Today, if you were to examine the life of Houstonian Stayve Jerome Thomas – better known as Slim Thug – you’d swear he was the black version of the Instagram famous Dan Bilzerian. You’d think like, man, this guy does whatever he wants.

Slim Thug has his own day in H-Town, February 25th. When he hosts his birthday party at a club, he doesn’t just pull up: he flies in, on a helicopter. Even now, at age 38, he still throws epic pool parties. He created an alter-ego, “Suga Daddy Slim,” whose sole purpose in life is to please the girlfriends of broke boys and make music about it as he did in his latests mixtape Suga Daddy Slim: On Tha Prowl. He goes on vacation to wherever and whenever, with whomever with he wants. His Boss Life Construction company has built homes for and given them away to hurricane victims.

And his Boss Life Ball – which I still haven’t received MY invitation to, by the way – brings out Houston’s heavy hitters for a classy affair every year. And yet, with all this, Slim’s still managed to maintain a successful music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s only one explanation for why Slim Thug behaves this way – because he’s The Boss of All Bosses. In fact, he told us this a decade ago. Two days ago on March 24, it marked the 10th anniversary of Slim Thug’s sophomore album Boss Of All Bosses. There’s no better time to than now to reflect on what that LP did for him, for Houston, and for hip-hop as a whole.

The 2000s marked a time when the Houston rap scene was battling for mainstream notoriety. But the guy from Houston’s northside who towered at 6’6″ and wore braids, made the battle look effortless. From the very beginning, when he was killing Before The Kappa freestyles with Michael “5000” Watts, up to him signing with a major label, Slim Thug always carried himself as the Big Boss of The North. And he didn’t need a label to let the world know that.

Boss Of All Bosses, Slim Thug’s second studio album, was 13 tracks long and came with a plethora of hometown features. But the album wasn’t significant because it debuted at number 15 on the U.S. Billboard, selling 32,000 copies in its first week (a much bigger deal back then than it might be now). It wasn’t the fact that Boss Of All Bosses remained on the Billboard charts for 12 straight weeks. It wasn’t even the fact that the album climbed higher up the Billboard charts during its run and peaked at #2. No, the real significance was that Slim Thug had managed to accomplish all these feats as an independent artist.

Slim Thug did initially sign to Interscope, by way of Pharrell and Chad Hugo’s Star Trak label. His debut studio album, Already Platinum, released under Star Trak and ended up topping the Billboard 200, and it went on to go Gold, as well. That accolade came with the assistance of the major labels. Boss of All Bosses, on the other hand, managed to get all the way to #2 on Billboard as an independent effort. Not only did the album allow Slim Thug to return to the Southern roots of entrepreneurial music marketing – a la Master P – but it also helped him gain the maximum coins while representing Houston on the main stage.

What makes Slim Thug such a Boss, is his mindset. He knew he and his Boss Life team could replicate the success of Already Platinum with Boss Of All Bosses. The Neptunes made Slim a massive star in hip-hop. He collaborated with mainstream names like Gwen Stefani (“Luxurious”), fellow Houstonian Beyonce (“Check On It”), Jazze Pah (“Incredible Feelin‘”), T.I (“3 Kings”) and a lot more artists. With the help of Interscope and The Neptunes, Slim established himself in hip-hop, but he had already been established in the streets decades ago.

Thug fused his street savvy business frame with the new industry marketing schemes, which enabled him to create a Boss Life blueprint that catered to both sides: the industry and the streets. It might have taken him four years to get there, but the Boss Life did eventually get it right.

Speaking to Forbes Magazine, Slim admitted, “I just took advantage of the promotion they gave me. They promoted me worldwide, and I wanted to take advantage of that and say, let me go back independent with the worldwide promotion that Interscope gave me already and benefit off of that. At the end of the day, the Boss of All Bosses project had my biggest records. When I do a show, the records off of Boss of All Bosses hit harder with the crowds than the records I did on Interscope with Already Platinum. From radio to sales to everything, the independent album did better.”

While Slim enjoyed the fruits of being a mainstream artist such as working with the big names, he wanted to go back to that “Still Tippin” flow for his sophomore LP. He wanted to make sure he touched bases with the hometown, and that’s exactly what he did. He linked up with his producer Leroy “Mr. Lee” Williams, and the two got to cooking. Mr. Lee produced over half of the tracks on Boss of All Bosses, and throughout the album, Slim Thug lyrically and strategically showed the world that Houston isn’t just the home of playas and pimps, it’s also the home of bosses, too. Slim Thug also showed artists how to make the industry work for you just as much as you work for them. No, Slim Thug didn’t pioneer the independent route – but he did go back to the method that catered to rappers who were also hood superstars.

Slim Thug told Houston Press back when the album was first released, that people thought he had sold his soul when he rapped with Pharrell. But Boss Of All Bosses showed then and still shows now just how false that was. Slim Thug, congratulations to all your success, and thank you for a decade of timeless music.

Stream Boss Of All Bosses below.

Slim Thug Speaks On Staying Independent: