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Young Jeezy Interview On HipHopDX

The photo above was taken in Detroit in 2006, at a listening session for Young Jeezy’s second studio album, The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102. I remember being really surprised, because while everyone else at the event seemed dressed to impress the potential clients or love interests around them, Jeezy was incognito: black tee, black skullcap, and black jeans, with no flashy jewelry on (the ring and earrings in this photo were relatively modest compared to other artists’ chains and watches I’d seen at other events).  While traipsing around the club sipping my rum and Coke, I caught a glance of him tucked into a corner of a room by himself – no handlers, security, or entourage – fooling with his cell phone. He was an amiable host once the listening session began, but he seemed more at home while alone; I could virtually see him in that same uniform while on the corner years prior, earning his “Snowman” moniker by serving one fiend at a time. When I interviewed him over the phone with JYoung The General for Cultural Vibe on IMPACT 88.9FM for The Recession in 2008, I described his outfit and demeanor years earlier. “Yeah, that sounds like me all right,” he chuckled.

In a phone call this month for HipHopDX, it didn’t seem like much had changed. His buzz seesaws every other week between pushbacks and mixed reception on leaks, but the demeanor stayed the same. So rather than focus on the delays for his upcoming album Thug Motivation 103 (which is now eyeing a December 20 release), I asked him as much about what I envisioned from that demeanor as possible. As a result, I got a candid interview from the CTE head that’s highlighted by details about his brotherly relationship to respected southern producer Shawty Redd, and how his dedicated friendship may have altered the trajectory of TM103. An excerpt:

[Shawty Redd] called me the first time he got out on bond, and he called me the second day. I drove out to his house and shit, I saw him and we talked. He’s like, “Bruh, I don’t know what to do.” I just saw the frustration in his eyes. A lot of people don’t know that when a lot of people were saying, “Where’s Jeezy at with Thug Motivation 103, he’s bullshitting”…I went to his house one day when he got out, and I never left his house for six months. I stayed with Shawty and talked to him, every day and every night, because his mindstate wasn’t right. I thought, “What’s more important? My little brother, or the music?” I kind of got off my rocker, but for six months, I lived with Shawty Redd in his spare room. I bought a TV, some shit I like to do at the house, DVDs and playing cards, and I lived with Shawty Redd for six months to make sure he was straight.

This was one of my favorite interviews, so I hope you all enjoy it.

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