Last month, we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Young Jeezy's major label debut album, the coke rap classic, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101. In our Making of piece, we talked to Jeezy, and many others, about the many wild stories behind how the album came together—including how real money ended up on the album cover. Today, in the latest episode of Complex's Magnum Opus series, we hone in on one song in particular, the Akon assisted "Soul Survivor." The song is more than just Jeezy's biggest hit ever; it's the song that turned Jeezy from a regional star who had the streets on lock into a national star who could get radio play anywhere in the country, it's the song that helped TM 101 become a platinum album, and it's the song that helped set up Akon's career so he could become one of hip-hop's great hook masters.
For this episode, of course we had to talk to Jeezy about how the Akon collaboration came about, how he thought the song would ruin his career, and how he felt like he had made it when he shot the music video. We also spoke with Jeezy's long time producer, Shawty Redd about how he and Jeezy crafted the trap music sound together as Jeezy rose through the independent scene. Meanwhile, DJ Drama details the impact of his mixtapes with Jeezy, Streets Is Watching and Trap or Die, and how they set the streets on fire. Although Akon had agreed to do an interview, he ended up bailing on us so instead we spoke with his brother, Abou "Bu" Thiam about how this song was just as important for Akon as it was for Young. We even talked to ESPN analyst, and well-known Jeezy enthusiast, Jay Bilas about how even he relates to trap music.
Benny Boom, who directed the music video for "Soul Survivor," revealed how BMF's Big Meech rolled up in two Maybachs to the video shoot for "Soul Survivor" and blocked Jay Z's Maybach. Def Jam's Shawn Pecas recalled the role the late, great Shakir Stewart played in Jeezy's career. And finally, Complex's own Editor-In-Chief Noah-Callahan Bever explained how Jeezys rumored nefarious street connections added an element of danger to his music.
Check out the episode above and be sure to check out every episode of Magnum Opus.