Late July, 2005. I want to say it was about the 23rd or 24th to be exact. I was pulling upon what would be my new temporary home of Atlanta, Georgia, with two very good friends of mine. Now what would happen between this day and the day I moved back to Chicago, is several crazy posts in itself, so let’s just fast forward to the music.
One of the first people I got up with, when I got to ATL was my cousin Mafi. He was giving me the rundown on where to go and not to go and how he really does like ATL and he believes I’ll really like it out here too. Then, he starts telling me about Young Jeezy and trying to go to his album release party. Me not hearing the “Trap or Die” mixtape at that time and being thoroughly unimpressed by the group “Boyz N Da Hood” my response was “Young Jeezy!?! The ni**a from the “Dem Boyz” song!?!?! I’m Super Straight on that.” He laughed at me and was like, “that junt is gon’ be packed” and of course the standard male to male persuasion to get someone to attend an event. I wasn’t sold though.
Me, I just wasn’t feeling the little bit of music I heard from him and I had no plans of thinking about even walking by the album in the store. I was waiting on that New Kanye! The next day, my cousin told me he listened to most of the album and that it was super bumpin! I didn’t believe it at all! haha! I said man, no way that album is that hot. Then he told me something, that would become so true, that I honestly owe him an apology for ever laughing at him in the first place.
He said: “Cuz! I know you don’t like wack ni**as. Shoot I don’t either!!! I can spot wack ni**a music out easily! I’m telling you though. This ni**a Young Jeezy album bumpin cuz! I promise you. He’s not the greatest rapper and you won’t be overly impressed lyrically, but it’s so many hard joints on there, that you can’t stop listening to it.”
So with that statement. I said skip it. I’ll give it an honest listen. That didn’t take long at all cause the next night, was Tuesday July 26th and I promise every stop light and even on the highway, EVERYBODY WAS PLAYING A SONG OFF THE THUG MOTIVATION 101 ALBUM! I literally couldn’t get away from it. To clarify, this wasn’t everybody playing the single. They were letting album joints ride at ignorant volumes throughout the streets of Buckhead as Vision and 112 were becoming the only place to be, because Jeezy’s album release parties were supposed to be at both places. As we hitting blocks and trying to find a place to park, I’m hearing pieces of songs like, ok. I mess with that. Damn, the beat on that joint was hard! Ok, now that’s three songs I want to hear more of. My cousin simply sat back and said “Cuz, Im telling you, his album bumping dog. I wouldn’t lie to you.” Long story short, we never made it to the door of either club because a shooting sent people running through the streets and me not knowing where I was, didn’t want to die my 3rd night in my new city so I decided to fall back from the rest of the nights activities.
The next day at work. My homey’s Bug and Deuce had the album and let it ride while we stocked shoes and got ready to open the store. To keep it real, I knew when I heard “Gangsta Music”, I was going to buy this album. It was no doubt in my mind. By the time we got to “Get Ya Mind Right”, I was checking my account and wallet to see what I had on me right then and there.
I said all that to say Young Jeezy’s TM 101 is a unquestioned classic. I’ve never seen a movement or an artist impact a city on a debut album like that ever and I doubt I ever will again. The Snowman campaign in itself was classic. Now, add that to the type of music Jeezy was putting out in a time where hip-hop was more concerned about Jay’s retirement, Kanye and Wayne and ATL becoming known for snap music on a mainstream level and I shouldn’t have to explain much else.
“Trap Music” became the style to do, the ad-lib became the focal point of a track and people purchased merchandise with a Snowman on it, in the summer. You can’t deny this album changed the game.
Favorite Tracks on the album
“Thug Motivation 101”
“Let’s Get It/Sky’s The Limit”
“Bottom of the Map”
“Get Ya Mind Right”
“Bang” (featuring T.I. & Lil Scrappy)
“Trap or Die” (featuring Bun B)
“Talk to Em”
“That’s How Ya Feel”
These are just the 11 songs I couldn’t stop playing. If this album was 6 tracks shorter, people would be easily putting it in greatest album ever conversations.
Jeezy is the reason I don’t believe rappers when they say “I got the city on lock”. I can’t even describe accurately how much ATL loves and supports Jeezy and his music. It honestly is what every artist dreams of. The city of Atlanta was electric. You could literally feel the energy of the Snowman and The Album in the people. I was only in the city a few days and felt it. Running your city, is when the city speaks for you and champions your movement. I didn’t meet 1 CTE member my whole entire time in ATL, but I knew for sure the city was Jeezy’s by word of mouth. Remember! The only major social media platform during this time was MySpace and hashtags didn’t exist.
Salute to Young Jeezy. You made me a fan through strictly grind and music.
SNOWMAN BI*CH! RESPECT IT OR CHECK IT!