Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101

Artist: Young JeezyTitle: Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Houston Williams

T.I. maybe the King of the South, but Young Jeezy is the street-appointed King of “The Trap” and after much urban lore the street hustler releases his debut, Thug Motivation 101 (Corporate Thugz/Def Jam). With the streets in the palm of his hand like weight, can the Snowman keep hot or does he melt in the commercial limelight?

The self-proclaimed modern day “Ice Cube” has already managed to differentiate himself from his Boyz N Da Hood cohorts (they don’t appear on the album). Songs like “Gangsta,” “That’s How Ya Feel,” “Get Ya Mind Right,” and “Trap or Die” cover similar ground and easily establishes Jeezy as the Trapper of theYear with lurid street tales of drug deals, hustling and the struggle in intimate detail. With haunting keyboard-driven beats, the Atlanta resident excels at crafting an ageless soundtrack for those in that life or those that merely fantasize about it. He’s comfortable in the world as he is a product of it.

With Jeezy nipping on their heels, both T.I. and Lil' Scrappy bring their A-game to “Bang,” which takes the listener on a cruise through the back of the hood. Mannie Fresh offers his share of bass and distinctive drum programming on "And Then What," the albums first single. While Akon’s crooning is like nails on a chalkboard to this writer, the singer sets a platform for Jeezy to reflect on the pain and strife not normally associated with trap life. Incidentally, Akon produced the song, which is expected to be the second single.

Not limited only to braggadocios verses, Jeezy takes a few songs to lend variety to Thug Motivation 101. “Let’s Get It/ Sky’s The Limit” seems like a prelude to the rapper’s upcoming motivational book. “The World is yours and everything in it/ it’s out there, get on your grind and get it…you can do anything you put your mind to…,” he says borrowing from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.” “Tear It Up” is the obligatory thug love song where Jeezy affectionately says to the ladies, “he can make love to ya – I’ma beat it up.” The song is like a blonde Swiss girl walking the back hoods of Atlanta – out of place.

On “Trap Star,” Jeezy proclaims, “No punchline, no riddles”, so those fond of lyric heavy rhymes or clever phrases may want to look past Young Jeezy. Also, the album is set back by its lengthy 19 tracks, which is nearly a double album. In the club, Jeezy will reign, but with Thug Motivation clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, some might get tired of dancing. If the album was scaled back to about 15 songs, Def Jam would have had a certified classic across the continental United States – not only the South. However, these retardations are easily overlooked with Jeezy’s presence, swagger, ad libs, style, and understated lyricism.

The federal government might be watching, as Jeezy has rhymed, but his visibility shows no signs of diminishing. Thug Motivation 101 is a confirmation that Young Jeezy is the man at the moment, but if he seeks longevity, he’ll need to dig a bit deeper into his persona on his next album. However, right now, his block busting beats and unusual ability to captivate are an indicator the hood won’t soon escape his clutches.