Jay Wayne Jenkins (born October 12, 1977), better known by his stage name Young Jeezy, is an American rapper. He is a member of the hip hop group United Streets Dopeboyz of America (USDA) and a former member of BMF (Black Mafia Family). He began his career in 2001 under an independent label and joined Boyz 'N Da Hood in 2005, the same year his solo major label debut Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 was released. Its single "Soul Survivor", which featured Akon, became a top-ten hit in the US.
The Inspiration followed in 2006, and The Recession followed in 2008; both albums yielded chart-topping singles. Jeezy has also appeared on numerous other rap and R&B singles such as "Say I" by Christina Milian, "I'm So Paid" by Akon, "Hard" by Rihanna, and "Love in This Club" by Usher, the latter being a number one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2008.
Jeezy released his first independent album, Thuggin' Under the Influence (T.U.I.), in 2001 under the name Lil J. It featured artists such as Freddy J.,Kinky B, Fidank, and Lil Jon, who also produced some of the tracks. In 2003, Jeezy released (also independently) Come Shop wit Me, a two CD set featuring completely new tracks with some songs from T.U.I. Jeezy signed with Bad Boy Records in 2004 and joined the group Boyz n da Hood, whose self-titled album was released in June 2005 and peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 albums charts.
Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 (2005)
In May 2004, Jazze Pha's manager Henry 'Noonie' Lee showed Young Jeezy's demo to his friend Shakir Stewart, Vice President Artist and Repertoire (VP A&R) at Def Jam. Stewart "fell in love with it [the demo] the first time [he] heard it" and took it to L.A. Reid. Reid recognised the talent and gave Stewart the green light to sign him. As the "hottest thing on the street" at the time, various labels - including Warner and Interscope – were after his signature. However, Jeezy decided he wanted to be in business with Stewart and Reid. As a result, signed with Def Jam Records.
Jeezy's major label debut, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, was released on July 26, 2005. He debuted at #2, selling 172,000 copies in its first week. It spawned several hit singles such as "Soul Survivor" featuring Akon. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks charts. "And Then What" featuring Mannie Fresh, which reached #67 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the Hot Rap Tracks. "My Hood", #19 on the Rap chart. In an interview with HitQuarters, A&R Shakir Stewart said that Jeezy had recorded over 60 songs for the album.
Jeezy partially wrote and performed on Gucci Mane's song, "Icy". Supposedly, Jeezy was never paid properly for his services. Those in Gucci Mane's camp have suggested that gang members from the Mechanicsville area attacked Gucci Mane to defend Jeezy's honor. Jeezy put out a track called "Stay Strapped" dissing Gucci Mane to the beat of "T.I.'s" song "A.S.A.P." Jeezy responded to Gucci Mane's, while rapping "even his own momma know, Radric Davis a bitch". In a recent Cutmaster C mixtape, The Hood News Page 3: Jay-Z Boycotts Cristal, Gucci disses Jeezy along with Jay Z in his track, "745". Jeezy addresses Gucci back on the same mixtape. While on the track "Break It Down", featuring Cmillz. On "Streets On Lock", from The Inspiration, Jeezy addressed Gucci Mane again, saying "What type of real nigga name himself after a bag?/Nigga you's a hoe, a Louis Vuitton fag". Towards the end of 2009, DJ Drama brought Young Jeezy to the radio station and called Gucci Mane to settle the beef once and for all. The two stopped feuding but throughout early 2010, the crews of Jeezy & Gucci (CTE & Brick Squad) have been in and out altercations with each other despite the fact Jeezy & Gucci have nothing to do with that. In 2011, Jeezy plans to release a new single featuring DJ Spluge and the rest of the Gangster Brigade.
In interviews and on several records, Jeezy has affirmed his resistance to commercialism in his music. Maintaining his street credibility, according to Jeezy, is of the utmost concern to him as an artist. In 2005, Jeezy was featured in several popular hip hop songs including Gucci Mane's "Icy" and Boyz n da Hood's "Dem Boyz". Due to having a successful solo career, he left the group. From time to time he still keeps in contact with a few of the members, but in early 2010 Jeezy & Jody Breeze (who is still a member of Boyz N Da Hood) began to diss each other which started a new beef between the two.
The Inspiration, U.S.D.A. (2006–2007)
In 2006, he was featured in Christina Milian's single "Say I". Jeezy's second major label album was The Inspiration, released in 2006. The album's first single "I Luv It" peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Bury Me A G" and "Go Getta" featuring R. Kelly, and "Dreamin’" featuring Keyshia Cole followed.
He also portrayed himself in the hip-hop fighting themed game Def Jam: Icon. In 2007, Jeezy released Cold Summer, an album by rap group USDA which consists of Jeezy, Blood Raw, Slick Pulla, 2Eleven and Boo Rossini.
Jeezy presented a week-long toy drive and charity event series with his CTE family with the first annual Toyz n da Hood toy drive. The series presented 1,000 toys for 1,000 kids at various locations in Macon and Atlanta, which began on December 17, 2007, with the CTE Christmas Kickoff from 10 pm to 5 am at Club Miami. The toy giveaway took place in the Unionville neighborhood of Macon and at the Old Fourth Ward Community in Atlanta.
