Exclusive - Jeezy Extended Interview

October 27, 2016 - Jeezy 10/27/2016 Views: 12,717

Rapper Jeezy describes a health care setback from his early days in music and talks about returning to his roots on the album "Trap or Die 3." (7:24)

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My guest tonight is aGrammy-nominated hip-hop artist

whose new album, Trap or Die 3, comes out tomorrow.

Please welcome Jeezy!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

-What's-what's going on?-Uh, what's going on, sir?

-I can't call it.-Welcome to the show.

For sure, for sure.Appreciate you having me.

This is a discussionwe've been having in the office.

-People have been arguingfuriously. -Right.

-Uh, you were knownas Young Jeezy. -Right.

-Uh, you are now known as Jeezy.-Right.

-What happened?-(laughter)

The money got grown,so I had to drop the "Young."

My taxes... You know,my-my commerce went up.

-I see. I see, I see.-I'm-I'm gonna applaud to that.

(laughs)Oh, "the money got grown."

I like that.Wel-Welcome to the show, man.

-Thank you for having me. -Yeah.Before we get into the music,

I wanted to chat to you about...We were talking in the headline

about, uh,having health insurance,

-how a lot of peopledon't have it. -Right.

And, uh, you've been makingyour money from the streets

-for a very long time.-Right.

Uh, I-I know a fascinating storyabout you,

-and that is you didn't have,uh, health insurance -Right.

-when you had to go for vocalcord surgery. -Health insurance.

-Right. I, uh, tore, uh,my vocal cords. -Yeah.

Um, I didn't have insurance,so I actually had to pay cash.

-I think it was $75,000.-(gasping, murmuring)

And I took a brown paper bagand counted all the money out

across the counter.(laughs)

-Now when this is happening...-Right.

...like, what is the personbehind the counter doing?

-(laughter) -Like, I want toknow how they're looking at you

-when you come in with a brownpaper bag. -I'm... Right. Right.

Like, you didn't even think ofgetting, like, bank?

But you're like,"Nah, brown paper bag."

Nah, I had to get a brownpaper bag. Um...

-(laughter) -It was a littleuncomfortable at first...

-Yeah. -But I was just like,"Listen, I have..."

Well, I couldn't talk, by theway, so somebody'd talk for me.

But... -Oh. So a guy comesin with no voice... -(laughter)

-A guy comes in with no voice.-Right.

-Just gets to the counter,put down -Right.

-And then just starts...-Right, right, right.

-(laughter)-And, um,

look, they thought I was crazy,but I had to get it done.

-Yeah.-And then, after the fact,

I had a great vocal coachwhich was name...

Her name was Jan.

And she had me singing all these

-"Do, rah, fay, la, la, me."-Yeah.

So everybody in the housethought I was going crazy.

I used to be in the showersinging, ♪ La-la, la-la, la.

I was tryingto get my voice back.

And I finally got it back,and, you know,

I just thank God for that,

because that was the beginningof my career.

And, uh, if I wouldn't have gotmy voice back,

-I wouldn't be here, you know?-You wouldn't be here today.

-Right. So it was great.-Uh, you have come.... Yeah.

-(applause and cheering)-You have, um... -Yeah.

-You... you've come a long way.-Right.

You tell a very familiar storywith your life, you know.

-Right. -And I thinkwhat's interesting is,

-a lot of people talk abouttrap rap these days. -Right.

Trap music.

What is trap music?

What does that mean?

Uh, trap is more of a lifestyle.

Um... in the wayI figure it, Trap or Die,

with my series and the seriesI've done,

were mix tapes in the beginning.

They was basically saying,

"If you die, you're takingthe options they give you."

-Yeah. -But if you trap,you're taking a chance.

So if you trap and you comefrom your mom's house

and you end up going to collegebecause you worked seven jobs

and you did what you had to do,that was trappin' to me.

-Yeah. -If you die,you just took whatever,

you know, they gave you,and just lived with that.

I grew up in a place whereeverybody had jobs at factories

and nobody ever made it out,and I was determined to be

the one that made it out,and that's what I did every day.

So anything that I had to do toget me here, that's what I did,

and that's whatI consider trapping, so...

It's the... it's fightingthrough the trap, I guess,

-Right. Right. -the world...the world that you're within.

-It's navigating, actually.-That's exactly what it is.

You know, you haveto navigate through life.

It's, like, you come into-- andthat's what I say what my music

is always about,letting people know

that there'salways another option,

you don't have to just,you know,

settle for what people give you.

