FEATURE: Young Jeezy, Trap to the Future
[Editor’s Note: These are the outtakes to the edited interview that appears in the September 2009 issue of XXL.]
XXL: Do you think [Thug Motivation] 103 is gonna be like The Recession? There were a lot of—not depressing just dark records [on The Recession].
Young Jeezy: No, no. I think this will be a revamp. We gotta start over. And I hate to sound crazy saying it like we just gotta reassess the situation. We gotta kinda bring our standards down, our expectations and just roll with the punches. 'Cause if you eating one way, and you get a minor setback, that don’t mean you quit. It don’t mean you stop hustling. It means you gotta hustle a lil' harder than you did to probably get half as that, but you able to provide for your family and your people. You know even with me, like real cats, real niggas pay to see me perform every club around the world all day, but where is it but nothing to pay $200, or $300 to get in the club to see me. Now it might be a issue, but they might not mind grinding no three times hard to still be able to do that and I appreciate them for that cause I gotta grind five times harder to make sure that I got the right things to say to them, so they wouldn’t mind coming for me.
XXL: In “Word Play” you say, “Yo, you saying Jeezy killed hip-hop?” and then it’s like you came with The Recession and everyone’s like, "Damn, Jeezy can make a conceptual song, or he can be lyrical." Do you feel a validation?
Young Jeezy: Nah! I think that within the two minutes of sitting down and talking to me that I’m really like a lot smarter than they think. I’m a lot wittier and I don’t look at it like that. I know who I’m talking to. And if I’m talking to a person that understands something in a certain way—most people relate to colors, numbers, whatever it is—you know it’s like slang. It’s like lingo. It’s culture and with culture you don’t have to say it the correct way or be over your head or over the top to get your point across. So I felt like if I could say “Trap or Die” and the whole hood felt me, like what’s there to be lyrical about? I was lyrical enough. They been reciting that shit for six years. So what’s your point? You know even with “Word Play” it’s like this what y’all want? Man, this shit is easy man. This shit is easier than the other shit. You know how hard it is to dig in your head and think about how many metaphoric ways that you can put the same thing together? Like, those words? Those are real words. Those test the hearts of men. Shake used to say that shit all the time. I’d used to tell him, “I don’t wanna touch somebody’s cell phone. I wanna touch the hearts of men. I don’t wanna be a ringtone rapper.” So I felt like, y’all want lyrical, you got fuckin'—who’s out there that’s lyrical right now?
Young Jeezy: Wayne…you got that. That’s you.
Young Jeezy: Jada. That’s all you but you want this shit? Come see me. I’ma give you that motivation. Like I ain’t gon go to a Christian Church if I’m catholic. Like what the fuck? Man, come on. A Baptist Church—it’s like the cultures are two different ways of life. I cater to these people, because these people are who I am. Like, cats in prison like, “Damn, that’s my nigga. Like, for real. Like, fuck what they talking bout. Fuck rap. I don’t even know him by that.” Like, you know what I’m saying, “Jeezy’s a good dude. He checks out.” And that’s what I do it for.
XXL: I was hearing an old interview of yours with Monie Love, and you said you were offended about Nas's Hip-Hop is Dead cause you were doing Hip-Hop so you felt like it's still alive. But now that you're one of the dudes that people really look to keep hip-hop alive in a sense, do you understand where Nas was coming from? I heard interviews where you're like, "Yo, we’re so saturated now and there is so much trash out here."
Young Jeezy: I feel what you're saying but at the same time, these young niggas out here, you would rather them be rapping than robbing your ass and who’s to say... The shit we grew up of, we thought was the shit, you couldn’t tell me that Pac and Big and UGK, all these niggas wasn’t the shit. Like, I can't tell that to my son, the younger people comin’ up. They like fuckin’ whoever, that’s they people like that, so to me it’s that transition but at the same time you gotta still have a respect for it because Big rapped about fuckin’ movin work and gettin’ money and shootin’ niggas and shit. What’s any different from what I’m saying? That’s how I took it. I couldn’t say that he was wrong or he was right or he was taking shots.
XXL: You have trouble relating to say even the XXL cover with the new dudes like Cudis, the Drakes, do you have trouble relating to that type of music?
Young Jeezy: Nah, nah! I fuck with Cudi and Drake, they cool, them niggas on they grind. I mean to be honest man, there’s enough for everybody if everybody stay in their lane.
XXL: Is it hard for you to hear a record like "Day 'N' Night" and be like, "Aight this is about being"—
Young Jeezy: You know, I didn’t understand it as much but when I seen that shit the other day when I was out [at some] club, some shit out there in Europe, I was like damn! But, at the same time that might not be something that I can regularly relate to but being in that situation, I could understand it and I be like, "Oh ok." You can't knock a nigga when he is getting his money. Everybody got [a] different talent, everybody don’t want to hear about what I talk about everyday. It’s always time for some Jeezy though, always time for some Jeezy.