“I had a friend who managed a studio and he called me one day and was like, ‘Yo, I have this kid up here in the studio who you should come check out.’ So I came up to the studio and I came to bring my producer’s beats up there and show some beats to them, and it was Young Jeezy, but at the time he was Little J. He wasn’t even rapping a lot. Then me and him started rocking and we established a good relationship and I told him he needed to rap, and he was like, ‘I’m a CEO.’ But I told him, ‘Man, you gotta rap. You got a dope voice. All your artists are rapping about your lifestyle.’
“Jeezy once called me at three o’clock in the morning…It’s three in the morning and he’s like, ‘I found it. I found my sound. I got it.’ I went and met him at a gas station off Highway 75 and he played me this record, ‘Hold Up,’ and I lost my mind. I was like, ‘Dude, you got it. You found who you are.’ So we put that mixtape, Streets Is Watching, out. Prior to that I put out so many posters and fliers. I’d been getting tired of putting those up and I was like, ‘We need to put some music out.’ I’d always liked mixtapes and I’d followed the whole trend of the New York mixtape scene. Like, 50 Cent was doing his mixtape run then and he was putting original music on them instead of rapping over people’s beats. So I took what 50 was doing in New York and I did it in Atlanta.
“No one else was doing it at the time. Not with original records. They were keeping them for their albums. We did it with the mixtape. We pressed up 30,000 units and we gave them away all in one weekend, the Birthday Bash weekend in Atlanta. That was the summer of 2004. That was July; by September we started getting calls for shows and that was when it took off. That’s when the streets were just going crazy. In January 2005, we put out the biggest mixtape to ever hit the streets, Trap Or Die. It was something that had never been done before. We did a whole campaign for the mixtape release party. 4,000 people came to the releases party. We literally had like a sweat shop set up packaging the DVDs, shrink wrapping them with blow driers. It was crazy. We weren’t really prepared for what we had. It exploded.”
On the split: ”We came to a disagreement. I guess he felt like he could do it himself. Surely, I’m not gonna say it’s obvious, but he needed my help.”