(graceful string music)
- [Man] Eyemagine.
- [Narrator] Rapper,
With his unusual and original voice and real-talk lyrics
that people can relate to, Young Jeezy is quickly becoming
a sensation in the hip-hop world.
Here is the story of the mega-million,
multi-platinum-selling recording artist.
(snaking, sinister hip-hop music)
While the rest of the country celebrated Columbus Day
on October 12th, 1977, the Jenkins family welcomed
their first son, Jay.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina,
and raised in Hawkinsville, Georgia,
a small town outside of Atlanta,
Jeezy didn't grow up in the lifestyle he's now come to know.
With his dad gone, it was just Jeezy, his younger sister,
and their mother.
They moved around Atlanta often,
living in one-bedroom apartments and staying with cousins.
(calm hip-hop music)
Moving all around town may not have been a stable life
for Jeezy, but it set him up for his future.
Since everyone on the streets already knew Jeezy's cousins,
they got to know him as the little cuz.
Being acquainted with the streets on the East side,
West side, and South side gave him street credibility,
and would actually help popularize his music.
Although Jeezy didn't come from much money,
poverty was no way of life for the future rap star.
He did what he had to to make money,
including dealing drugs, which earned him the nickname
The Snowman, snow being slang for cocaine.
This nickname would follow him into his music career
and create controversy.
Jeezy decided to put his drug-dealing days behind him,
but he wasn't through making money.
At 19, he used his keen business sense
and started Corporate Thugz Entertainment
with good friend Demetrius Ellerbee,
better known as Kinky B.
The two, who met at a boot camp for troubled youths,
considered themselves brothers from another mother.
As if Jeezy wasn't busy enough signing artists
to his own label, he also promoted Cash Money Records,
but it wasn't long until things started going downhill.
Some of the artists signed to his label went to jail
on murder charges, and another one was killed,
leaving him with no talent.
But Jeezy wasn't going to sit back
and watch his label crumble.
Taking amtters into his own hands, Jeezy started rapping,
and hasn't stopped since.
- He's so articulate with his lyrics.
I like the way he puts his words together.
He's kinda different to me, because like I say,
he puts his words in a way that other artists
don't put their words.
I like his style.
- [Narrator] Jeezy struck out on his own
with his solo, Come Shop Wit Me,
which sold more than 50,000 copies independently
and set the stage for his major-label deal with Def Jam,
the company made famous by founder Russell Simmons.
- What I like about Jeezy is he's real.
I feel his rhymes 'cause I'm from the same 'hood;
even if we not from the same neighborhood,
we still from the same 'hood, we all connected.
It's something I see everyday.
He doing something that God gave him talent
and he's doing the best he can do.
I ain't mad at him.
Other brothers shoot basketball,
a lot of brothers play tennis; he rhymes.
He do his thing.
(groovy rap music)
- [Narrator] In an interview with online magazine
BallerStatus.net, Jeezy said that he later couldn't stand
Come Shop Wit Me, but that album was about where he was
at that time in his life, and it was actually a blessing,
because it got him a lot of performances, and a manager.
Jeezy may have been a hit on the streets with his mixtapes
but he couldn't convince radio stations to play his music.
It wasn't until another music mogul,
Sean 'Puffy' Combs, known as P. Diddy,
who knew about Jeezy's street credibility,
decided to get involved.
He asked Jeezy to foin fellow rappers Jody Breeze,
Big G, and Duke, to form Boyz N Da Hood,
a group Jeezy would later leave
after releasing only one album.
- I preferred Young Jeezy as a solo artist,
'cause Boyz N Da Hood, when that song had came out
with Puffy, he was the hottest thing on there,
and since then, you never heard of Boyz N Da Hood.
Where they are now?
I can't name too many members, besides him.
- [Narrator] Even though Jeezy was working on his solo album
at the time, always the businessman, he joined the group,
looking at it as a power move.
Jeezy said, "Everybody knows
"Puffy is gonna make you a star."
- As far as Boyz N Da Hood, I consider Young Jeezy
not really part of Boyz N Da Hood, the group.
They're a great group, of course Diddy's behind it.
I feel that Jeezy's better off as a solo artist.
I feel like when he stepped out of Boyz N Da Hood,
you could see natural talent in Jeezy
than being a part of a group.
- [Narrator] "There's no doubt about that.
"He helped me get through a lot of doors.
