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66th GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala & GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Honoring Jon Platt - Arrivals

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Jeezy, born Jay Wayne Jenkins’, journey stretches from the gritty streets of Atlanta to the pinnacles of global recognition.  His story encapsulates a narrative rich in resilience, philanthropy, and entrepreneurial prowess.  In a candid conversation with Radio/TV personality Jazmyn Summers, the multiplatinum grammy nominated founder of trap music shares the intimate corridors of his life, where triumphs and tribulations intertwine to shape a remarkable legacy.

YOU REVEAL THAT YOU WERE DEPRESSED AND DIDN’T KNOW IT.  YOU’VE STRUGGLED WITH ALCOHOLISM BUT NOW YOU’RE ON A HEALING JOURNEY.

The alcoholism came with self-soothing. It came with my upbringing. My uncles and my aunts, everybody drank. Everybody got they checks and they went to the liquor stores. For me, It was a way for me to escape what was going on because I wasn’t doing any drugs.  I thought I could control it at first. And it was cool until I started to get a little older. I started to have real issues and it was something I had to get out of.  I had to really fight through it. And don’t get me wrong, I still have a glass of wine every now and then but I’m not using it as a tool to self-soothe anymore. I’m celebrating something.

WHAT LESSONS CAN YOU OFFER TO OTHERS, PARTICULARLY BLACK MEN ABOUT TAKING THAT DIFFICULT PATH OF HEALING?

As Black men, we’re ashamed of putting that out there but I’m going to tell you as somebody who’s been through a lot of stuff, iIf you don’t start to work through it you’re gonna self-destruct and you’re gonna bring everything down around you.  I’m in a position of leadership. I know that if I’m leading men and women I have to be in my best mental space.Especially when you come from a place where the decisions you make may cause people time in prison and time away from their families. What happens is a lot of these young black men get into this culture  and they think once I get $40 million I’ll be straight.  But I found that money actually amplifies the problem because you don’t have the same rules and you got access to anything.  Not to say we don’t want money. But you ever seen where you have these billionaires and they’re more depressed than somebody that’s living on the street corner? They got everything, but they ain’t did the work on themselves and it’s like a refrigerator.  If you leave stuff in the refrigerator for a long time. If you don’t clean it out what happens? Once you open it up you’re dealing with spoiled food and this, that, and the other.  If you keep these things inside of yourself and you don’t clean yourself out over time this is what happens.

REVOLT World 2023

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YOUR NEW ALBUM “I FORGIVE BUT I DON’T FORGET” REVEALS A MORE VULNERABLE SIDE OF JEEZY, WHY?

The reason why this album sounds different is because around this time I perfected my journaling and it’s like taking 20-something songs out of my journal.  And it’s real. It wasn’t for monetary gain. It was ‘I’m gonna let you guys inside my journal. That’s how I feel about all this sh*t that’s going on.  I’m gonna forgive but I’m not going to forget because I know better.   Forgiving ain’t for them it’s for me.

YOU SAMPLE GLENN JONES IN ‘WHAT I GOTTA DO.”  WHAT’S BEHIND THAT SONG?

It’s one of my favorite samples.  ‘What I Gotta Do’ is about the spectrum of love. Having love for someone and they betray you which is the first verse. The second verse is about having love for someone that you want to protect, which is my sister.  And I’m saying tell me what I gotta do on both of these because I do what I thought that you wanted and instead you take advantage of me.  I’m asking my sister what I gotta do to make sure you’re straight? I promised my mom that I’m going to make sure you are straight. Your brother is still gangster now, so whatever you need me to do I’m gonna handle it.

“WHEN PAC DIED” IS PARTICULARLY POIGNANT WHAT INSPIRED IT? YOU RAP ‘I AIN’T SHED A TEAR SINCE PAC DIED. IT HIT ME WHEN POP DIED.’

I’m talking about Pop Smoke. I had a Super Bowl party at my house for Puff a long time ago.  I had never met Pop.  He was there with Meek Mill and Fab and we chopped it up. And when I heard about him getting killed in the hills of Beverly Hills, it just didn’t make sense to me. For this kid to hustle all the way out of Brooklyn to die in the hills of Beverly Hills, it hit me differently cause it’s like damn like where else was he supposed to go.  He got out of Brooklyn. Everybody knew that Hollywood is a place of dreams and then he got killed there.

HOW IS YOUR MOM CONNECTED?

That song was so special because my mom and Tupac were born on the same day.  Pac is one of the greatest to ever walk the earth when it comes to pain talking to his people and being a revolutionary   He is one of my favorite if not my favorite artist.  I remember vividly when my cousin came in and told me  ‘They shot my boy’. I was young, in the hood. I’m like who? I thought it was probably somebody you went to school with or whatever.  He said ‘Turn on the TV’ and I just remember crying because I feel like I lost my brother. That’s the last time I remember crying. But the record is really about my mom and the connection that they were born the same day. When she died I didn’t know how to grieve. The last time I remember crying was when Tupac died. When my mom passed, I went back into that protection state where you just go back into them childhood wounds where I can’t let this break me because this is the one thing I would feel.  So in that song, I’m talking to my mom like yo, I need you to know these are all the things I would have told her. It’s a deep one. I think Tupac would be proud.

ANOTHER SONG ‘REAL NIGGAZ DON’T CHEAT’ BELIES THE COMMON TROPE ABOUT BLACK MEN. WHAT WAS BEHIND WRITING THAT SONG.

Not men because everybody aint a real n*gga. That’s where you come from but we elevating now. We’re in another space and we’re real men. But I had to put it in a cool way. Shout out to the Isley Brothers for clearing that sample. A lot of times we get demonized and people judge a book by its cover.  But there are Black men out there who really have integrity. Who really stand on what they believe. They trying to feed their family. They trying to change the quality of life of people around them and they really focused.   I just wanted to uplift the brothers out there who are really standing on business and really living with integrity and holding it down because I don’t think we get celebrated enough.

Paul Natkin Archive

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YOU HAVE COLLABORATED WITH THE GREATS. BUT I HEAR YOU HAVE A SECRET MUSICAL CRUSH WHO YOU HAVEN’T YET.  WHO IS THAT? 

1000% Sade I would have said Maxwell as well, but me and Maxwell have a record together we recorded a long time ago.  When I find it, it is coming out But I just love Sade.  She’s my happy place.  When I first got turned on to her, it was always from people that I respect. You had these straight Gs and they listening to Sade.  She is just peaceful. I feel like that when I’m on some water. I’m on the beach. I’m on the boat. That’s the first thing on my playlist. I’m gonna go through the whole Sade catalog before I go to anything else.

WHAT’S THE FUNNIEST STORY YOU HAVE ABOUT COLLABORATING WITH SOMEONE?

It gotta be Kanye West. Every time I’ve collab-ed with Kanye, it’s just been something different. He’s very creative. And he’s very intense about the way he goes about what he does.. Kanye had me come to Hawaii to listen to a record we was doing and I was out there almost two weeks while he was working on this snare (wires of a drum are the “snare” and make a rattling sound when the drum is struck). And he had all these different people coming in to do this snare And I’m like bro, it sound the same way as the first one sound. And then he had me fly all the way back out there on a helicopter to this other part of Hawaii to do a video on a beach.  And if you ever see the video, it’s called Amazing, he had a pile of wood and they set it on fire. So basically I could have done this thing in Georgia, in my backyard, ’cause you can’t even see me. It’s just smoke.  I’m just like, ‘ yo, you have me go all the way back out to Hawaii just to shoot some smoke. You can barely see me. But we love Kanye.

YOU HAVE SAID THAT YOUR CHILDHOOD WAS EMPTY AND YOU HAD TO LEARN TO NUMB YOUR EMOTIONS

When you suffer post-traumatic stress unconsciously you disconnect from your emotions because it’s a defense mechanism.  I saw violence at a very young age, And then as I started to become a young man it was something that happened normally.  Getting attached to people and seeing them have to go away and do these long stretches was tough.  I was six or seven when my uncle had to do a life sentence. I just didn’t understand. And it just kept happening on and on and on. And what I noticed was as it went on I felt stronger but my strength was how I was able to detach from people in situations because now I have no emotional connection to it, so if something happened,  it’s almost like it’s just business. I went on with that mindset throughout my later adulthood and  I thought it was OK until I started having kids.

HOW DID HAVING CHILDREN CHANGE YOU?

I wasn’t able to disconnect from my emotions. That’s when I really started doing the work and that’s why it was easier for me to tell that story in the book and be vulnerable because I started to understand the more that I owned it (painful emotions) before it owned me, it didn’t have the same effect as it did by me keeping it all in.  I’m putting it all on the table now so everybody can see it.  I’m saying flaws and all and that took the power of it over me away.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BROTHER DYING

I had an older brother. He died stillborn. But the reason why I say that is because I took that burden with my mom. She always brought that up. It’s like ‘if your brother had been here’. So. So psychologically I  took that on. His name was Michael and the reason why I speak on it is because I felt that burden.  I felt like I went through that with my mother because she definitely made it obvious that this was something that we all lost when he died.

