DAR Hip Hop: Young Jeezy's Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101

By @TrueGodImmortal

1. Thug Motivation 101
2. Standing Ovation
3. Gangsta Music 
4. Let's Get It/Sky's The Limit 
5. And Then What 
6. Go Crazy
7. Last Of A Dying Breed
8. My Hood 
9. Bottom of The Map 
10. Get Ya Mind Right 
11. Trap Star 
12. Bang
13. Don't Get Caught 
14. Soul Survivor 
15. Trap Or Die 
16. Tear It Up
17. That's How Ya Feel 
18. Talk To Em 
19. Air Forces

I remember 2005 so vividly. For me personally, 2005 was one of those years that stuck out and forever live on in my mind, especially the summer. The outpouring of Snowman T-shirts, the over exaggerated adlibs, the catchy anthems, it all seems like yesterday when Young Jeezy made his official mainstream debut. Jeezy had been around for a few years musically, but after signing to Def Jam, he would be in the driver's seat as the next artist up. With a trap sensibility in his music, extremely infectious hooks, and each verse full of quotable lines (for better or worse), Jeezy would present his debut solo album "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101" on July 26, 2005. The album itself is considered a classic, not for its cohesion or lyrical depth, but rather for impact and its legacy as a seminal release during a tradition era of sorts in hip hop music. Jeezy was not a lyricist, hell he didn't even like being called a rapper. He was a trapper that just happened to rap, at least that's one of the ways he tried to explained it.

So, when the album arrived, no one knew what to expect, but we were certainly pleasantly surprised. The opening intro is full of quotable lines, and though Jeezy doesn't flow like your regular MC or even rhyme like one, his wit and comedic timing managed to make every line strike you. The first verse is one of his most iconic verses ever, just take a look at his reality rap lyricism and understand why:

"I used to hit the kitchen lights, cockroaches everywhere/
Hit the kitchen lights, now it's marble floors everywhere/
Call the carpenter, the roof on the coupe's gone/
Give a fuck what he sold, I'm the truth, homes/"

"Baby need shoes, partner need bail money/
Blood hound for the bread, I just smell money/
You niggas just write, I recollect/
Hands on, Jeezy really counted them checks/
I'm Donald Trump in a white tee and white ones/
The conversation is money nigga, you want some?/"

You gotta believe. Moving on, Jeezy hits us with the solid "Standing Ovation", where he coined the line that remains in our heads forever:

"Now I'm ya favorite rapper's favorite rapper/
Now I'm ya favorite trapper's favorite trapper/"

The song itself is a dope anthem, which is what this album is honestly full of. Anthems for the trap and the street. Jeezy keeps the vibe flowing with the booming "Gangsta Music", as Shawty Redd provides him with a resounding instrumental, that leads the way for Jeezy to spit his brand of trap gospel backed by his signature adlibs. The adlibs from Jeezy were always his strong suit during this time and were almost more memorable than his actual verses. The first three songs of the album are full of them, and they work well. Midnight Black provides the score for the "Let's Get It/Sky's The Limit" track before we arrive at the mega single from the album "And Then What", produced by and featuring Mannie Fresh.

I remember my first time hearing the track, I laughed a bit to myself based on the "boom boom clap" beginning, but I wasn't ready for what would honestly follow. Jeezy and Fresh craft an amazing hook, but Jeezy kicks off his verses with hilarity and entertaining lyrics, like the opening of his first:

"Patty cake, patty cake microwave/
Circles make a square, god damn I'm paid/
I'm so cool but I'm so hot/
And I'm so fly and you, ya so not/
Show me what you working with, just like that/
Turn around, bend over, bring it back/
Snowman and Mannie Fresh bring it back/
So Mannie Fresh and Snowman, it's a wrap/
Strapped up in the club, yeah I'm so crazy/ 
These other rappers actors like Patrick Swayze/"

And his second verse begins infamously:

"I see you looking (Ha Ha), with ya looking ass/
Catch Snowman in the kitchen with his cooking ass/
I'm so clean, but I'm so grimey/
I'm So dirty, but yet I'm so shiny/"

How can you hate this? While it's not lyrically sound, it's just entertaining music, and Jeezy has never called himself or positioned himself as the best rapper. He just made music for the streets and used his wit and real life tales to fuel it. Now, to be completely honest, my all time favorite Jeezy song is the next one, as another huge single from the album "Go Crazy" is flawless. The production from Don Cannon is amazing and Jeezy does his best to keep the pace with the beat and raps some catchy lines along with the hugely infectious hook. That was always Jeezy's strong suit, his hooks and catchy lines. I've always felt the tracks like "Last Of A Dying Breed", "My Hood", and the street hit "Bottom Of the Map" all flowed together very well, but pale in comparison to the rest of the album.

However, when we get beyond the halfway point of the album, we get a classic moment and track from Jeezy with the anthem "Get Ya Mind Right" and his opening lines are once again iconic:

"I'm the realest nigga in it, you already know/
Got trapper of the year four times in a row/ (what they give you?)
A lifetime supply of baking soda clientele/
A rollie watch, two pots and three scales/"

If nothing else, Jeezy definitely knew how to start off a song with memorable lines. I think the "Trap Star" song is a bit weak, and probably my least favorite on the entire album. However, the Lil Scrappy and T.I. assisted "Bang" picks the pace right back up, as they flow together well and I think Jeezy steals the show, though T.I. easily has the best verse. It's just all in the delivery of his lyrics and what he says that makes Jeezy so entertaining here. Check his lyrics:

"You better holla at ya partners/
Before we catch them outside and hit they ass wit dem choppers/
The .45 make my pants sag/
Catch me bouncing through the club wit my black flag/"

Jeezy kills it with those 4 lines, and that's what makes this song stick out. Those lines are the 4 lines that instantly comes to mind when I see that song title or someone references the song. Scrappy and T.I. have memorable lines as well, but when that song is mentioned, those four lines are what I gravitate to.

