Day 39: "Ballin'" – Young Jeezy feat. Lil Wayne, Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition (Deluxe Edition) , 2011
Kyle: Last week when we did Wayne's freestyle over Jim Jones's "Ballin'" we were joking about how hard it was to google because this song kept coming up instead. So naturally it made sense to do a one-two punch and write about Jeezy's "Ballin'," a bonus track from the elective course in Thug Motivation Studies, 103: Hustlerz Ambition, for this week's back and forth.
It's appropriate, too, because Jeezy has a new album out today, Trap or Die 3, but I already wrote about Lil Wayne's appearance there, and we're also back full swing into basketball season, as I discussed on Wednesday. So, this song, which was obviously supposed to be the big hit because it had a superstar appearance from a newly out of prison Wayne: It became a minor hit because it was too big to fail. It's, like, reasonably amped Jeezy, but it's definitely not pick-up-a-car-and-throw-it-through-a-wall-because-you're-so-amped Jeezy, which is the Jeezy I prefer to listen to whenever possible. It feels a little like both are going through the motions, but I will say, this Wayne line is clever as hell: "They think they seeing me? They hallucinating." Trust Wayne to pull out a boast that would break both of your fave's ankles on a verse that nobody really needs to spend time talking about. But just like basketball, it's not always about the championship or the game-winning shot. The reason people love the players they love is because they watch those players make superhuman plays day in and day out for the whole regular season. You can't put every amazing thing Lebron does on Sportscenter, but that doesn't mean he's not still making the plays. Same thing with Wayne. Speaking of basketball, let's not ignore that this song's video, which came out during Freddie Gibbs's short-lived and unsuccessful CTE phase, features Freddie Gibbs crushing everyone at basketball, although, in perhaps an eerie bit of foreshadowing, on what seems to be the opposing team from Jeezy.
Lawrence: That foreshadowing would be accurate because, if you remember, on "Real," what Freddie did to Jeezy would basically be the equivalent to how DeAndre Jordan turned Brandon Knight into a poster in this video. Damn, I wish Jeezy would have responded to that.
Like you said Kyle, this song is pretty mild when you put it up to both Jeezy and Wayne's catalog, but it's far from weak. This is a standard "amped" song—you know, that kind of standard rap anthem with a million "Ooooh"s throughout the verses and hook. It's tailor made to be on a NFL Street or Madden soundtrack.
Even in a relaxed mood, Wayne outdoes Young on this one fairly easy. Where Jeezy leans on clichés like waking up to a car with the roof missing and balling just like athletes, Wayne comes in with shit like "So many cars, I'm like eeny, meeny, miney, moe / So many colors in the diamonds; kaleidoscope." To be fair, lines like that are cliches for Wayne as well, but what's standard to him would be impressive coming from most other artists. If LeBron averaged a triple double for a month, it'd be amazing, but not mindblowing. Wayne's in that territory.
While we're on the topic of basketball, Jeezy is a fan of his hometown Atlanta Hawks while Wayne roots for the Lakers, even though Kobe hung it up last season. Not for nothing, both teams will suck this year.
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