Though not the holiest of QS holidays that July 26th is, this week marked half-a-decade since the release of Young Jeezy’s The Recession, the record that more or less soundtracked the lead-up to Barack Obama’s election (and also predicted it two months ahead of time #natesilverofthestreets.)
Unbeknownst to much of the American public, Young Jeezy was the President of the United States from 2004 to 2008. The Recession was his going away gift to America, and a passing of the torch to a more visible and official black president.
It was also his last *great* record, as he has since been more comfortable making uncharacteristic loverman raps and Bay Area-inspired club homicides (although he does make an occasional foray back into politics.) Following a summer of bank failures and mixtapes marred by awful drops, The Recession gave us more of a reason to feel hope than the to-be-elected president did. The social content implied by the title and video for its lead single flew out the door by the time he said “I want a new Bentley, my auntie need a kidney,” but nobody wanted to hear Jeezy get on some Immortal Technique nonsense anyway. There was a slight pinch of desperation to his standard demands that you get off the couch and sell coke, adding to the urgency of America’s plight at that point in time, even if it required appropriation into legal avenues. Michael Phelps got it as he swam to record numbers of goal medals, so everyone else had no excuse.
If you could re-score the events of late-2008 all over again, there really was no better record to play alongside intangible promises of “hope” than The Recession. “Put On” exemplified this, as it sounded like the end of the world, despite the fact that it addressed topics unrelated to the actual recession. Soon after, we found it necessary to restructure Jake Johnson’s Mind Field part, which emerged from the 2008 debris as the first great video part of the Obama presidency, alongside a more timely tune. (Sure, that “My Girls” song probably meant something to you if you wore sweaters with holes in them to Lit Wednesdays in 2009, but remains utterly meaningless around these parts.)
Here are some other people that get it (yes, that includes Sheckler):