“Young” Jeezy isn’t so young anymore. At age 40, the Atlanta native has announced that his forthcoming studio album, Thug Motivation 104: Trust the Process, will also be his last, effectively retiring from the hip-hop industry.
In a tweet posted yesterday, the rapper stated “as the Cold Summer tour comes to an end… it was inspiring seeing my day one fans since my first album & class TM101 come out every night. Now class is coming to an end. It’s time for Graduation! My Last Album & Final Class: TM104 #TrustYaProcess.”
As the Cold Summer tour comes to a end.. It was inspiring seeing my day one fans since my first album & class TM 101 come out every night. Now class is coming to a end. It's time for Graduation! My Last Album & Final Class: TM104 –#TrustYaProcess ☃️
— Sno (@Jeezy) March 22, 2018
Jeezy first hit the music scene in 2001 with his independently released debut, Thuggin’ Under the Influence, which he released under the name Lil J, and its follow-up Come Shop wit Me (2003). He then signed to Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records in 2004 as part of Boyz n da Hood, a gangsta rap group also featuring Jody Breeze, Gorilla Zoe, Big Gee, and Big Duke.
But his career didn’t truly take off until 2005 when his demo managed to make its way into the hands of L.A. Reid, the former Island Def Jam Music Group chairman and CEO, who recognized the rapper’s raw talent and signed him to the label.
His studio debut, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, was released in July 2005, and would debut at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 172,000 copies in its first week. It featured 19 original tracks, including the highest charting single of his career, “Soul Survivor” feat. Akon, which hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also featured a number of other chart-topping singles, such as “My Hood,” “And then What” featuring Mannie Fresh, and “Go Crazy” (Remix) feat. Jay-Z. It also features the track “Trap or Die” featuring Bun B of UGK, which was inspired by his preceding mixtape of the same name.
Following the success of his major label debut, Jeezy went back to work on his second studio album, The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102 (2006), which became his first to claim the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 charts.
Initially, he announced plans for his fourth album, TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition in 2009 but was delayed for nearly two years. It was also thought to be the final chapter in the series and featured guest appearances by Fabolous, Jadakiss, 2 Chainz, Ne-Yo, Jill Scott, T.I., Jay-Z, André 3000, Snoop Dogg, Devin the Dude, Mitchelle’l, Trick Daddy, Warren G, and Mike WiLL Made It.
Now, after the recent release of his eighth studio album, Pressure (2017), Jeezy says he has one more project in the works. The upcoming TM:104 Trust the Process will certainly be one of the most anticipated hip-hop albums from one of the biggest names in the recording business, let alone the Southern hip-hop scene.
Beside from the obvious possibility that Jeezy could at any point in the future turn around and say that he’s “coming out of retirement,” the question isn’t so much whether or not he could pull it off, as it is why now? Having put out one of the hottest records last year, Jeezy shows he has no trouble fitting in with the younger crowd, working with a number of featured guests such as Tee Grizzley, Payroll Giovanni, Tory Lanez and others.
But if there is anyone deserving of time off from the rap game it has to be Jeezy… having released nine consecutive Top 10 albums since 2005, perhaps this is just his way of humbly bowing out and giving the younger generation a chance to get the glory. We won’t really know until there are more details about the album, but given the rapper’s track record, it will certainly be something that fans of hip-hop music, particularly those who dig that more southern sound, won’t want to miss.