YOU SAY YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MOM, WHO RAISED YOU AS A SINGLE PARENT, WAS TOXIC. SHE EVEN PULLED A GUN ON YOU. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

We did have a toxic relationship but that stemmed from whatever she went through with her parents and her upbringing. And for me, I  wanted to break the cycle because I realized that it wasn’t healthy.  I definitely didn’t want to take that on to my kids and have them take it on their kids. I don’t really regret anything that happened with me and my mother because my mother made me strong.  She didn’t teach me about religion. She didn’t teach me about girls. She didn’t teach me but she made me tough as nails. And I respect that about her.  She was about that life. She was the alpha. She had like maybe eight brothers and sisters but she was the queen. She didn’t bite her tongue and she was quick to say ‘I’m gonna put that Vaseline on so you better get busy’. She taught me not to fear anything.  I think a lot of that came from her fears and overcompensation for what she had been through. I’m her little man, so she talking to me like how you talk to a little man. But I’m like you’re my mama.

Dinner For Jay "Jeezy" Jenkins In Celebration Of His Upcoming Book "Adversity For Sale"

Source: Jarrod Williams / Getty

WHAT WAS YOUR MOTIVATION FOR WRITING YOUR BEST SELLING BOOK  “ADVERSITY FOR SALE, YA GOTTA BELIEVE”?

I felt like I’ve told my life in my music.  I told bits and pieces of my life throughout every project, every album, and everything I’ve done musically and I just feel like it was time to dig deep and really tell like the back story. A lot of times with music. and culture, we’re gonna see the glamour and the glitz and the finished product and what it looks like on the outside. You never know what people are going through in real time and what they’re dealing with and the type of adversities they have to overcome.  I don’t want people to misconstrue this music culture as just about cars, jewelry, money and all these things. There are things that take place behind the scenes you wouldn’t imagine and I wanted to bring that to the surface.

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF YOUR LIFE TO WRITE ABOUT AND SHARE?

Losing my good friend and confidant Shakir Stewart because he killed himself. He was a ball of energy.  He was just so infectious.  He was an Oakland native.  He had all the savoir faire.  He had charisma and he’s just a good dude. He was just great to be around. He had a lot to do with my career. He basically walked me into Def Jam and got me signed with LA Reid and  Kevin Lyles.   I want to say my second, third album is when he took his own life and again that thing kicked in from the streets where I was numb to a lot of things so I dealt with it.  But I didn’t really deal with it. I didn’t go through the emotions of what happened. I had to be strong for all the people around me. Having to do the audiobook and kind of act it out hit me hard because it forced me to deal with it. It was like a stack of bricks.

YOU ARE A TRUE ENTREPRENEUR. YOU CALL IT CORPORATE THUGGING. FROM ONCE PUTTING YOUR CHECKS IN A SHOEBOX NOW YOU HAVE EXTENSIVE REAL ESTATE AND BUSINESSES.

As long as you’re doing something that aligns with your purpose and who you are, you already getting to the bag that’s real wealth for me.  The wealth that counts.

I’m not a real big stock market guy but I love dirt. I grew up in a single-wide trailer so I know what it’s like not having nothing. So I’m gonna buy as much dirt and as many buildings as I can get. That’s just what I love.  As far as business, I got a bunch of things coming. I have a movie coming out this year called Trap City that I starred in and executive produced and scored. But for me to build generational wealth, you have to build a great team. So right now I’m focused on my team building, expanding what we have, taking it to the next level, and just making sure everybody is focused.

But yeah, back in the day when Def Jam gave me my check, I didn’t have an account. I was just putting checks in the shoebox. I didn’t understand how it worked.”

Written interview edited for brevity.  You can catch the full candid conversation in the video above.  He keeps it real!

Jazmyn Summers 2024 Headshot

Source: Jazmyn Summers / Jazmyn Summers

Article and interview by Jazmyn Summers.  Please don’t forget to subscribe to her YouTube.  Follow her @jaztalk1 on Instagram and Facebook. 

The post Jeezy: Vulnerability is Strength: A convo about coping with pain, love, mental health and a secret musical crush appeared first on Black America Web.

Jeezy: Vulnerability is Strength: A convo about coping with pain, love, mental health and a secret musical crush  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com