Young Jeezy: Talk To 'Em
Clearly Jeezy was excited to discuss his third Def Jam-sponsored solo album, The Recession, which is currently heating up the charts (after debuting at #1 in its opening week) as it rapidly races towards what will surely be a third platinum plaque for the man born Jay Jenkins. The Georgian spitter even showed his southern graciousness when asked to address the mixed reviews his latest long-player has received [click to read] and some of the criticisms about the albums format and content.
Even when talk turned to more salacious topics, including if Rick Ross is one of his pretenders and who "Mr. 17.5s" mini-mes are, Jeezy remained calm and composed, skillfully dodging every trap laid for the Trap Star to talk recklessly. He maintained his measured openness while explaining why he isnt Jockin Jay-Z when it comes to talking about this countrys currently devastated economy, if he was supposed to work with Eminem as rumored on The Recession, and why hes cool with giving Barack Obama an extra big piece of his hard-earned cake if the Illinois Senator becomes President. And finally, Jeezy made it abundantly clear that simply talking about keeping it real is just that, talk.
HipHopDX: I wanna ask the most important question I have for you first, and that is when are you recording an entirely Don Cannon produced album? Cause after Go Crazy and now Circulate [click to listen] a Don Cannon produced Jeezy album is officially a necessity.
Young Jeezy: Aww man, shit, you just put one on my mind. I dont know, I might need to get in wit him, huh? Shit, Im bout to call him up, see what he wanna do. Yeah, that Circulate go hard though, I cant even front. But I told him though, I was like, You know, we did Go Crazy, [click to read] we did all this other shit Mr. 17.5, [click to read] I say if we go back at it for this album we gotta make it better. It gotta be better than those two. And I think he came wit it, man [click to view].
DX: Aww yeah, definitely. Now we dont get to hear that sample-driven masterpiece until the halfway point on The Recession, and youre getting some mixed reviews for that decision. Some folks think its great a return to your first albums sound and some think stacking so many synth and 808 driven tracks one right after another makes everything sound alike. What do you say?
Young Jeezy: I mean, I think thats Jeezy though, bruh. I think thats what Ima do. Like the cats that ride to my music and down with my movement You gotta understand too, Im from the south. So thats our sound. Thats pretty much what we do. And I just think at the end of the day, its like when you buy a Jeezy record, you know you gonna get some of that. So I just kinda wanted to set it up so it kinda told a story. So that was the story I was telling until it got to Like Circulate was at the middle point, now we talking to the masses.
DX: On By The Way you spit: Turned a brick into a clothing line, a Boost commercial/And hes still talkin yo, so whos commercial? Do you feel like The Inspirations sound was too commercial and you had to turn back to the darker, gritter sound of Thug Motivation for The Recession?
Young Jeezy: Uh nah, thats just how I felt, mayne. You know, sometimes you wake up and you think out the box, and sometimes you wake up and you wanna be in the box. I woke up [and] I just wanted to go hard. My whole shit was like I wanted something that I would ride to, 100% guaranteed. And I just felt like that was the way, just do me and just do the best records I could do and just put em together and just make that shit tell a whole story. It starts off with The Recession thats talking about shit being fucked up, and it ends with My President Is Black. So its like throughout that whole shit it just tells a story.
DX: I wrote the review of The Inspiration [click to read] for XXL, but my editor reduced the XL rating I gave it to an L. I actually dug the more polished sounds of Dreamin, Go Getta, What You Talkin Bout, etc, and thought Inspiration was better produced than Motivation. So will you ever rock to those kinds of productions again?
Young Jeezy: Oh of course, man. But its different [now] because its like a different game for me. Its like you can give a nigga that, then hell want the other shit. So its just different, because I can do both. But this the catch though, a lot of muthafuckas cant do both. They can just only stay in one lane. So Im quite sure, like on my next album itll probably be some shit aint none of us ever heard because I wanna take it there. I wanna create a new sound.
DX: You wanna drop any hints of what the album might be called, any thoughts yet about what you wanna do?
