I’m a King

74.XXL/200/jeezy1.jpgThe elevator stops on 29, but it’s the wrong floor. It’s actually the right floor, just not the intended destination. A healthy-looking sister in a flowing white summer dress greets the visitors and escorts them down an interior set of mahogany steps to the correct level. “He’s not here right now,” she says. “But y’all can wait.” The “he” of whom she speaks is Antonio “LA” Reid, chairman of Island-Def Jam Music Group. (You know, Jay-Z’s boss.) “Here” is his office, nestled inside the hallowed walls of a 38-story building in Midtown Manhattan. “Y’all” is a group of men comprised of a manager named Coach K; a lawyer named Donald Woodard; and Young Jeezy, a man known, loved, and feared on Southern streets as the last word in reality rap. At this moment, a monorail of an itinerary has Jeezy and his representatives inside Reid’s quarters for “a very crucial meeting.” But Jeezy will wait. Patience has been hard learned through his 26 years—especially during those working the notorious Southern drug trade, a.k.a. the Trap.

In his trademark Chanel shades and black headband-style bandanna, Young Jeezy exemplifies the oft-flung hip-hop phrase “a hustler grindin’.” After independently amassing a following of state-parade proportions below the Mason-Dixon Line, he’s garnered himself a solo seat here at the Reid-Carter Estate, as well as a roster spot on P. Diddy’s Southern expansion team, Boyz N Da Hood. Simultaneously cashing checks from two of hip-hop’s most prestigious brands? Quite a coup for someone who doesn’t even consider himself a musical artist. “I don’t even want to be no rapper,” he says. “The only time I’m rapping is when I’m in that booth. I don’t walk around with no pad or no pen. I know I got love for this music ’cause it’s a hustle.”

74.XXL/200/jeezy2.jpgIt’s a hustle Jeezy has studied well. In today’s street-cred obsessed rap market, an artist’s lifestyle is often more important than his talent. (Think DMX or Jim Jones.) It’s safe to say that many of Jeezy’s fans are more intrigued by the man than the music. As another popular aphorism would put it: He gets it how he lives. “Tupac was one of the realest,” says Jeezy. “And everybody bought his records ’cause he was that type of dude. I want to be in that position. Not a position where I might have a hot song and then three months later you don’t know who I am. I’d rather be in the hearts and minds instead of on the shelves.”

But who is Young Jeezy, really? They say he’s from Atlanta. He says he’s not. They say he’s just another dope boy trying to launder dirty cash. He says he’s just rap’s “Trapper of the Year,” trying to come clean. They say he’s a part of one of the country’s fiercest orga-nized gangs, BMF (Black Mafia Family). He says, “No comment.” They say he’s trouble. His label says he’s the future.

Jay Jenkins was actually brought into the world somewhere in North Carolina. He moved to southern Georgia, though, at such a young age, he doesn’t even know where in North Carolina he was born. It wasn’t like Jeezy had much Q&A time with his folks—he describes his childhood as “empty.” Most heavily influenced by a set of older cousins he says were the first cats earning serious street money in Atlanta, young Jay was entranced by the flash and fast cash of the mid-’80s lifestyle. Ferraris and four-finger rings, big block cellulars and local rap crews like the Hardy Boys on payroll. To hear him tell it, it was like Paid in Full meets I’m Bout It. When he was 10, though, the dudes who’d kept him fresh to death and envied in the school yard were suddenly yanked away and sent to the penitentiary.

His parents were separated. When his mom couldn’t handle him anymore, she’d send him to his dad. When dad got tired, he’d shoo him to an aunt, then a grandmother, and so on. By the time he was 12, Jeezy had moved out and hit the streets. Still yearning for the high life his cousins had shown him, he cut ties with kin and took to trapping on his own.

“When you being a G, it’s hard going through your day knowing how your family feels about you,” he says. “You in gunfights and all kinds of dumb shit, and they steady calling you like, ‘Are you okay?’ Then the [thought] of getting caught and doing real time, you don’t want that on your conscience when you know you had a chance. It’s almost like being in the military—you wanna serve your country, so you gotta be away from your family and deal with what you gotta deal with.”

A “great meeting” with LA Reid helps Jeezy to forget that it’s 1 p.m., he’s been awake since 5:30 a.m. after falling asleep at 4 a.m., and he has a nonstop day of press and a night of recording ahead of him. Next up for Jeezy is an on-camera interview with the Music Choice television network. In a plain white studio a couple blocks north of Madison Square Garden, he sits on a stool and slyly avoids the adorable dreadlocked reporter’s questions as to exactly why he calls himself “Da Snowman.” A one-on-one with DJ Envy at Sirius radio follows, it’s Jeezy’s second radio interview of the day (the first was at 6 a.m., for Hot 97’s morning show). And again Jeezy is tight lipped about his days on the streets. He doesn’t say much about the nine months he spent at a Savannah, Ga., boot camp in 1994 on a possession charge. He keeps his past in the past.

  • http://xxlmag.com bobdigi

    When you gonna put some real hip hop in this magazine? No one gives a fuck about wack ass young jeezy!!!