The cautionary tale of not getting caught by police follows on "Don't Get Caught", and Jeezy paints his picture pretty well. Next up, there's the huge Akon featured single "Soul Survivor", which I wasn't the biggest fan of when it first dropped, but the video and the hook makes the song a classic. Jeezy doesn't spit anything spectacular or too entertaining here, he just speaks what's real, and what he goes through and has been through. It's a look into the mind of Jeezy slightly beyond just the trap, which is something we rarely get on this album, so it is a nice slight departure.

However, the street anthem "Trap or Die" featuring Bun B and Slick Pulla brings us right back and Jeezy once again kills it with his opening lines:

"Last time I checked, I was the man on these streets
They call me residue, I leave blow on these beats/
Got diarrhea flow, now I shit on niggas/
Even when I'm constipated, I still shit on niggas/
Got some Super Friends in the Legion of Doom/
They blowing purple shit that keep me high like the moon/"

These are some of the most simple lines, but his delivery, voice, and the flow with it make it that much better. Bun B has a solid verse, and Slick Pulla..... well, Slick Pulla is on the song, I'll leave it at that. This song is a true street anthem, and one of my favorites on the album. As the album begins to wind down however, we arrive at yet another one of my favorites, the Lloyd and Slick Pulla featured "Tear It Up". The funniest part of this song to me will always be the very beginning, with the phone conversation between Jeezy and this chick, as she asks where he is, and Jeezy hastily responds with "I'm in the hood man, shit where you think I'm at", which might seem like a simple response, but the delivery of it is comedic. It's a funny introduction to a song of this nature, but it works completely.

As for the song itself, Midnight Black provides the smooth production and Lloyd starts the song off just right with his hook, and it leads right into Jeezy's hilarious verse. I might have to post the entire first verse (with adlibs), because it's one of my all time favorite Jeezy verses ever. You can see why:

"Got one baby mama, no bitch, no wife/
Like Pac, ya need a thug in your life/ (yeahhh..)
A young nigga to straight come through and beat it up/
Let ya man be the freak, he can eat it up/ (ha ha)
Shawty got that fire she ain't let me down yet/ (nope)
Got an Aquafina flow, call it wet wet/ (damnnnn)
Baby good with her mouth, says the right things/
Got a head on her shoulders, she does the right things/ (ha ha)
And She a bad bitch, ya already know/
Face like Trina, and an ass like Jacki-O/ (ohh)
Got a gangsta on a mission/ (mission)
Best believe I know all the right positions/ (that’s right....)
She like it slow from the front, fast from the back/ (back)
Put the pound game on her, hit her from the back/ (Jeahhhhh)
I’m young and thuggin, I don’t give a fuck/
He can make love to you, I'ma beat it up.../"

If I could rewind back to 2005, I remember thinking this verse was a top 10 verse of the year, and I know, lyrically it's technically terrible, but the delivery of it, and what he actually says here is so ridiculous, it works. I think everyone I knew in my old hood began quoting this particular verse, especially the "Aquafina Flow/Wet Wet" line. The 2nd verse from Jeezy is equally entertaining, and Slick Pulla actually entertains me on this track as well.

One of the last songs on here, "That's How Ya Feel" is a solid track, but not necessarily one of my favorites in general. I enjoyed it, but it's just there on the album for me. However, the next song, the 2nd to last on the album, is probably the most emotional and most in depth looking into the soul of Jeezy, backed by a Frankie Beverly and Maze sample on "Talk To Em". The production is such a departure from the trap boom heavy beats of the rest of the album, and as I stated earlier, it's always nice to see a slight departure from the norm with Jeezy and this is another one of my favorite songs on the album. Jeezy spits out his soul to his friends that have either been lost in the game (through death or jail), or lost to growing pains. It's interesting to see the man who positioned himself as the "4 Time Trapper Of The Year" in such a vulnerable state, but it's the reality of the pitfalls in hustling and the streets, something that Jeezy has made an effort to show in his music. Jeezy could romanticize the hustle and the streets often, but he also would have moments where he explained the possible setbacks ("Soul Survivor", "Talk To Em", "Don't Get Caught").

As the album closes, Jeezy finishes up with the street hit "Air Forces", but the album itself is something the likes of which we haven't seen since. Here is Jeezy, not a lyricist, not a traditional rapper, but a man speaking from the street perspective with a dash of comedic genius in it as well. He blended what he does best together to make an album that is universally seen as a classic, not because the music is necessarily flawless, but because of the movement he brought along with it. The adlibs, the T-shirts, the song titles, the slogans, the catchy hooks, the album itself, the BMF link, hell the entire package is what made Jeezy so easy to like. He was a street nigga through and through, with all the links and the ties, but he had charisma and a flare to him as well. 11 years later, Jeezy is still relevant in hip hop, and still making solid music. This was just the beginning of his journey (in terms of albums). With 2 million copies sold, and a legacy as one of the better albums of 2005, Thug Motivation 101 is a hip hop classic, like it or not. Yeahhhhhh!



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