Atlanta's rapper Jay "Young Jeezy" Jenkins contributed to the early evolution of trap music with a mixtape titled Trap or Die (2004), produced by Tyree "DJ Drama" Simmons, that became an instant best-seller.
He had already released
Thuggin' Under the Influence (T.U.I.). (2001)
as Lil J and Come Shop wit Me (2003),
and followed up the hit with Let's Get It - Thug Motivation 101 (2005), mostly produced by Demetrius "Shawty Redd" Stewart
(at least five jewels: Thug Motivation 101, Trap or Die, Air Forces, Gangsta Music, Bottom of the Map, and probably in reverse order),
with the notable exceptions of:
Bang, with a hard beat by Phalon "Jazze Pha" Alexander,
Standing Ovation, produced by the classically-trained Chris "Drumma Boy" Golson,
the hit Soul Survivor, a collaboration with Aliaune "Akon" Thiam,
And Then What, a synth-heavy collaboration with Byron "Mannie Fresh" Thomas (and another peak of the album),
and Go Crazy, a collaboration with Don Cannon.
The secret of his success was clearly the production.
collaborated on the single Icy (2005), produced by Xavier "Zaytoven" Dotson.
This was one of the albums that launched trap music into the mainstream,
and in the process it dumbed it down quite a bit.
At the same time he became a member of Boyz n da Hood, whose debut album
Boyz n da Hood (2005) was no less successful, but was followed by
the disposable Back Up n da Chevy (2007).
Both The Inspiration (2006) and The Recession (2008) topped the sales charts.
However, the rapping was lazy and the production was sloppy and sometimes
pointlessly cluttered, as if the albums
were hastily assembled to exploit the rapper's stardom status before it faded.
On the former, Timbaland's 3A.M. and DJ Toomp's I Got Money
are ok, but Drumma Boy's The Realest and all the Redd tracks disappoint.
The latter contains the stately orchestral
Don't Do It, produced by DJ Pain 1,
the madcap pastiche and standout Crazy World, produced by Midnight Black,
and Wordplay, produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League
(the duo of Erik "Rook" Ortiz and Kevin "Colione" Crowe, who had just produced
Mary Blige's No One Will Do).
His glorification of a glamorous lifestyle of gun violence, prostitution and drugs was getting a bit retarded and even clownish.
Meanwhile, Jeezy formed the group U.S.D.A. (United Street Dopeboyz of America) that debuted with Cold Summer (2007).
Thug Motivation 103 - Hustlerz Ambition (2011) was the last decent
album, although again full of disposable tracks and lacking any real highlight.
The rapping as usual was obscured by the beats, especially in
What I Do, produced by Drumma Boy,
SupaFreak, produced by D Rich,
Trapped, produced by J.U.ST.I.C.E. League.
He was arrested a couple of times in 2014.
Then came a rapid artistic decline:
Seen It All - The Autobiography (2014),
Trap or Die 3 (2016), another chart-topper.
TM104 The Legend of the Snowman (2019)
had no substance and not even decent beats.
He seemed to have lost interest in music.
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