2005: Young Jeezy - Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101

Young Jeezy’s Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 turned a decade old in July. The seminal work for the Atlanta rapper was honored with a sold-out anniversary concert and critic re-praise, forums reopened debates of its importance, and the aura of 2005 crept back in the room it built. If you were near a radio 10 years ago, you heard “Soul Survivor,” and you recognized the raspy drawl. It was familiar in that it was unmistakably coming out of Atlanta, a city that was becoming rap’s epicenter more and more by the week. While describing Atlanta’s increasing dominance in an excellent write-up of Jeezy’s anniversary show, Rembret Brown points out that Atlanta artists held the top spot of Billboard Hot 100 for 42 of 52 weeks, a trend that abruptly ended in 2005 and left a mega-hit void brought on by Outkast, Usher, and Ludacris in years past.

Enter TM101.

A clear cut through the stale fog crunk left on Atlanta’s charts was a narrative used by UGK, 8 Ball & MJG, and, for Atlanta, Dungeon Family, and a sound structured two years prior on T.I.’s Trap Muzik. Jeezy pulled a three-way combo, with a trap narrative, Shawty Redd’s now-signature trap sound, and a city-first, us-over-everyone attitude that Atlanta thrives on (cc: Freaknik). But TM101’s colossal boast is its replay value. 2005 saw 50 Cent’s The Massacre earn Billboard’s best-selling album, Urban Legend and Who Is Mike Jones? were 39 and 40 respectively, while Jeezy clocked in at 55. I spent the second half of 2005 riding around in my buddy’s rundown 92 Chevy listening to TM101 over and over and have spent hours revisiting it since. The Massacre fell off and took 50 with it. Urban Legend continued T.I.’s shoot-for-the-singles style in the best way, and Who Is Mike Jones? – a very underrated album – rose to #40 on the charts on the back of “Still Tippin’.” But both pale by comparison. It’s insane: post-Cash Money Mannie Fresh, early solo Bun B, T.I. and Lil’ Scrappy on a Jazzy Pha beat, still shining from Black Album Jay Z, Akon’s first major feature. Then Jeezy’s solo efforts like “My Hood,” “Bottom of the Map,” “Air Forces,” “Trap Star,” “Let’s Get It/Sky’s The Limit” — every song needs its own space. Listening to Let’s Get It: Thug Motiviation 101 isn’t nostalgic. There’s a timeless quality to the project, one that keeps its influence from fading and each play as absorbed as the last.

DeLorean

There’s a lot of good music out there, and it’s not all being released this year. With DeLorean, we aim to rediscover overlooked artists and genres, to listen to music historically and contextually, to underscore the fluidity of music. While we will cover reissues here, our focus will be on music that’s not being pushed by a PR firm.

Most Read