You can't... so youcan't let people treat you

how they want to treat you--you got to show people

-how to treat you, you knowwhat I'm saying? -You, um...


You've had a... a career thatis more interesting than most,

because, you know,there are a lot of rappers

who have experienced success,

there are a lot of rapperswho haven't,

but there aren't many rapperswho have experienced success

-both, uh, on the streets,-Right.

in the world of trap,but then get shout-outs

from the presidentof the United States.

Yeah, shout-out to Obamafor shouting me out.


-My stock... my stock went up.-Now, you...

Yeah. Now... Yeah.

But what's interestingwith that is,

I mean, you know, places,obviously conservative places

-like Fox News,-Right.

who have always seen rap music

-as the epitome of violenceand hatred, -Oh, yeah.

-Yeah.-went at you specifically,

-Right.-and said, you know,

"How can anyone supportthis man?

How can anyone support someonewho raps about these things?"

How do you reconcile that story,because, you know,

-you preach about a life ofmoving forward. -Right, right.

-You preach about a lifeof improving yourself. -Right.

Uh, and then at the same time,in some of the rap lyrics,

-it's about gangsterism,-Right.

-it's about shooting,it's about drugs. -Right, right.

How, how do you reconcilethe two?

Y-you kill them with success,man.

You kill them with being great,you know?

You kill them with owning halfof Atlanta, you know?

-And, and they see...-(laughter)

You know, and they sit downand talk to me,

it's like, I'm-I'm so muchsmarter than you, man.

-You just have no idea.-Yeah.

And, uh, I was in a estab--one of my establishments

the other night, and the guytapped the manager, he said,

"Yo, why does he have his hat onin here?

This isa very prestigious place."

And the manager goes,"Because he's the owner."

He's like, "Who? That guy?"

(laughing):You know what I'm saying?

So you just kill themwith success.

They banned my T-shirts,

uh, the snowman T-shirtsfor what it represented.

And I just didn't reallyget that,

but that let me know howpowerful my voice was,

because if you don't,if you don't,

if-if you're not offendedor you don't feel a way

about what I'm doing, y-youshouldn't even worry about me.

Because I'm doing what I do.

And by the way, I'm a taxpayer,you know what I'm saying?

So why do you bother me,you know what I'm saying?

-Like, like, what'd I do wrong?-(laughter)

I get up,I go to work every day, like...

-You pay tax on the arts.-What's the problem?

-You pay tax on the art.-Right. -(applause)

-You, uh, you talk aboutpolitics a lot, though. -Right.

In fact, in fact, uh,on your previous album,

uh, you-you-you said thatyou spoke a little too much

-about politics in your music,-Right, right, right.

-and then the fans backed awayfrom that. -Right.

But-but you're not someone who'sbeen afraid to get involved,

which doesn't seem like the mostnormal place for a rapper to be.

Why do you talk about politics?Why do you talk about...

Like, in this election, you'vetalked about Trump and you've

talked about Hillary.What-what do you...

-what do you have to say aboutthat? -I mean, because I-I...

I'm the voice of a lot of peoplethat don't have a voice.

And it's-it's...I have a responsibility

to express my opinion,our opinion. And, um,

I think sometimes you just gotto let people know, man.

It's just like, we just can'tgo for anything. It's like,

the guy talks reckless,this guy talks...

How can you call a-a lady the devil on national TV

and think that you...we want you

to be our commander in chief?I just couldn't go for that.

-(cheering, applause)-You know what I'm saying?

-Trap or Die 3. -Right.

As the name suggests,third installment.

-Uh, it's Jeezy coming back.-Right.

What is the one thingyou want people

to take away from this album?

Um, well, it-it's... You know,just so you know the story,

um, I basically spentall my hard-earned money

to make mixtapes,and I gave those mixtapes out

-to get my buzz and that's howI got a record deal. -Yeah.

And that was the first Trap or Die.

And this is just taking it backto that very essence

of, you know, getting backto the grind and, you know,

getting back to the gristle,but if you listen to it

from front and back,the last title track

is called "Never Settle."And that's basically what

I'm saying. If you want to behere, you want to be able

to sit on this couch,or sit on this chair and

state your opinion, just neversettle for what they give you.

Just go hard every day,get up every day

and give it all you got.And never quit.

And that's it.

-(cheering, applause)-That's it.

Trap or Die will be availableat midnight tonight.