"The whole thing with Boyz N Da Hood
"was a win-win situation."
- I think Young Jeezy's music is definitely appropriate
for kids and young adults.
Some things he says...
Like he said, he's a motivator.
He's a motivational speaker, and if he can get an artist
who speaks on a positive term, speaks positive hip-hop,
raps positive hip-hop, you can't go wrong with that.
You have to listen to it.
- [Narrator] He's referring to the fact that radio stations
would invite the group to come on air and not Jeezy.
P. Diddy came to Jeezy's defense and told them
that if Jeezy couldn't be there, then neither could the rest
of the Boyz N Da Hood, because Jeezy was a part of them.
Eventually, the radio stations caved
and Jeezy's music has been on the radio since.
(smooth, danceable hip-hop music)
- I'd like to see Jeezy back with Boyz N Da Hood
because they was a good collaboration of artists.
- [Narrator] 2005 proved to be a good year for Jeezy.
As a member of the quartet Boyz N Da Hood,
their self-titled album that was released in June
peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
- I'll prefer him to be a solo artist all the way,
because he's just so tight, he just overpowers the rest
of the group, the old group.
What was it called?
Boyz N Da Hood?
Well, I like him better.
- [Narrator] Almost a month later, Jeezy's solo release,
Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 came out.
Laced with references to dealing drugs
and life on the wrong side of the streets,
the album went double platinum.
- What I like about Young Jeezy is that he's very ambitious,
that he's very motivated.
He always wanted to do the music and finally did,
and he's doing great, as we can see from all his records
he is selling.
So, that's what I really like about him,
he never gave up, even he was going through a hard time.
This makes him special, or this makes him a good musiican.
- [Narrator] Jeezy insisted that Let's Get It
is more about moving and inspiring his listeners.
"I definitely believe
"in the Thug Motivation movement," he said.
"It's to get people through their day,
"and that means a lot to me."
- My favorite song from Jeezy's album has got to be My Hood,
or I think it's called Thug Motivation 101.
Thug Motivation 101.
- [Narrator] In the song Lemme Talk To 'Em,
Jeezy apologizes for many of the wrongs in his life
while attempting to set the next generation straight
about the dark side of life in the traps.
He said he lost a lot of people he looked up to
who bought him school clothes and other things,
and they're the reason he's where he is today.
- Young Jeezy inspired me in many ways.
One of the ways is coming out from poverty in the 'hood
to basically making ground,
being the entertainment industry.
Whatever it takes, it takes a lot.
The guy's actually been selling drugs, stay selling drugs,
but he put that to the side,
focused more on something positive,
and that's getting to the entertainment industry.
So it took a lot; it took time, it took patience.
It took time to just set aside the drug business
and just say, "Well, let me focus on something more positive
- [Narrator] Jeezy's solo release features cameos
from other top rap artists like Jay-Z,
with whom he collaborated on a remix of Go Crazy.
Jeezy also worked with T.I., Trick Daddy,
Juvenile, and Bun B on the album.
The top director, Hype Williams,
shot some of his music videos.
- I like his rhyming style.
He has a very deep voice,
and I don't know, it goes along with the music really well.
It's very fluid with the music, so when I DJ it,
it comes out as one large dance track
where nothing distracts from the beat of the music,
so people just jam to it.
- [Narrator] Critic Kelefa Sanneh of the New York Times
praised his album, saying: "Young Jeezy's sluggish rasp
"evokes both a ruthlessness no one can touch
"and a weariness no one can cure."
- I give him his credit, 'cause he's made it to where he is,
and I wish I could be in his shoes.
- [Narrator] Another critic said,
"His solo release was very strong overall.
"With contributions from Lil' Jon, Mannie Fresh, Pharell,
"and Jazze Pha, Jeezy's wordplay shows his creativity,
"skill, and great potential.
"Maybe in his future albums, Jeezy will show us
"a larger scope of lyrical content, because it seems
"like he has a lot more to offer."
- I actually like, there's a song Go Crazy,
because it has a lot of beat going on
and it's very nice when you hit the dance floor.
So I like the rhythm, I like the beats,
and Go Crazy is actaully my favorite song.
- [Narrator] People must have been listening
to the music critics.
Let's Get It sold almost 172,000 copies in its first week,
and claimed the number-two spot on Billboard's Top 200.
- The first album, that's my favorite one,
and my favorite cut is
♪ And then what
- I like him as a person.
