Believe it or not, there is a limit to how much a rapper can (or should) mention "flippin' bricks," "gettin' it for the low," or still "meeting papi at the dock." But if they stop talking about this lifestyle, will fans get bored and move on? What are they to do?
"I remember being posted up on the first and the third/Just re'ed up/Nigga got a nine piece" are the first bars Jeezy spits on "1/4 Block" off his latest album, Seen It All: The Autobiography. Though, still on point with witty remarks about his pre-fame Snowman days, Jeezy has refrained from speaking as though that wild life is current, opting to take a more personal and distanced approach to his past. He's an ever evolving character.
Jeezy took some time out on the road to speak to us about trap music, the tragedy in Ferguson, Kendrick Lamar, a possible Trap Or Die 3, and he even asked us a couple of questions of his own.
New Times: I look at Seen It All as a mature version of all of your previous albums combined. Am I off with that observation?
Jeezy: No, man. You're absolutely right, man. That was more or so the goal. Kinda consolidate everything into one body of work and tell my story all the way from Thug Motivation 101, The Inspiration and The Recession and TM 103. Those are all clips, small clips, of my life and things I was going through, but never the other side. Never the personal, the way I was feeling about when I was going through it.
So, what I did was sat back and reflect on my whole life and try to put it in an album form -- at least my life before I got into music -- and put it in an album form that people that's been following me since day one can kinda understand and can keep the story going.
The single "Seen It All," though great the way it is, every time I hear that song, I feel like a verse from B.G. would've been dope because of his background and story.
That's the homie, man. You know, I think that Seen It All sounds more like an East Coast record. I think as far as B.G., he has New Orleans roots so his battles are different. The way he tells his stories are different. I grew up being a big fan of B.G. I've studied everything he's done from Choppa City to Choppa City in the Ghetto to all that. To the whole Hot Boyz movement.
Have you spoken to him recently?
I've spoke to him through some mutual friends that we have, and he's in right now. He's doing good. I'm just glad he's healthy and getting rest, and he's taking care of himself, because B.G. was wildin' when he was home, but he's good now. He's focused, and he's getting his mind right, so when he hits them streets he'll be back on his grind.
You've said before that you are a fan of Kendrick Lamar, and he had Thug Motivation 101 playing throughout his album. How did the remix to "Holy Ghost" with him come about?
I actually hit Kendrick, and we just talked about doing different records, and I did "Holy Ghost," and I thought about it. I was going to put Kanye on it. I reached out to Kendrick around the same time, and he was like, "Cool. Just send it to me." I sent it to him, he sent it back about a week later, week or so later, and I just liked where he went with it. I was like, "You know what? I'm going to hold this for the remix."
Actually, it was supposed to be on the original album, but I wanted to hold it because I felt like I wanted to bring in my whole story. I wanted them to hear the verse with Kendrick on it as well. So, I just kinda put that out a little bit later.
In the past decade how has trap music as a genre evolved?
When I came up, you know, we came up in a different era, so our rules and our morals are a little different. We didn't get high. We didn't do certain things. We just had a different type of understanding. Now it's a lot of '80s babies and a lot of younger kids and they got different rules that they laid out. They enjoy being live. They don't mind doing what it is they do, whether it's doing xan or sippin' lean. That just changes the picture of music. So the music is more or so partyish now when you think of trap music, more so than serious.
When we was coming up, the records was serious like Pocket Full of Stones and When the Feds in Town. Those the type of records UGK was making. But now if you hear the records they're different. They're more, "I'm going to have a good time. I'm going to enjoy my life, because I don't know when it might end." You got to respect it one way or another because that's the new generation. Those are the rules and the rules they set for themselves.
Is there something you haven't seen but would love to?
One thing in particular or you know...
No, not necessarily one thing.
I would love to see some justice with a lot of this bullshit that is going on in the world. I would love to see that. From Ferguson on down. I would love to see some justice one way or another.
What I'm witnessing today is this whole brutality and taking your job out of context and doing things that you want to do. I don't feel there's a lot of justice out there and it's causing people to be on eggshells when it comes to dealing with different law enforcement agencies, because it is getting real down here. I would love to see that come to a stop, because I feel that it's only going to get worse with time. We don't want to see anything else bad happen. Right now we have enough shit going on with Ebola and ISIS. If we can't control our own communities, we headed for turmoil.
You came out with Trap Or Die in 2005 and Trap Or Die 2 in 2010. Is 2015 the year for Trap Or Die 3?
I mean, I've been thinking about it, man. I got to get some more regression, because if I go in, I'm going in. I've just been thinking about it, man. But I'm definitely going to do something big for the Trap Or Die reunion. I have to do something big. That's like an official trap holiday.
When that tape dropped, it brought back so many memories just by listening to the tape. I just think it deserves that type of attention. And that's a national trap holiday by the way. Nobody working, no trap. All doors closed.
I will say "U Ain't Perfect," every time I listen to it, I feel like I need another minute or two more.
That's why I did it like that. I recorded that song in the hood. I recorded that song in somebody's apartment in the middle of the projects in Jackson, Mississippi, when I was doing my promo run. I happened to go by the producer's house. He sent me some tracks, and I just did it right then and there. I was like I'm going to keep it short. That's one of my favorite records off that mixtape.
OK, now you can ask me a question.
Ok, what do you think the best song off the Seen It All album is?
I love "Holy Ghost."
Let me ask you another question, how do you feel like "Holy Ghost" relates to you?
The second verse is what really does it for me, because when you're talking about, "Gave you your first mill/I ain't tell you to blow it/I ain't tell you to throw it," I've been in the same situations. I didn't have a million dollars, I didn't give anybody a million dollars. But it's like you give those people that you keep tight in your circle, this isn't your friend, this is your family, your brother, this is your blood, and you help give them something, and then they do something 180 of what they should've done, or they bounce and take you for a sucker.
And that's when they get weak. When they start acting weak that means you got to be strong. And that's the moral to that record. When people start acting not like the person you thought they were, that means you got to be better than who you thought you was.
Follow Lee Castro on Twitter: @LeeMCastro
Jeezy with Full Band. 7 p.m., Tuesday, October 21 at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $40 in advance, $43 day of show, plus fees. Call 954-449-1025, or visit jointherevolution.net.