As one of the most anticipated albums of 2010, for many it would seem like Young Jeezy's Thug Motivation 103 just can't come soon enough. Though currently slated for a June release, the album's already endured repeated push-backs and the suspicious absence of an equally anticipated Trap or Die 2 mixtape with DJ Drama has only served to further the restlessness. There was a time, however, when our favorite trapper's favorite trapper was releasing music to little to no acclaim as an independent artist.

Back in the summer of 2001, under the name "Lil' J," Young Jeezy released T.U.I.:Thuggin Under The Influence. The cover image, which shows a 23 year-old Jeezy modeling an oversized Rocawear polo and fitted over the du-rag in front of some luxury cars, is a fitting impression of the era and forthright rendering of someone who would grow into one of rap's most credible voices. The project boasts production from Lil Jon as well as a rudimentary Shawty Redd, but Jeezy persists as a boy from Macon, Georgia trying his hardest to be heard over crunk's deafening ascent. Hard copies, if they even exist, are few and far between, but the album is widely available through sketchier electronic measures. Listen to some tracks below to get a sense of what the Snowman sounded like before he blew up...


"Welcome" Produced by Pretty Ken

RHYME STYLE
• Jeezy's delivery on T.U.I., some weird, admirable combination of Trick Daddy and Pastor Troy, is exceptionally back-heavy, with an emphasis on the last couple words of every bar. It sounds exhausting, which may be a reason he'd end up loosening the reigns over the course of his catalogue. His mechanics, however, were refined from the start, his couplets anchored in the middle of the beat, never over-syllabic or inappropriately verbose as opposed to say, a Waka Flocka Flame (who to his credit, is gaining footing by the verse). Jeezy also relishes in a thicker accent, something that may have simply diluted itself over the years, yet being called "country" resurfaces a bunch as point of both pride and motivation.

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"G.A." (Featuring/Produced by Shawty Redd)

"Haters" (Featuring/Produced by Lil Jon)

PRODUCTION
• The most recognizable of the album's short list of producers, Shawty Redd and Lil Jon, sound like promising upstarts, of which Shawty Redd most certainly was. Jon, however, was by this time seasoned and even acclaimed as a bass music producer and was already two albums in with The Eastside Boyz. Sol Messiah, who handles another chunk of T.U.I.'s production favors bare bones guitar twangs, which for their omnipresence, don't serve to add much soul. Pretty Ken, the albums most diverse producer, looks to be the one with whom Jeezy developed his penchant for choruses that turn into reserved club chants. "Do That Shit," credited to Lil J, which we'll assume is Jeezy, as former Crime Mob member and Lil Jon protege Jonathan "Lil Jay" Lewis couldn't have been more than like 12 at the time, sounds like a bootleg Mannie Fresh beat.

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"Long Days" (Produced by Pretty Ken)

CONTENT
• "Up early in the morning, brushing my teeth/Watching rap city dog, thinking that could be me," a bright eyed Jeezy raps on "Tonite." Though rife with both the rewards and regrets of full-time trapping, T.U.I. also contains Kid Cudi-esque aspirations of fame and legitimacy. As Jeezy would later claim to be the "realest nigga in it," so too were his stories pre-fame, with affordable cars and lower tier groupies. The struggle was ever-present as "Long Days" speaks to the unending stresses of the occupation and though Jeezy makes constant mention of manager Kinky B and the currently incarcerated Mail Man as running mates, strikingly absent are the unforgettable ad-libs that at once made the Snowman an unflinching hero and invincible villain to rap's new school.

RELATED: Complex's 2009 Young Jeezy Cover Story (Art By ESPO)
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