Young Jeezy: Nah, I dont wanna give it to you. You know I got it though. But dont be surprised if Don Cannon [click to read] got like six of em on there. [Laughs] You feel me?
DX: Yeah, thats gotta happen. Now wasnt Eminem supposed to lay down some tracks for The Recession?
Young Jeezy: Nah, I heard that [though]. I dont know where that shit came from, man. I heard that one time before too.
DX: Yeah, that [rumor] was all over the Internet. Any plans of a Jeezy and Eminem union, you ever gave it any thought?
Young Jeezy: Shit, that might work out though. Definitely might work out.
DX: Now we talked about the sound of The Recession meeting mixed reviews, and it looks like the content of the album is also being critiqued for not speaking on the actual recession enough. Save for a few tracks theres a lot of Scott Storch everywhere speak. [Laughs].
Young Jeezy: [Laughs] Whats wrong with that?
DX: Do you feel like you touched on the actual recession enough on The Recession?
Young Jeezy: I mean, but the thing about it, it wasnt actually supposed to be just all Who would wanna buy an album just talking all about the recession?
DX: You reading the newspaper to a beat. [Laughs].
Young Jeezy: Yeah. It was more so to drop them jewels, man, here and there. Its like, you can hide little shit in music and people get it and it takes em a long way. You dont wanna be the one sitting there going aww its fucked up, what we gonna do, please help us. You wanna kinda still do you. The whole recession concept was like, okay, its fucked up out here but we gonna get through it. And heres some good music to get you through it. And everything Ima give you is gonna be an anthem. Im not gonna sit here and try to rap you to death. Im gonna give you anthems. Like, if you feel like you wanna get a little crunk and crazy you throw on that Who Dat. You feel like you wanna just kinda be a little bit more laid back you throw on that Circulate. You wanna hear a little rap shit you throw on that Word Play [click to listen]. If you wanna feel some of that hard, melodic-ass crazy shit you put on that Amazin' or that Hustlaz Ambition. So it wasnt really like I was gonna sit there and make 18 tracks about the recession. It wouldnt have made sense.
DX: Do you agree with Jay-Zs opining on Jockin Jay-Z [click to listen] that talking about the recession is depressing?
Young Jeezy: I mean, thats how he feel. I dont feel like that. Hell nah, I dont feel like that. I felt like it was definitely needed and necessary to address it because real people go through that type of shit. And real niggas like real music. Real people like real music. Thats how they get through hard times.
DX: On The Recession (Intro) you spit: They say, Young wont you make it rain?/Bitch is you insane? [Laughs] Is making it rain officially played out in 2008?
Young Jeezy: Its like when shit get fucked up you gottahow can I say this? Any real person know that if you used to doing something and shit slow up, its like, why would you continue to do that? Like, at that point you trying to keep up with the Joneses. So you might as well just do you. And thats what the album is about too. Like, man, you gotta learn how to maintain. You might cant go to strip clubs five nights a week now. You might wanna [only] go to one. Its like when moneys plentiful, yeah, you can throw that shit in the air if you want to. But shit, me right now, Im thinking of some better shit I can do with mine.
DX: Speaking of, on Welcome Back [click to listen] theres mention of some stuntin' and shinin' and being on my money shit, so has the recession reached Young Jeezy and affected your spending habits?
Young Jeezy: Shit, my gas $7 too. I still deal with real life issues. But it wasnt necessarily likeyou [mentioned] the shinin, that was more some motivational like, okay, you know its fucked up but we gon look our best. Thats what Put On [click to view] was about, just looking your best even though times is fucked up. But you know, I gotta talk that money shit, cause thats how I feel. Even though its fucked up Im still on my Angelina shit. I still want that Brad Pitt dough, I dont give a fuck. And Ima figure out a way to get it, you feel me?
DX: I gotta ask you this though, on My President [click to listen] you show your support for Obama, but do you support his proposed tax increase for folks making over $250,000 a year such as yourself?
