Label: CTE, Island Def Jam

If the early 2000s marked the emergence of Atlanta as one of, if not the most important, scenes in hip-hop, Thug Motivation 101 was its apotheosis—the moment when all of the energy on the streets and in clubs, the apocalyptic production of Shawty Redd and Drumma Boy, the totalizing rasp of Jeezy's voice became a region and generation's defining sound.

By the mid-2000s, the club-friendly Lil Jon bangers had given way to something more dilapidated, harsher. The trap house aesthetic pioneered on Jeezy's Trap or Die mixtape and this album sent shock waves throughout the South, reorienting everything to orbit around its totalitarian vision.

Uninterested in self-consciousness or moral ambiguities, Thug Motivation 101 was anthemic and unapologetically bombastic. There was no equivocating; either you hated it, or you were swept up in the grimy grandeur. - DD