful artist takes a step back at some point in their career to dwell on their achievements and tribulations in an attempt to make sense of everything that’s happened. JAY Z accomplished this feat on wax with The Black Album. Kanye did the same on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, as did Nas on Life Is Good. By sheer force of will, Jeezy has risen from the streets to a veritable trap legend who helped spawn the careers of artists like Rick Ross and your run of the mill trappers. In fact, Kanye’s "Can’t Tell Me Nothing" could be owed, in part, to Jeezy’s ascendance (and his sampled signature laugh). So, though Jeezy is perhaps not as commercially successful (or marketable) as some of his contemporaries, there can be no question on his widespread influence. Looking equally in the proverbial rear view, Jeezy uses Seen It All: The Autobiography as both a reflection and as a signpost about what’s truly possible for the willing and able. He's converted his brand of cocaine rap into an inspirational tome.
“1/4 Block” starts album off on a high note, per usual with Jeezy albums, with its slow drag, heavy-weighted bass and signature ad-libs. From the first piano keys strike, he elaborates on what's required for a successful drug career, managing to flip more crack creation similes than seemingly possible. Jeezy turns up the brag rap on “What You Say,” bringing the energy down a level without losing the momentum. One of the two mini-tracks on the album, the hard-hitting “Black Eskimo” correctly states that most of the current fold of trap rappers are borne from his legacy: “You gone learn ‘bout this niggas/Loaned sperm out these niggas/What they is nigga?/My clone.” The Don Cannon and Frank Dukes production “Holy Ghost” chronicles some notable missteps and fallouts, particularly his disagreement with Freddie Gibbs. True to the title, "Holy Ghost" is an eerie and ghostly track that expresses the feeling of real loss.
A brawny lead single, the Drumma Boy-produced “Me OK” provides the album with the essential Jeezy track, packed with the typical, memorable phrase inside of the hook. The airy elements on “4 Zones” balances the rattling bass, as Jeezy delivers matter-of-fact verses, breaking down what’s possible with the minimum for maintaining your hustle. It feels like trap meets an 80's Phil Collins track. As an observation, Jeezy operates with absolutely no fluff, or wasted movement. There is nothing remotely meta, or roundabout, with any subject he touches. Even the metaphors and similes he uses are immediately understood, and hard-hitting. A Jeezy verse is an exercise in stark efficiency. August Alsina offers the perfect assist on “Fuck the World,” the compulsory trap chick dedication. “Seen It All” is honest recollection, featuring JAY Z, who has history of being a little vague with particulars, actually conveying the most specified account heard in a Carter verse.
The other short track, “Win Is A Win,” sounds borrowed from Rick Ross, but is an ideal lead into arguably the album’s best offering, the Ross and The Game backed “Beautiful.” Jeezy surprisingly comes with the top line: “Ray Charles in these Ray Bans. Why?/Touched them keys with both hands.” Continuing his comeback with a vengeance, Boosie Badazz provides an impassioned real-talk contribution on “Beez Like.” “How I Did It (Perfection)” wraps up the album, with an “Encore” like applause, and more trap braggadocio. Jeezy lets you know he’s done it and did it better than your favorite supposed former drug dealing rapper.
The lapses on the album are few, but noticeable. The positive but just tolerable “Enough” lacks the punch of the previous tracks and breaks up the forward momentum. The forced “Been Getting Money” feels like a Too Short track with a mailed-in Akon hook. Meanwhile, another quality Mike Will Made It production, the Future-featured “No Tears” serves as a potential crossover track, but there's a slight retread in quality given what has already been covered on the album.
Even the deluxe version of album breezes by without a need to skip over the somewhat questionable tracks. The weaker areas of the album are consumed whole by the heavy bang, and tight effectiveness, of the ultimately inspirational message. The success of the album can be directly attributed to reliance on his greatest talent, an overlooked skill: succinct communication of the overarching theme. Jeezy never strays away from the points of his sermon, individually or on the whole. Jeezy knows exactly who Jeezy is, and where he's come from. You believe he has “seen it all”, awarding unquestioned legitimacy to the project, as message fortification. What he lacks in lyrical skill, he makes up for in charisma and quality storytelling. Barring a magical increase in lyrical dexterity and topical diversity, this will probably be where he tops out. Seen It All: The Autobiography is Jeezy's best work since his debut and he should be afforded time to bask in the light before he moves on to bigger and better things.