This album is a modern-day classic.
It’s not spectacular lyrically but who says that’s part of the criteria for a classic album, especially in today’s time?
The album is banging. You could play it straight-through. There isn’t a skippable track on here. Each song has something about it that makes you not skip it.
From the start with “Thug Motivation 101” to the end with “Air Forces,” you are taken on a tour of the trap. Jeezy’s raps are something like stories of the game, and he simply wanted to share them with the listener.
“Thug Motivation 101” is one hundred percent pure.
It’s fucking dope. Anything else would be disrespectful.
Shawty Redd provided the perfect beat as a platform for Jeezy to preach his motivation. The beat should draw you in, but the lyrics, the lyrics should speak to you. By the end of those three minutes, you should be motivated. Hell, you might even contemplated quitting your job and flipping something.
That last line can summarize this album.
After listening, you will want to start selling drugs. I mean, you won’t actually do it but the idea will be stuck in your head that you too could be like Jeezy was. You’ll feel like you could do anything after hearing Jeezy rap about it. It’s like Jeezy gave us the manual in the shape of this album, and by listening, we know everything we need to know to become a key player in cocaine world. It’s farfetched, I know, but that’s how powerful this album is.
If I had to choose one song to be my theme song, “Thug Motivation 101” would be on my short list of songs to pick. I get hyped up. Immediately, I forget the world for those three minutes and pretend I’m a big shot. It truly is (thug) motivation.
The rest of the album is just as good as the first song.
“Standing Ovation” and “Gangsta Music” provide a good follow-up to the opening track.
Pick any song whether it’s “Don’t Get Caught,” “Bottom of the Map,” “Talk to ‘em,” “Tear It Up,” “My Hood,” “Last of a Dying Breed,” “Bang” etc. They are all dope. If it’s not a dope beat, it’s the lyrical content. If it’s neither of those, is something else. But every song has something about it.
The album is too good that I forgave Jeezy for misspelling trap star on “Trap Star.” Listen to the hook, he forgets to mention the second “a” when he starts spelling it out. That was a huge mistake but it gets overlooked because he provided us with a great album.
I wasn’t a fan of the single “And Then What.”
For years, I would always skip over the song. I never saw what others did in that song. It took me until recently to realize, it was a cool song. It was perfect for what it was: an introduction to Jeezy, the hustler.
The album was nuts, and it had a bigger impact than just musically.
Back in 2005, snowman shirts were popping up everywhere, in mom and pop’s shops and other small stores in ‘hoods everywhere. Each snowman was different than the next but the same message was behind it. It was an ode to Jeezy. They got so popular that the police started investigating and eventually banned the selling of them.
Some of the album’s legacy should be credited to the ad-lips Jeezy perfected and made unforgettable. It was hard not to join in in the reciting of “yeaaaaahhhh” or “ha-ha” or “thaaaat’s riiiiigghhht.” You weren’t human if you didn’t join in. Plus, the album’s quotables, they are everywhere. Each song has a line that is memorable. Here are some examples:
- I’m your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, I’m your favorite trapper’s favorite trapper
- I see opportunity, I’m an opportunist, N—a ya heard what I said, I’m an opportunist
- I’m emotional I hug the block, I’m emotional I love my glock
Jeezy hit it out the park with this album. It reached levels even he couldn’t imagine it’d reached. It made it to a dude in California like myself who never would’ve gave the album a chance. His reach was incredible. What he thought was only meant for a specific group of people, was heard by a wide range of the population, who feel in love with his music and him—like I did.
Ten years later, I still fuck with Jeezy. Dude has given rap so much music that its hard to keep up. But one thing for sure, he delivered a masterful album at a time when rap was evolving.
Jeezy gave us the option: either trap or die!
Thankfully everyone choose to trap.