Album: The Recession

Young Jeezy was in the midst of a creative comeback on The Recession, the centerpiece of which was the Wagnerian, Drumma Boy-produced club-banger "Put On." For Kanye, meanwhile, it was the summer before "Love Lockdown" and 808s and Heartbreak, but this verse marked a radical change of direction. He had seen the writing on the wall and was in the process of reinventing his music entirely. Looking back now, the path for the next few years was laid out here: Autotune was in, and his verses had shifted into a new, stripped down, rawly autobiographical perspective. He remained hungry, which he indicated with a typically memorable opening line ("I feel like there's still niggas that owe me checks/I feel like it's still bitches that owe me sex"). Then he detonated his previous Benz-and-a-backpack stunting raps ("I got the Jesus on the chain and that don't mean shit") and shifted to more sex-obsessed lyrical terrain, presaging his recent output. Meanwhile, he begins to pepper his verses with more first-person biography: "I lose the only girl in the world that know me best." And a prophetic level of vulnerability: "The top so lonely." —David Drake