I like Young Jeezy as a person.
I feel like if I got to know him,
he would be a cool person to hang out with.
I relate to some of the stuff that he's been through.
- [Narrator] Jeezy fever seemed
to be catching on everywhere.
In December 2005, the rapper was photographed
in Rolling Stone magazine, he worked with superstar
Mariah Carey on a remix of Shake It Off,
and Dr. Temperance Brennan, a fictional character
featured on the hit FOX TV show Bones,
was shown listening to his single, Soul Survivor.
♪ I can't sleep, we living in Hell
♪ I'm a survivor, yeah
♪ 'Cause I'm a rider
- That's my favorite song, Soul Survivor,
from Young Jeezy featuring Akon.
It's a hot joint did together,
a hot single, and I definitely love that song.
I can feel it when the two did the collabo.
My favorite; I'm a survivor.
- That's why I got on my ringtone right here,
I'm not really good with names.
Queue it up a little.
(phone plays "Go Crazy" by Young Jeezy)
This hot right here, I love this right here.
Yeah, I got them dope boys, so I had to get that ringtone.
- [Narrator] But not everyone was singing Jeezy's praises.
His ex-bandmate, Jody Breeze,
criticized Jeezy in Ozone magazine
for not supporting their Boyz N Da Hood release.
Jeezy, never the one to back down,
wasn't gonna let Breeze have the final say.
He stated that he was contracted to release only one album
and he never intended to continue with the group.
If this was the case, then Jeezy stayed true to himself.
- I like Young Jeezy as a solo artist
because I never really listened
to the music to Boyz N Da Hood,
so I can't really make any comparisons.
But I've listened to his new album,
I really like that, there are really good songs on it.
- [Narrator] To those people who can't get his music,
like prisoners, Jeezy's writing a motivational book
called Thug Motivation 101.
The book, which is a spin on his album,
will act as a course study for those trying
to make a better life for themselves.
(intriguing rap music)
Jeezy is the first one to admit that he's no rapper.
"I'm not a rapper, I'm a motivational speaker.
"I just know how to make sense with my words."
Well, going by the success of his albums,
he's doing something right.
- I prefer him as a solo artist.
I don't know, I think he has more creative license
right now, he can do a lot more collaborations.
The music I play, he's usually doing the duets songs.
So he's not stuck doing a style of music.
- [Narrator] Could it be that a lot of his success
has to do with the fact that he was on the scene,
and the stuff he talks about is real,
and he knows this because he's done it all?
- I wouldn't say he could be a preacher,
don't take it outta hand.
You can't say Jeezy could be a preacher.
Definitely could say he's a hip-hop motivational rapper,
like what he said he is.
That's the bottom line.
- [Narrator] Another reason for his success
is word of mouth.
Jeezy stated, "It's the biggest promotion you can get,
"and it's the key to moving a lot of units in the streets."
But Jeezy hasn't gotten to the top by going with the flow.
Even though many artists have found success
in their record sales by displaying lavish lifestyles
in their music videos and in magazines,
Jeezy's rise to the top has been by doing just the opposite.
He strips away the glamor
and shows listeners the other side, "the real side,
"because everybody ain't living like that," he says.
Where there's money, there's bound to be legal battles.
In October 2005, Jeezy was ordered
to turn over his finanacial records
during a child-support hearing.
Nicole Dykes, his ex-girlfriend and the mother
of his nine-year-old son, Jadarius, asked for more money,
claiming Jeezy's income had dramatically increased
since their 2001 child-support ruling.
The 2001 ruling established Jeezy as Jadarius' father,
and he was ordered to pay $178 a month in child support.
Fast forward four years, his ex demanded
more than $20,000 a month in expenses
for clothing, transportation, and housing.
- The mother wants more child support,
and it's actually aggressive,
because you have to ask first what the kid really wants,
or really needs, and I think it's more important
that the kid gets the attention of his daddy.
Of course, money is important to let the kid go to school
later on, but most important thing is daddy's there
for the kid.
I think this is what kids care about,
that daddy's around and not the money.
But it's good to put money aside for college
or whenever the kid needs something, it's there.
- [Narrator] But Jeezy wasn't about to give in.
In court depositions, he denied owning his house, car,
and jewelry, but Dykes' lawyer was quick to point out
Jeezy's diamond-encrusted snowman pendant,
and the platinum success of both his Boyz N Da Hood album
and his solo release, Let's Get It.
