When Trap or Die 3 dropped on Friday (October 28), many fans were split on how to receive it. Some were happy to hear Jeezy return to the grit of the first TD, when he still employed the "Young" in front of his name. Others were conflicted: Do you root for Jeezy because he’s pulled off another installment of his coke [rap]-encrusted, tough guy Trap or Die series? Or is there a stigma that comes with being miles (and millions) away from the original that debuted 11 years ago? Dropping an album titled Trap or Die after releasing Church in These Streets a year ago is Jeezy’s prerogative — tricky to navigate — but his all the same.
So on Saturday afternoon when the head of CTE came home to Atlanta after visiting ESPN and Larry King throughout the week, his approach was notably different from what it’s been in years. His team had arranged a “secret” show in the city’s Edgewood district, one of the newly hip, increasingly gentrified neighborhoods of downtown.
Hot 107.9, a local station, hosted the event. The doors opened at 4 p.m. By 5:30, the Music Room venue was just over half full. The host excitedly told the crowd that although this show had reserved lists, those would be opened up for the public and we ought to post about where the show was on social media. Things are different in 2016.
Many attendees looked the part of day one fans. There were no apparent college students in attendance, although every other evening, the Edgewood district belongs to them, particularly because it’s smack dab on the edge of Georgia State’s campus. No. Everyone at the Music Room for Jeezy looked like 2005. There were oversized jerseys, baggy cargos, shades in the dim haze of the tiny space. Many of the women dressed in body-conscious dresses and heels. When the DJ ran through tracks before Jeezy’s arrival, people didn’t get live until Crime Mob and Yola Da Great boomed from the speakers. Both acts caught their shine around 2005.
At 6:15, Jeezy walked through the crowd, directly to the stage and lunged into “G-Wagon,” “It Is What It Is,” and “Goldmine.”
Every camera and phone went up to capture the rapper as he performed, pacing the stage in a graphic black and white tee and matching bandanna — tied up in the same way it was back in ‘05. “Just know that y’all the first ones to hear this sh-t since I wrote it...” he said of TD3. “Everybody that’s bought any one of my albums, I’m riding for y’all like you ride for me.”
There was a woman in the back of the venue who had found the sole barstool in the building. She’d plopped down and begun to wobble around to “Going Crazy.” She waved her arms above her head, showing her enthusiasm even while seated. But Jeezy was moving quickly and jumped into fan favorite, “Let Em Know.” The men in the building hollered part of the hook with glee, “Sometimes you gotta f-ck a n-gga ho, dog...” Jeezy smiled broadly, pleased with the effect.
The TD3 mini-set ended with “All There,” his collaborative effort with the late Bankroll Fresh. D Rich, producer of the track and one of Fresh’s longtime friends, was front and center onstage while TD3 bandanas flashed back and forth behind him.
“What kinda muthaf-cker would I be if I did Trap or Die 3 and nothing from Trap or Die 1?," Jeezy prodded before leaping into “Air Forces,” “Standing Ovation,” “Trap Star,” and “Get Ya Mind Right.” The only one of the aforementioned that was actually on the first Trap or Die was the latter. No one seemed to mind. Instead they jumped, danced with girlfriends, pulled out their phones, and screamed the lyrics along with the rapper. There is a micro-niche that he clearly fills, and some day one fans are happy to have him there.
Welcome back, Jeezy.