To hear him tell it, Young Jeezy’s rap career happened by chance.
“Do you want to try it?” he recalls his longtime friend and Corporate Thugz Entertainment business partner/CEO, Kink, asking him when other rappers they tried to groom ended up, in Jeezy’s words, either dead or in jail.
The entire story of how the trap star came to be a hip-hop star is portrayed in the ATLien’s latest project, a documentary titled, A Hustlerz Ambition, which he premiered in New York City’s Sunshine Cinema last night (November 29) to guests that included Hot 97′s DJ Enuff, Power 105.1′s Angela Yee and rappers Vado and A$AP Rocky, among many others. The film is directed by Chris Robinson and narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson.
“New York City, we in the building or what?” Jeezy, sporting dark sunglasses and a beige ribbed sweater, asked the crowd after being introduced by Island Def Jam President Steve Bartels. “It’s been a long time coming for TM103. The album is incredible, but I felt I owed y’all more than that.”
The doc depicts Young Jeezy’s many struggles, including feeling abandoned by his military father—who walked out on him, his mother and his sister when Jeezy was a child— starting his drug-dealing career at the tender age of 11 with $40 his uncle Bo Sling loaned him, finding his drug and alcohol-abusing mother in a crack house once and meeting his best friend Kink during a stint at boot camp.
Check out the first trailer of the documentary here.
One of the most touching moments in the doc is when Jeezy explains some of the health issues that struck him while he attempted to become a rapper, including a disease that attacked his vocal chords, preventing him from talking and forcing him to get surgery—which he paid for in cash due to lack of health insurance—in the middle of recording his debut LP, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101.
Jeezy also spoke on his son as he explained having to get a paternity test to prove the child was his. The vulnerable moment made the audience see him in a different light.
The movie also details how Jeezy kicked off his rap career and caught the attention of the big dogs in the music industry with his 2004 mixtape, The Streetz is Watchin, hosted by DJ Drama, as well as how he used Atlanta strip clubs as a platform, and later ended up in a major label bidding war that eventually landed him at Def Jam.
Diddy, Jay-Z, Bun B, T.I., Drake, Rihanna, DJ Khaled and Island Def Jam SVP Shawn “Pecas” Costner, all appear in the documentary, as well as Jeezy’s mother, various aunts and friends, explaining Jeezy’s rise to fame and singing his praises as a rapper that is closely connected to the streets and finds a perfect balance between both worlds.
The deluxe edition of Young Jeezy’s Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition will be packaged with the documentary, which hits stores on December 20.—Mariel Concepcion @Mceezy