Boyz N da Hood: Young Jeezy, Big Duke, Big Gee, Jody Breeze (rap vocals).
Additional personnel: Sean Combs (vocals); Eazy-E (rap vocals).
NYC meets the Dirty South with the four-man group Boyz N Da Hood. Signed to Bad Boy, the Atlanta collective made up of Jeezy, Jody Breeze, Big Gee, and Duke produce hip-hop that reflects both 'hoods. A certain crunk soul runs through Boyz N Da Hood's self-titled debut, combined with the radio-ready know-how for which P. Diddy's label is known. The result is a fierce, hypnotic record with the occasional wonderfully unpredictable moment
The four MC's play off each other with nearly matching voices. Their generally familiar chronicles of gangsters trying to survive the day-to-day are punctuated by sudden bursts of insight. In one of the odder and grander moments, the late Eazy-E is resurrected with the technological help of producer Erick Sermon to join the group for "Gangstas." While most of the tracks are straightforward tributes to tough street life--the anthemic "Dem Boyz," the grinding "Felonies," and the gunfire-and-screams "Lay it Down"--the Boyz N Da Hood occasionally break up the pattern, as on the pensive testimony to blues in the 'hood, "Happy Jamz."
Spin (pp.103-104) - "[With] deep-pocket samples, Southern harmony, social observations, and an unflinching amount of red-eyed trap-house talk." - Grade: B+