Jeezy's lawyer fired back, claiming that Jeezy was no longer
the owner of Corporate Thugs Entertainment,
the company he started with his friend Kinky B.
- Hell no.
She wasn't there writing no rhymes,
she wasn't there doing none of that.
No doubt she been taking care of his seed,
but she ain't there on stage, she not putting no work in.
Hell no; why she don't get a job rapping or something,
make a single, get her money that way.
- [Narrator] Unfortunately, the law wasn't on Jeezy's side.
In November 2005, a Houston County Superior Court judge
temporarily ordered Jeezy to pay his former girlfriend
$1,400 a month in child support, which was 10 times more
than the amount he agreed to pay in 2001.
- Actually, it would depend,
because I don't know the circumstances.
If Young Jeezy's not paying enough money,
and that is his biological child, yes.
The child deserves as much money as...
How limited does he pay for his child?
I don't know the circumstances.
If she's getting a lot and she just wants more, it depends,
I think she's just being greedy, but if it's for the child,
it's going directly to the child's college fund,
if it's best then send him to the best schools right now.
- [Narrator] This amount was based on his monthly income
of $15,000, the $270,000 he has in the bank,
and about $50,000 in jewelry, but the rapper claimed
that his record label provided his house, car, and clothes,
and that his royalties had yet to come through.
Still, Jeezy isn't out of the woods yet,
since the new payment schedule is only temporary.
Jeezy may have to shell out more money at a future date.
Jeezy and his ex also reached a temporary agreement
on both visitation rights and their son's inheritance.
The judge overseeing this case urged both parents
to work things out for the child's sake,
but things could get ugly if it goes before a jury.
The child-support hearing was just the beginning
of Jeezy's legal woes.
Growing up around shootings and gang violence,
Jeezy was no stranger to this life.
Even though it's not something he enjoys talking about,
he admits to doing some time as a teen.
Unfortunately, his run-ins with the law weren't behind him.
According to county records, Jeezy was arrested
in Miami-Dade in the summer of 2005,
but the outcome of that case was unclear.
His next run-in occurred on Friday, March 10th, 2006.
The 28-year-old rapper was arrested and charged
with two counts of carrying a concealed weapon
without a permit, following an alleged shootout
in South Beach, Florida.
According to published reports,
an eyewitness videotaped a fight
Jeezy and two of his friends were involved in at 5:30 a.m.
When the witness refused to hand over his video camera
of the footage, shots were fired.
The rapper and his friends fled the scene in two SUVs
but were later apprehended by police officers
who found two guns, one of which was under Jeezy's seat.
Thankfully, no one was injured.
Jeezy's lawyer John Freeman said that Jeezy was stopped
for no reason, and his innocence will be proven
at the appropriate time.
The verdict isn't out yet but Jeezy could face
up to 10 years in prison if he's convicted.
- I don't think going to jail period is no good for nobody,
all it does is make you a big criminal.
And 10 years?
Shit, people on Wall Street done robbed Enron
and robbed people of millions and millions of dollars
and got a couple days and a little spank on the butt,
so I don't think that's fair right there.
- [Narrator] The irony to these arrests is that Jeezy prayed
to stay out of jail in his hit song Soul Survivor.
Hopefully, he'll turn to this song for inspiration
and stay out of trouble once and for all.
- Yeah, I heard about the shootout in Florida
and I think if someone does a mistake or is acting
against the law, then they should stand up
for their mistake and failures.
So, if he's guilty, then yes,
to court, because just because he's a well-known person,
he's a celebrity, it doesn't mean
that he can get away with it if he does something wrong.
So I think if he's guilty, then he should go to jail,
even if it's 10 years.
- I think 10 years is too much length
because of our political backdrop right now.
There are a lot of assholes in our administration
and they're getting away with a lot,
and it would be too much for a pop artist to go away,
'cause it's comparative.
What's he going away for,
versus political figures stay getting away with shit.
So yeah, I think it would be too much for him.
- [Narrator] Taking over the music world
wasn't enough for Jeezy.
He also made a fashion statement
with his signature snowman t-shirts.
The tees resulted from his nickname, The Snowman,
which he was referred to when he was a cocaine dealer.
- It's a difference between Frosty the Snowman
and Jeezy the Snowman.
It's a difference.
