On “Beez Like,” one of the best tracks on Jeezy’s fifth studio effort, the veteran MC reflects on his identification with young hustlers struggling to survive on the streets. Unfortunately, Jeezy actually sounds disconnected from the economic despair and violence now plaguing urban America. There’s no attempt to dig deeper, to explore the ways that what he’s seen is somehow relevant. “Beautiful” finds the rapper — arrested last week on a gun charge — indulging with the Game and Rick Ross in a disappointingly tone-deaf orgy of conspicuous consumption. The title track, which features Jay Z, recycles hustling tales, with Jay Z gratuitously referencing his basketball team ownership once again. Backed by mostly familiar trap music production, Jeezy is steady (“Been Getting Money” is especially fine), but hardly inspired. For an apparently autobiographical work, the songs are about as revealing as a Hazmat suit. The MC is older, perhaps wiser, yet apart from the 90-second “Win Is a Win,” true introspection proves elusive. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Beez Like”
Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.