  • King Worth

    what it do thia shit on Jeezy is pure fucking genius. Besides T.I. (The King) Jeezy is royalty these other “crappers” betta watch out this young nigga is serious

  • Vanesha

    Nah TI the KING of the South and Lil Wayne is the President of the rap game which means he teaches all to become good… Young Jeezy Nope you will never be the King you more like the prince get that shit right next time… Your ass still hot but nobody got my man Lil Wayne fuck Trina he with the Queen now (me)

  • bluerid

    im tired so didnt read it but peace im listening to damian marley so im singing for the moment PEACE

  • Jade Star

    Jeezt gets his props I fukks wit da dude. I fukks wit TI and Lil Wayne too. I like how ere’body who’s gangsta in da South is cool wit each other. But Dem Framchise Boys and D4L need to cut dat bullshit out cuzz they are really makin da South look bad and givin Hip Hop a bad name fo’ real. And ya’ll hoes need to get off that groupie shit. Them niggas don’t give a flying fukk about you!!!!!

  • Bubb

    he didn’t say nothing!

  • http://source one

    jeezy is nothing but a fake ass jadaskiss.he looks like jada. he sounds like jada.he wants to be jadakiss.
    he stole the niggas whole idenity.
    fuck young jeezy and the south!!!!!!!

    • Okom’bo

      Nigga y u tryna play em hates role? man show luv.

  • trakdeala from dc

    one you a bitch that why dc got at camron

  • ItzNiquieBabi

    Man i aint even read the article. to me T.I. aint the damn king of the south jeezy aint got their yet. I aint sayin Lil wayne is but he is doing better then most of these other rappers out the south. he just aint got his regonition yet. lets compare the data shall we. T.i has onli had 4 albums all together and onli 2 of em went platium….Lil wayne has had 5 albums all together and out of 5 onli 4 went platinum. lil wayne on his was there..he just need to try harder….cuz if u ask me the cater 2 is in no way compared to the carter. Now tell me im lying. but jeezy still got a lil ways to go before he come out talkin bout “the king” t.i. gave himself the title as the king….nobody gave that shit to him

  • http://myspace famboi23

    look any muthafucka who say dey from da streets but say jeezy is aint shti dont know wat da fuck dey talking bout and just hating.dis is 1 of da realist niggas to come out da south.da man speaks wats in da streets so if u aint from da streets u aint gonna like him. if he wasnt a real nigga we(da streets)wouldnt listen.

  • http://xxlmag.com young stunna

    JEEZY MY NIGGA I AINT RIDIN NUTTS BUT HE FIRE DSC 4 LIFE

  • glenwood 107

    I’m so tired of erbody hatin on Da Snowman, get it get it? yall niggas slow man. Jezzy rep for the trap niggas, THUG MOTIVATION 101. He aint claiming to be a rapper, he’s poet for the streets and anybody who know anything about this cat know that he’s affiliated, BMF you stupid MF’s. He talk trap cause that’s all he knows like yall hate cause that’s all yall know. If you aint no street nigga, dopeboy, trapper or whateva you may call it where you from, damn right you aint gonna feel him cause you don’t know what the fuck he’s screamin. Some of you MF’s hate the fact that he screams my city in every song, AAYYYEEE and he’s yo favorite rappers favorite rapper. Peep this, Jigga don’t do songs wit nobody but jeezy now so whatcha sayin? HAHA

  • brittany

    oh get it right cause t.i. had three albulms out of four that went plantium that is urban legend trap muzik and king so sit down and shut up if u dont know what u are talking about lil wayne is not the truth even his own hometown dont claim him u can ask juve and bg tha nigga is a lame straight up

  • ice

    let get shyt str8 if u aint a reel nigga u aint gonna feel wayne’s flow BG n dem jus hatin cuz dey aint on da game lk wayne n jeezy aint got shyt on weezy wit his sutter flow n TI gud i giv him props but he aint on da shit lk wayne jus listen 2 wat da nigga sayin n stop hatin

  • velli504

    WHAT IS “REAL HIP HOP” U NIGGAS IS LAME…Y CANT WE ALL EAT OFF THE SAME PLATE, U HATERS GOT TO STOP…US NIGGAS FROM THE SOUTH NEVER HATED ON THE NORTH CAUSE WE’RE HUSTLAS, WE’RE HAPPY WHEN R PEOPLE R GETTN IT YA HEARD ME

  • Jamar

    What the fuck T.I. And Lil’ Wayne gotta do wit Jeezy Jeezy ia a real street nigga Lil’ Wayne And T.I. is some made for T.V. Ass niggaz Jeezy is a all the way no commercial ass street nigga

  • Jamar

    T.I. And Lil’ Wayne don’t got shit to do with Jeezy Jeezy is a real hard street nigga he don’t gotta claim no king of the south type shit.Or he don’t claim himself as the best rapper alive, he’s a street nigga.

  • Pingback: Ghost Rider Radio™Young Jeezy “A Hustlerz Ambition” (Documentary) |

  • Pingback: Young Jeezy's Religion and Political Views | The Hollowverse

  • Smart nigga

    Big dope man and he got one possession beef? Stop actin, studio gangsta faggot. At you 35, you aint “young” or “yung” no more.