- [Narrator] It all started in early 2005,
when Jeezy and his music label, Def Jam,
handed out the tees to promote his latest album,
Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101.
In an interview with MTV, Jeezy said, "Snowman is cool.
"It symbolizes a young hustler.
"Whatever you do, be the best at it,
"because that's what the Snowman is gonna do."
- The snowman, from what I've heard, the dope man.
The dope man.
the slogan, slang, basically that's just what he believes in
as being the kinda guy who, "I'm the dope man."
It doesn't necessarily have to say, "I'm the dope slinger,"
but I'm just the dope man, as in its hip-hop term: I'm hot.
Even though the tees were mostly bootlegged,
this didn't upset Jeezy.
He said, "If the 'hood likes it, I love it."
- Jeezy's snowman t-shirts, I think they're tight.
People know what's going on in the world,
kids know what's going on in the world,
they see it on tv, they see it in their neighborhoods
when they grow up there or whatever,
so it ain't like he's exposing something new to them
that's just negative; it's not, it's what's going on,
he's showing you what's going on.
So what you gonna do, try and hide it?
- [Narrator] But not everyone liked the snowman t-shirts.
School officials immediately banned the tees
because of their drug-dealing implications.
The term "the snowman" dates as far back to the 1980s
when the Timothy Hutton-Sean Penn movie,
The Falcon And The Snowman, was released.
- What does the snowman t-shirt imply to me?
I think it's just a shirt.
There are a lot of different types of censorship going on,
it's just a snowman on a shirt.
If you think it means that you should do lots of cocaine,
well then you're not very smart.
I think everyone should be smart enough
to see what needs to be censored
and what needs not to be censored, and it's just a shirt.
A snowman's a snowman.
Yeah, he's a little angry, but that's not here nor there.
- [Narrator] The educational system wasn't the only one
to ban the tees.
Hip-hop fashion company, Miskeen Originals,
stopped production after discovering the meaning
of the t-shirts.
- It doesn't offend me, I'm pretty open-minded.
I know what the snowman typically represents
but everyone has their own spin on what it could mean.
Probably not the best thing for five-year-olds
and six-year-olds but I don't know how many of them
associate snowmen with drugs anyway.
- [Narrator] Miskeen owner, Yaniv Zaken,
said he never saw the street react so strongly to a t-shirt,
and then he was told it was because the snowman
is actually a guy selling cocaine on the streets.
Once he found this out, he had Miskeen artists
add the phrase "say no to snow"
to the remaining tees, but shortly after,
Zaken decided to halt production altogether.
- The snowman tees doesn't really offend me.
I think it's a pretty cool design,
but you also have to be careful because not everybody knows
about what it means.
It implicates cocaine, drugs, and whatever,
so of course kids, they wear it
because they think it's cool,
but they have to be careful that no other people
get offended by it.
It's a nice design, but I would wear it, to be honest.
- [Narrator] Miskeen thought it was doing the right thing
by discontinuing the tees, but not everyone saw it that way.
In a message board on hip-hop fashion site URB1.com,
people felt Miskeen was the one who lacked good judgment.
One fan of the snowman tees said,
"I can't believe the public would even believe for a second
"Miskeen didn't have a clue what this t-shirt was,
"and on top of that, the new owners of Miskeen
"stole the clothing line from its original owners
"and have prevented the growth of some positive designers
"from the urban community."
- All these snowman tees though, it's just a symbol.
It's like American flag, something different.
It all depends on what you think about it.
It's something different.
A symbol of who he is.
That's where he came from, that's what he done,
he's trying to show people something different
and get out the 'hood; I ain't mad at him.
Hey, do what you need to do.
Long as you ain't hurting nobody, I'm with it.
- [Narrator] Even URB1 founder Rodrick Rainey
sided with Jeezy.
He said Miskeen made a huge error in judgment
because the snowman logo didn't encourage people
to become drug dealers so they could afford
the luxury money buys, but to stop procrastinating
and to go about your business to get that money.
- The snowman, I think it's funny.
It's cool, it's catchy; I don't think...
People's too uptight, they need to loosen up.
- [Narrator] Jeezy believed the negative press he received
about the snowman tees from media outlets
such as CNN and USA Today were uninformed
or one-sided in their reporting.
Jeezy said, "The snowman is my alter-ego.
"I made it out of the 'hood.
"I'm not a rap star, I'm not a superstar.
"I'm a trap star.
"That's who I am.
