In May 2004, Jazze Pha’s manager Henry ‘Noonie’ Lee showed Young Jeezy’s demo to his friend Shakir Stewart, Vice President Artist and Repertoire (VP A&R) at Def Jam. Stewart “fell in love with it [the demo] the first time [he] heard it” and took it to L.A. Reid. Reid recognised the talent and gave Stewart the green light to sign him. As the “hottest thing on the street” at the time, various labels – including Warner and Interscope – were after his signature. However, Young Jeezy decided he wanted to be in business with Stewart and Reid. As a result, signed with Def Jam Records.
Young Jeezy’s debut single off his debut album, “And Then What” featuring Mannie Fresh, reached #67 on the Billboard Hot 100. Young Jeezy’s major label debut, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, was released on July 26, 2005. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling 172,000 copies in its first week and was later certified Platinum by the RIAA. The second single off the album, “Soul Survivor” featuring Akon reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would end up becoming Young Jeezy’s highest-charting single of his career. The third single, “My Hood”, reached #77 on the Billboard Hot 100. In an interview with HitQuarters, A&R Shakir Stewart said that Jeezy had recorded over 60 songs for the album.