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Young Jeezy: Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition

Def Jam

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Like Sir Lucious before it, the elusive TM103 arrives following a protracted delay and vague assertions of impending greatness. Unlike Big Boi's fresh-faced opus, though, Jeezy's feels like a swan song, a stubborn attempt to hang on. TM103 is curiously back-loaded; though the front end features bright spots courtesy relative Atlanta newcomers Future and 2 Chainz, most standout tracks appear on the B-side, including the long-since-leaked "I Do," featuring Jay-Z and Andre 3K, and requisite sad thug ballad "F.A.M.E." TM103 sorely misses Shawty Redd's suffocating production, which in the past has abetted Jeezy at his most incisive. Its absence illumines the flaws in Jeezy's flow and renders its subject matter more tedious. But tracks like the Lil' Lody-helmed "O.J.," with its killer chorus and wholly welcomed Fabolous guest spot, offer interesting glimpses of a potentially mellower future for the onetime coke king. Still, TM103 is solid, a good album if not the masterpiece we were promised. (3 out of 5 stars)

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