"The snowman is the only thing we have that belongs to us.
"In the 'hood, it stands for the fact
"that he's just like me.
"He is what I am."
- I think Jeezy's music's appropriate for all ages,
because little kids see everything, they hear everything.
- [Narrator] But Jeezy wasn't ready to say goodbye
to the snowman.
In early 2006, he came out with the new snowman t-shirts
that read, "You can't ban the snowman."
Thanks to his fans, it looks like the snowman
is here to stay.
Of course, every superstar had
someone they looked up to growing up.
This was no different for Jeezy.
- I think he's a role model to plenty of kids or people
because he's very ambitious, he had a goal
and he's very motivated, so you can see
that when you have a goal that you can reach it,
but on the other side, I don't think that selling drugs
don't have money, you always have to find
another job making money.
You don't have to...
So that's why in one case I think he is a role model
for a lot of teenagers, for a lot of kids,
for a lot of people because he made it,
even he didn't have money when he was a child.
- [Narrator] With the lack of parental guidance
in the home, rappers have filled the void
created by absentee mothers and fathers.
Jeezy knows this firsthand.
He said artists like Pimp C, UGK, and No Limit raised him,
so it was no surprise that he came to Rap-A-Lot's defense
when they were criticized for releasing Pimp C's album
without his consent while serving a jail sentence.
Jeezy said that the public needs Pimp C right now.
He listened to his every word growing up,
and he wants the new generation to hear Pimp C's words also.
Some of Jeezy's other favorite rappers include Jay-Z,
8Ball, MJG, and Tupac Shakur.
"When I heard Pac, I felt like he was looking
"in my window at night.
"I feel like I'm cut from the same cloth."
His song, Talk To 'Em, rings true with unsettling tales
of life on the mean streets.
Jeezy never had the chance to work with Tupac
but he did get a chance to work with Jay-Z on Go Crazy.
He says, "Working with Jay-Z was a positive experience
"because when older cats talk, it's best you listen,
"and that's how I came up, even in the streets.
"I did less talking and more listening.
"When a cat like that that's part of the game,
"and then you know what he's done,
"you definitely want to listen to him more than talk."
- I think he's a role model because came from nothing
to something, he's done his best.
Things he's given, he just used them talents
and did what he had to do.
What anybody else should, you know?
Do what you need to do, keep trying.
- [Narrator] Jeezy has become a role model himself.
He uses his music to teach the young generation
about the importance and value of hard work,
honesty, and self-reliance.
He says there's a negative influence that gangsta rap has
on today's youth.
"Everybody's gangster until they get incarcerated.
"I got to ease the truth into them.
"Ain't nothing like having everything
"and knowing it can all be taken from you the next day,
"along with your freedom."
- Do I think Young Jeezy is a role model?
It all depends on the individual.
It's how you perceive the person.
You could become a drug dealer and change your persona,
change your ways, but actually people gon' say,
"Well, okay, this guy came from a bad guy,
"transformed himself to a good guy."
Which means you can actually take that two ways:
can I follow a guy that did bad things
and use him as an example or a leader,
or should I just forget the past
and try to focus on the present?
- [Narrator] Jeezy said that he doesn't make music
for the clubs, but for the struggle.
He makes music for the everyday man, and for the kids
who have no sense of direction.
He's trying to restore some morals back into the game,
as far as the streets go.
- Do I think Young Jeezy is a role model,
even though he used to make his living selling drugs?
I think anyone can be a role model,
and these days of entertainment, I think everyone should
be allowed a second chance to make their money
and do well in life, no matter what your past seems
to be like, the future is where it's happening.
- [Narrator] Jeezy has no doubt that he relates to his fans.
He says that when the fans recite his words
while he's performing, he knows they feel
where he's coming from.
He can see it in their eyes that they respect him.
- Yes, I think that Jeezy is a role model
because he used to deal drugs,
everybody has a past; now he's doing something positive.
- Yeah, I think Young Jeezy is, to get where he is today,
I think basically I will consider him a role model.
- I think that Young Jeezy can be seen
as a strong role model, when looking
with respect to where he came from,
a situation where his currency was drugs
and he was able to spin game, get what he wants,
and basically come out on top.
- I think Young Jeezy probably is appropriate,
'cause ain't nothing they haven't seen already.
Look at these cartoons, these cartoons be killing people,
sex, everything; it's nothing that they haven't seen anyway.
