Album: It's tha World 
Label: Def Jam, Corporate Thugz
Producer: DJ Mustard

Jeezy has spent the last few years trying to catch up to hip-hop's evolving zeitgeist, so it was a relief to see him take a bold step forward on "R.I.P.," a collaboration with hip-hop's next super producer, DJ Mustard. It's a textbook example of the so-called "ratchet" music that Mustard has branded over the last few years, and Jeezy deserves credit for hopping on the trend earlier than most non-Cali rappers. While Mustard is an L.A. native, "R.I.P." betrays his obvious Bay Area influences—the bulbous bassline and electric handclaps are straight from Too $hort's classic mob music, while the simple, repetitive hook and shouting sample hark back to the hyphy movement. Derivative or not, Mustard's sound has a new momentum that can't be stopped.

Jeezy sounds like he's having fun, bragging in reverse by rapping from the perspective of his sour-face haters: "Who the nigga think he is, Slick Rick or Dana Dane?/Think he Rakim or something, look at his chain." Most notably, he manages to avoid getting murdered on his own shit by 2 Chainz (as was the case on the pair's last duet, "Super Freak.) No small feat when you have to compete with a knockout one-liner like "Attached to your girl like a JPEG."

But really, this song is all about the hook, creeping up on you with the low-key chant "r.i.p....r.i.p....r.i.p...r.i.p." before smacking you in the face with "R-I-P WE JUST KILLED THE CLUB!/TOOK PATRON TO THE HEAD, ALMOST KILLED A THUG!" Between signing L.A.'s new star YG, aligning with Roc Nation, and showing new signs of life on "R.I.P.," Jeezy could very well have the game in a body bag in 2014. —Brendan Frederick