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Young Jeezy - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Understanding This Industry

May 2005

Every journalist knows the plight of press days. Rarely do they run on time, and even when they do - because artists have been bombarded with similar questions, they're not always something special. However, after a few delays, I finally had the chance to speak to Jeezy and found myself pleasantly surprised by his calm and polite demeanor through his hectic routines.

Having blown away the mixtape market with his "Trap or Die" mix CD/DVD and having grinded for a while, Jeezy is now signed to Def Jam and ready to release "Lets Get It: Thug Motivation 101," alongside working with his group recently signed to Bad Boy, and... he's even writing a book.

MVRemix: What's going on with the Boyz N The Hood album and is there likely to be a "Screwed & Chopped" version as was presented with 8Ball & MJG?

Young Jeezy: A version that's "Screwed & Chopped"? I mean, it's one of the movements I'm a part of. I've got my solo shit with Def Jam and I think there's drops a little earlier than me. I think there's drops on the 7th (June) and I drop on the 28th. I haven't heard about it being "Screwed & Chopped" though.

MVRemix: How did the Def Jam signing come about?

Young Jeezy: Basically just grinding in the streets. I caught the attention of one of my partners; Jazze Pha. He got with L.A. (Reid) and sat down and together made it happen. It was basically just a lot of grindin' and them payin' attention.

MVRemix: Which do you prefer - the mixtape hustle or the label one because I'd read you weren't too happy about the chosen singles for the album, but due to them being commercially viable - you understood why they were being put out...

Young Jeezy: I mean I feel like it's two different games, you know. When you deal with the streets it's a lot more easy on me 'cause that's where I'm in everyday. But when you deal with the average consumer in middle America and the people who buy records - I think it's a different game. Because the videos... obviously nobody wants to see the same street videos all day and all night. You gotta have your club anthems, your feel good songs. But at the same time, like my man say, "I'm a gangsta." That's what I am, so no matter what type of music I do - I'ma do it for the gangstas. You feel me?

MVRemix: Who or what inspired the "Trap or Die" mixtape/DVD? What inspired you to begin with that?

Young Jeezy: Just me. I'm in the hoods everyday, so when you in the hood, you gettin' down. You trappin' or whatever, you grindin', doing your thug thizzle - you gotta keep yourself entertained. I just wanted to give cats something to watch while they was doin' they thug thing. While they gettin' they grind on, I'm keepin' them motivated out there in the streets, that's why we call it "Thug Motivation."

MVRemix: I've read your working on more DVD's, what makes yours different from other rappers/groups?

Young Jeezy: I mean, I can't speak for no other rapper. But my shit is real. Ain't no props, ain't no rinky shit in there. None of that. It ain't like I was just "I'll shoot a DVD today" and someone had a camera with me, the camera just catch highlights you know. But that's how we really do everyday. We really go out. We really have fun like that. We really go in the hood everyday like that, we really kick it everyday like that. It's just to show that whole image. You hear a lot of people talkin' 'bout it, but they can't show it.

MVRemix: How has the process differed from recording "Come Shop With Me" and "Thug Motivation 101"?

Young Jeezy: Like I say, "Come Shop With Me," I'm not really a rapper, so "Come Shop With Me" was more so about me listening to what was goin' on in the industry and I wasn't really with the right producers - so I came a long way. I sat back and analyzed the game for a second. Kind of just got myself together and took a different approach at it. For the most part I was trying to make good singles and stuff like that. Then I sat back and was like "You know what, let me just give them me..." I just gave 'em me, and it worked.

MVRemix: Tell me about the album ("Lets Get It: Thug Motivation 101").

Young Jeezy: It's crazy man, that's all I can say. It's one of them things where you got a lot of good songs, a lot of good vibes. This shit is just thug motivation. It can get you in your day from point "a" to point "b." You might throw it in in the morning, find yourself riding to it at lunchtime. Shit, at the middle of the day doing the same thing and at night doing the same thing. It's like listening to a Donald Trump tape or something - one of them "Get Money Quick" tapes. It's real motivational man, inspirational and all that good shit.

MVRemix: Which guests and producers do you have on it?

Young Jeezy: I got my main man Shorty Red, definitely. I got Mannie Fresh, definitely. Jazze Pha, Akon, CKT, my man DJ Smurf - the list goes on man. Basically everybody that's hot in my region right now. With guest appearances, I got my man Young Buck on there, I got Trick [Daddy] on that thing. I got T.I., I got [Lil'] Scrappy. I got my man Fabolous... I got my man Lloyd. I kind of spreaded it out so I could hold the album down myself. So I tried not to do too many features. Like I got Trick and Young Buck on the same song. I got T.I. and Scrappy on the same song 'cause I wanted to hold the album down myself, you know what I mean?

MVRemix: Can you tell me what's currently going on with U.S.D.A. (United Streets Dopeboys of America) and C.T.E. (Corporate Thugz Entertainment)?

Young Jeezy: Right now, they workin'. U.S.D.A., that's my clique. C.T.E., that's my label. Right now we've got a couple of situations on the table, gettin' ready to drop "The Movement," the album. So it's real, I'm tryin' to keep it real street so like you was askin' me about the mixtape thing, that's my chance to keep it right there at that. That's my project. Dealing with Def Jam, you wouldn't wanna bring them just all street music and expect them to promote it like that 'cause that ain't what they do. Mixtapes - I got that street shit on smash, so it's not hard.

MVRemix: How do you feel about Rap-A-Lot's release of Pimp C's album without consent from him while he's incarcerated?

Young Jeezy: I don't know what the situation is over there. But Pimp C is a hot dude, so I'm quite sure if they released it, they probably came to a mutual agreement. We need Pimp C right now, Pimp C raised me. I listened to his every words. So it's like right now, I want some of the new generation to hear some of that too. 'Cause they were poor people, they opened up a lot of doors.

MVRemix: What is the biggest misconception people have of you?

Young Jeezy: Right now I know there's a lot of cats that's hootin' and hollerin', sayin' what they did and what they done. I just don't wanna get caught up in none of that man. You know what I'm sayin'. I'm a real stand up dude. A thorough young nigga man. It's like I don't even wanna get caught up in that shit. Caught up in that "He's just a rapper and that's what it is," 'cause that ain't me. I live life, I do it big. I get that now when I'm out on the road. You know people, they love you for who you are but they kind of tend to forget sometimes that you sacrificed a lot to do this and you really been through them trials and trills. I don't want 'em to forget that. I don't want 'em to think "Ey, it was just all gravy and I'm here now." Or "It's all gravy and I'm a rapper now," I was a real nigga before this and I'ma be a real nigga after this.

MVRemix: Even with so much on your plate, have you been trying to attempt any non-musical business endeavours?

Young Jeezy: Yeah, actually "Thug Motivation 101" is a book I been workin' on. It's basically just that same thing, just a lot of motivational shit. I definitely got some gear comin' out. I got the Snowman line, and then I got the U.S.D.A. line. So I'm just grindin'.

MVRemix: Do you have any last words to your fans or potential fans that are going to be reading this?

Young Jeezy: Just tell 'em "Lets Get It," June 28th it's in stores. Get one for the crib, get one for the car you know. Holler at ya boy when I come through your town. That's real talk.

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"Dealing with Def Jam, you wouldn't wanna bring them just all street music and expect them to promote it like that 'cause that ain't what they do. Mixtapes - I got that street shit on smash, so it's not hard."