So I don't think any different or any worse
that you can get than if their Mom, Dad, whatever,
or their friends all say it.
You're gonna hear it somewhere.
- I think some of the songs, they're not appropriate
to children, especially the song Tear It Up,
because it's a very sexual song (chuckles).
That's why maybe parents have also to be careful,
especially children like young teens
when they are listening to music,
because kids, they always look up to celebrities,
up to rappers, and they take them as idols
and try to copy them.
That means for me, I think not everything is appropriate
that children can listen to it.
- I don't think it's appropriate for children.
There are a lot of adult themes
in our hip-hop culture, which could pertain to sex,
which could pertain to violence,
it just could pertain to adult themes of scars from living,
and I don't think young children would understand.
Teenagers, you can't hide it from them,
so I would wait 'til they're older,
until they have the capacity to make a choice
and understand what it is, instead of having it imposed
on them, because they don't know the difference.
- [Narrator] Being at the top means there's always someone
trying to bring you down.
- Ooh, that's a hard one right there.
I give it up to X, my man, but now he's got soft.
He done went into the movies, and done TV.
I ain't mad at him though, but his street cred
ain't up there no more.
Ain't there no more.
He needs to stick to movies, live the actor life,
do what he need to do.
Young Jeezy is the hottest thing out right now.
Right now, I'd have to say Young Jeezy.
He's hot, he's doing his thing.
- [Narrator] There was a rumor that DMX insulted Jeezy
when he appeared on BET's 106 & Park in July of 2005.
After the video for And Then What
by Jeezy and Mannie Fresh ended,
DMX looked straight into the camera with a big smile
and said, "That was the number-six video; Young Cheesy."
- If Jeezy and DMX was to go at it,
I'd go for DMX, because he has longevity,
and he'll murder Jeezy.
That's point-blank, period.
- [Narrator] At first, guest host Big Tigger laughed it off,
but when he told DMX that Jeezy and Mannie Fresh
were scheduled to stop by 106 the next day,
DMX sarcastically replied, "Oh, you said Young Jeezy?
"I thought you said Young Cheesy,"
and then he chuckled to himself.
- DMX don't have any reason, there is no jealousy behind it.
DMX can't be jealous of Young Jeezy,
if we're calling him Cheesy.
An artist like DMX that proven himself to be
one of the top artists in the hip-hop game.
He has the money, he has the fame, have done movies.
Jeezy is an up-and-coming artist,
so therefore taking shots at Jeezy
must have been more than just...
It probably has to do with something personal.
Had to been personal.
But if there was to be a fight,
I would actually be on DMX's side.
I like X; when he came out, It's Hot And Hell: dope,
so I have to go with my man X if it was a beef versus Jeezy.
DMX, X, love you, I'm with you.
- [Narrator] Even though Jeezy never heard
the supposed insult, he received a call
from DMX's people apologizing.
Still, Jeezy only had good things to say about DMX.
"DMX is a pioneer.
"He opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people."
- The beef! The beef.
If DMX and Young Jeezy had beef,
from what I heard on the BET 106 & Park,
I think DMX took a shot at Jeezy,
which is, actaully, that's wrong.
You can't diss a guy like that,
especially when his video's being played,
never diss the guy.
But that's hip-hop.
Sometimes, hip-hop can get out of hand.
- They grown up; they don't need to be fighting,
they need to be somewhere trying to make some money.
What Jeezy is doing, DMX had his turn,
now it's Jeezy's turn.
Sit back and relax, DMX, it's okay.
Let the brother shine.
- [Narrator] What about the rumors of Jeezy having a fallout
with his former bandmates?
Rumors had circulated for quite some time,
but it became official on April 2006
that Jeezy was out and Lil' Wayne was in
as the newest member of Boyz N Da Hood.
According to Russell 'Block' Spencer,
founder of the group and of Block Entertainment,
there was no bad blood between Jeezy
and the rest of the group.
He said, "It's not a replacement, it's a continuance.
"Jeezy only signed on for one album,
"and this is the way it was set out to be
"when it was first started."
Block also insisted that rapper T.I. signed on as well,
even though Atlantic Records denied the claim
about their artist.
Ironically, T.I. was one of the original members
of Boyz N Da Hood, which included Trick Daddy
and Sean Paul of Youngbloodz, before they were replaced
by the current members.
