Young Jeezy: True ‘Thug Motivation’

“I like to be up on the crowd,” says Young Jeezy of performing in smaller venues.
BENNETT RAGLIN/GETTY IMAGES

Can a former hustler who sells motivational speeches from the ’hood perspective survive without reality show-level media hijinks or social media oversharing? If the former hustler in question is Young Jeezy, that would be a yes. The rapper stands out in a world where some MCs and video vixens wear the same pants.

The third and final chapter of the Atlanta MC’s series is “Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition.” The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 charts this past December and was certified gold by January. His fans waited nearly two years for it, and it goes to show that Jeezy’s brand of hardcore has not gone unmissed by his almost cultlike fan base. That relationship is one which Jeezy seems to appreciate and understand.

“We just have that connection,” he says. “A lot of people aren’t from the streets or from the trap but they know what grinding is all about. They know what getting up early in the morning to go after a dream is like. ”

With high profile guests like T.I., Andre 3000, Ne-Yo, Fabolous, Jill Scott and Jay-Z, “TM:103” is on the verge of being Jeezy’s biggest work.

Currently on the road, Jeezy says he prefers the intimate setting of large theaters over megavenues. It helps strengthen that connection he speaks of, with his fans.

“The 30,000 seaters you have screens, the lights and all the production and so forth,” he says. “It takes away from the feeling of it. I like to be up on the crowd.”

‘Buying into me’

Jeezy says his full length albums have done well in the age of the $1.29 song because of his persona.
“I don’t have a problem selling units because they aren’t just buying one song. They are buying into me.”


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