The Recession (2008)
His third album, The Recession, was released in 2008. "Put On" featuring Kanye West was the lead single, which also led to a Grammy Nomination for Best Rap performance by a duo, but it came short. Put On was followed by "Vacation", "Crazy World", "My President" with Nas, and "Who Dat" to complete the Recession's singles. Jeezy appeared on the R&B singles "Love in This Club" by Usher and "I'm So Paid" by Akon (also with Lil Wayne). "Love in This Club" peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later, he performed on Ciara's single "Never Ever", from her album Fantasy Ride.
In the summer of 2008, Jeezy was at the center of a controversy over his choice for president. While he had previously endorsed Barack Obama, he spoke about meeting and supporting John McCain during an interview with Vibe magazine. The statement caused a stir, and Jeezy quickly clarified his choice, via a viral video. In the four-minute explanation, Jeezy made it clear, Obama was his main choice. "I represent the Democratic party. ... I've never been nor do I ever plan to be a John McCain supporter", the rapper said. "I support Barack Obama." Jeezy and Jay-Z performed in a concert to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 18, 2009. On The O'Reilly Factor, commentator Bill O'Reilly criticized their performance as a "rant that offended people", but Jeezy responded: "I got white friends. It's nothing like that. I'm a taxpayer, I got a right to voice my opinion at any point in time. I don't think he really understands my struggle."
Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition (2011-present)
Jeezy is working on Thug Motivation 103, his latest LP, as of November 2009. In March 2010, it was reported that Young Jeezy dropped "Young" from his stage name. Later, Young Jeezy denied the name change and claimed it was just a rumor: however, on the cover for his single "Lose My Mind", his name is printed as "Jeezy". On May 17, 2011, Jeezy released the first single for Thug Motivation 103, "Ballin", which features Lil Wayne.
On March 4, 2010 Jeezy released the track "Illin", featuring the group Clipse; specifically Pusha T. On the track Pusha T raps, "No amount of record sales could derail this ...Stuffing dead prezzies in the wall like that Yale bitch..." The line was controversial and many felt the line was in bad taste and demeaned Yale student Annie Le, who was murdered in 2009, by making light of a crime that had grabbed a lot of media attention due to its extremely upsetting and tragic nature. On July 22, 2011, Young Jeezy released the second single off TM103, "Shake Life". On July 26, 2011, Young Jeezy announced a September 20, 2011 release date for TM103. However the album was pushed back yet again, this time to December 20, 2011. On September 29, 2011, Young Jeezy released the third single off TM103, named "F.A.M.E. (Fake Ass Mothafu*kas Envy)", featuring T.I. This is the first official song T.I. was featured on since his latest stint in prison.
He is a personal friend of fellow Atlanta rapper Yung Joc. After Hurricane Katrina, Jeezy opened his house to the victims in an effort to help them have a place to stay. In October 2005, the mother of his 9 year old son used this as the basis to petition for child support. Early in the year, she had claimed that she had little income, no assets and did not even have a house.
On March 11, 2005, Jeezy was arrested after an alleged shooting involving some of his friends in Miami Beach, Florida. He was charged with two counts of carrying a concealed firearm without a permit; however, prosecutors dropped his charges two months later over lack of evidence. In the early hours of September 29, 2007, Jeezy destroyed his Lamborghini when it was hit by a taxi crossing Peachtree Street, outside of Justin's, Sean Combs’s restaurant in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported his claim that this gave him "a new appreciation for life". In Atlanta on June 18, 2008, police arrested him for DUI.
- Studio albums
- BET Awards
- 2010, Viewer's Choice Award ("Hard") with Rihanna [Won]
- 2009, Best Male Hip-Hop Artist [Nominated]
- 2008, Best Collaboration ("I'm So Hood [Remix]") with DJ Khaled, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Birdman, & Rick Ross [Nominated]
- BET Hip-Hop Awards
- 2008, Best Hip-Hop Video ("I'm So Hood [Remix]") with DJ Khaled, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Birdman, & Rick Ross [Nominated]
- 2008, Best Hip-Hop Collabo ("I'm So Hood [Remix]") with DJ Khaled, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Birdman, & Rick Ross [Won]
- 2008, People's Champ Award ("Put On") with Kanye West [Nominated]
- 2006, Hip-Hop CD of the Year ("Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101") [Nominated]
- 2006, Hip-Hop MVP of the Year [Nominated]
- Grammy Awards
- 2009, Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group ("Put On") with Kanye West [Nominated]
- 2010, Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group ("Amazing") with Kanye West (Nominated)
- 2011, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group ("Lose My Mind") with Plies (Nominated)
- Ozone Awards
- 2008, Best Rap Artist [Nominated]
- 2008, Best Rap/R&B Collaboration ("Love in This Club") with Usher (Won)
- 2007, Best Rap Album The Inspiration (Won)
- 2007, Best Rap/R&B Collaboration ("Go Getta") with R. Kelly [Nominated]
- 2007, Best Video ("Grew Up a Screw Up") with Ludacris [Nominated]
- 2007, Best Group with Slick Pulla & Blood Raw as USDA [Nominated]