Jeezy also made headlines over a rivalry
with rapper Gucci Mane over their hit single, Icy.
There was a disagreement over the rights to the song
when the single was released.
Since then, the feud has escalated,
with both rappers releasing singles attacking one another.
As the quote made famous by the Spider-Man comics,
"With great power comes great responsibility,"
Jeezy can attest to this statement.
In 2005, Jeezy opened his home
to the Hurricane Katrina victims.
He provided shelter to complete strangers
who lost everything in one of the worst natural disasters
in American history.
If that wasn't enough, he got David Banner, T.I.,
and Atlanta music magazine editor Juice,
to head a drive to fill a dozen 18-wheel trucks
with supplies to take to the victims.
As one of the heads of the drive,
Jeezy urged Atlanta residents to donate necessities
such as water, canned goods, clothes,
baby formula, and diapers.
These supplies would go to the survivors
of Hurricane Katrina in Alabama, Mississippi,
and New Orleans.
Jeezy's also doing his part to increase literacy
with his soon-to-be-released book, Thug Motivation 101.
The book will encourage and challenge the notion
that children don't read.
According to the United Nations,
860 million adults worldwide are illiterate,
and over 100 million children do not attend school.
Jeezy said, "The problem is that kids pick up magazines
"and look through them, but they don't actually analyze
"the articles because they're not interested in the subject.
"When kids are interested in what they're reading,
"they'll sit down and take the time
"to go over it thoroughly."
Jeezy feels his book will give him the chance
to speak to a different audience at greater lengths.
He says that he can only say so much in his songs,
but he can go into details with his book,
which is both inspirational and a survival guide,
because it's tough in the real world.
What's next for Jeezy?
If you miss seeing him in a group,
look for him as part of United Streets Dopeboys of America,
or USDA for short.
This group, which includes Slick Pulla, Fi Chief,
and Big Dank, and of course Young Jeezy,
are about to drop a street album.
♪ Akon and Young Jeezy
♪ 'Cause I'm a survivor, yeah
Jeezy's also working on a new addition to the snowman tees.
He's partnered with Jay-Z's Rocawear clothing line
to create his own line called USDA,
which stands for United Streets and D-boy Apparel.
He's writing a motivational and inspirational book,
and working on a new solo album,
which he says will be better than his first.
"My first album is like one Friday out of my life.
"The second is gonna be like one Saturday,
"and you know Saturday is always better than Friday."
(cool, midtempo hip-hop music)
Here's some hip-hop trivia about Young Jeezy
that you may not know.
Did you know, contrary to popular belief,
Let's Get It wasn't Jeezy's debut solo album?
Going by the name Lil' J, in 2001,
the hip-hop artist released Thuggin Under The Influence.
Did you know Jeezy prefers a studio album to mixtapes?
He said, "On mixtapes, you can't really give people
"who you are.
"I think people will really relate to the album,
"Let's Get It.
"I'm not gonna tell you what you wanna hear
"because it sounds good, I'm gonna give it to you raw."
Did you know Jeezy doesn't deny his association
with the infamous Black Mafia Family,
who has been under investigation by the FBI
for organized crime and for their association
with the Crips, another gang?
Although Jeezy maintains his association with the group,
so far, he has not been part of any investigation.
Did you know, the 2002 film, Paid In Full,
which promotes car thieves, is one of Jeezy's favorites,
because he likes movies where the bad guys win?
Maybe you heard Jeezy has been linked to R&B sensation,
artist Keyshia Cole, since the 2005 Vibe Awards,
where they both won the Next Award.
They announced on MTV that they were not involved,
and talks about a romance were just a rumor.
In February 2006, fans got a taste of Jeezy
at the Rap Bowl in Detroit, Michigan,
when he performed with other Atlanta-based artists
which included Ludacris, who exploded onto the scene
in the early 2000s, and the Atlanta six-piece,
Disturbing Tha Peace, who are proteges of Ludacris.
Other performers included Juvenile,
Juelz Santana of Dipset, and Twista.
- Keep going, Young Jeezy.
(groovy rap music)
Finally, did you know his mixtape, Trap Or Die,
was inspired from being in the 'hood everyday?
"He said, "When you're in the 'hood, you're trapping,
"or you're grinding, or whatever,
"you gotta keep yourself entertained."
♪ 'Cause I'm a soul survivor
- That's it.
We're gone, cut!
- [Man] Eyemagine.
(graceful string music)