Young Jeezy: The only reason I would say [yes] is because it gotta come from somewhere. And we all know that. It all gotta come from somewhere. We gotta be realistic about it. We could sit here and bitch, moan, groan and complain, but shit, you know its gotta come from somewhere or we all gon be fucked up. Like, it doesnt even make sense to think somebody aint gon get hit.
DX: I think thats cool, Jeezys prepared to pay his share.
Young Jeezy: Yeah, yeah, you know I do my part, man. I mean, shit, you know Uncle Sam is a silent partner baby!
DX: And I heard you just registered to vote for the first time?
Young Jeezy: Yeah man, I had been trying to get my shit straight so I could go overseas and do some shows and get some money and shit, and it came back at around the time that the voter registration thing was going on. And when he told me I was able to vote I was like, Fuck it, Ima go do it. I had never done it before. Ima do my part, show my support. So definitely thats what I did.
DX: Wanna switch gears here and ask you about something you spit on Hustlaz Ambition: Muthafuck all my enemies/One time for my mini-mes/Listen at these niggas, I bet you hear plenty me. Whos the mini-mes?
Young Jeezy: I think that [verse] summed it up in itself. Its [to] whoevers concerned, or whoever it offended. [Laughs] Real talk.
DX: You wanna speak oncause you know people are gonna start speculating that was [a jab at] Shawty Lo [or] that was Rocko.
Young Jeezy: Nah man, I said what I said. Ima leave it at that. If I wanted to name-drop I woulda done that. No free promotion over here baby!
DX: [Laughs] Well, you punctuate that verse by saying, Im who they pretend to be/Did what they pretend to do. You know I gotta ask since its the hot topic and hes in your Vacation video [click to view]: Should fans look at Rick Ross as one of those pretenders?
Young Jeezy: Nah, Rick Ross [click to read] my dude, man. I cant let you [Laughs] You tried to set that one up. [Laughs].
DX: [Laughs] Lets follow it up though - the exposes, anything you wanna say? Cause its too easy in 2008 to go pull somebodys file.
Young Jeezy: Yeah. I mean, I cant speak Ima keep it 100. I cant speak on behalf of nobody else, man. All I can say is on some real nigga shit you gotta just be 100. And sometimes being 100 is just being 100. Shit, before or after, as long as you handle your business.
DX: Do you think trap rap, or whatever the fuck you wanna call it, confuses kids into thinking rappers are active in the drug game and not just referencing a life they no longer lead?
Young Jeezy: I mean, see thats like with that Dont Know You, thats kinda why I made that song. Cause I dont wanna get caught up in that. Like that Dont Know You record was talking about. I dont like trap rap. I dont think thats the definition for my music. And you know the trap, we invented the word and it was a way of life, but sometimes people make it up out of that and they go on to do bigger and better things.
But just from me looking at it, I think that at the end of the day [the kids] gotta see a nigga turned a negative into a positive. Nigga was living fucked up, [but] now he got his shit together. So you know, you gotta just kinda take [whats being said] for what its worth. I aint no saint. Im not fin to sit here and say that. Nor would I sit here and say I done anything wrong. But I know what I do now. I get up and go hard everyday just like the next man.
DX: Theres a lot of risk in exposing your life in your rhymes. I remember when I first spoke to you back in 2004 for your Show & Prove piece in XXL you wouldnt give me your real name or birth date, or verify any personal info about yourself. So how did you go from that sort of guarded position to sharing so much of your personal story with the people?
Young Jeezy: Because it comes a point in time you gotta do you. Like, you keep saying you real, you gotta just mean what you say. And the only way to do that is to keep it 100. Not even to the point where you just looking ignorant, but its like We grew up on [Ice] Cube [click to read] and all those cats and you heard everybody talking about killing everybody back then. That was the whole thing, if you aint killed nobody you aint [real]. So that just kinda go with the game. Like, if you a hustler you gotta know how to hustle. You gotta be able to explain to somebody else how to hustle. And if you cant you not a hustler.