On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN had the chance to chop it up with legendary Atlanta rapper and self-proclaimed Snowman, Jeezy, to discuss his latest album and much more.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina and later raised in Georgia, Jeezy laid the foundation for his career through a handful of street mixtapes before dropping his Def Jam major label debut, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, in 2005. It spawned hit singles like “And Then What” featuring Mannie Fresh, “My Hood,” and “Soul Survivor” featuring Akon, the last of which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The following year, he put out his sophomore album, The Inspiration, which preceded 2008’s The Recession. Not only did the project include Jeezy’s Nas-assisted track “My President” in celebration of Barack Obama’s Democratic nomination, but it also contained “Put On” featuring Kanye West, both of which are now certified Platinum by RIAA.
Jeezy has sold millions of albums and has repeatedly charted well throughout the course of his artistry with over a dozen full-length projects released to date. Alongside the likes of Gucci Mane and T.I., he is widely recognized for his contributions to taking the trap genre mainstream and his underground testimonials. In 2020, Jeezy notably went toe-to-toe with former foe Gucci Mane for Verzuz, which resulted in the two ending a decade-long feud. It also paved the way for his 12th studio album, The Recession 2, which dropped the following day.
The rapper’s latest project arrived in the form of SNOFALL earlier this month alongside DJ Drama, who formerly collaborated on Trap or Die in the mid-2000s. The 17-song offering boasts features from EST Gee, Lil Durk, and 42 Dugg.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from Jeezy’s “Drink Champs” conversation. Continue scrolling to read them and watch the full episode here.
1. On running into Freddie Gibbs and squashing their beef
Jeezy and Freddie Gibbs reconciled after their unexpected encounter at an airport. Before then, relations between the two were tense at best. The Atlanta artist signed Gibbs to CTE World Records in 2011, but the two had a contentious breakup the following year. Since then, they have exchanged diss songs, but Jeezy claimed that settling their differences was a relief.
“I never had no issue with Gibbs. I always knew he was going to pop. I always knew he was going to be on. When I think about all of this in music, [the streets] or anything, it really be a lack of communication,” Jeezy shared. N.O.R.E. briefly interjected to point out that Gibbs admitted he was wrong, to which the rapper replied, “And I respect that. I didn’t understand where he was coming from, but if we communicated, I could’ve been like, ‘Nah, bro, that ain’t that.’”
2. On DJ Khaled helping put an end to his feud with Rick Ross
Jeezy and Rick Ross put their troubles aside after years of feuding and their infamous fight backstage at the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards. As a sign of their mutual respect for each other, they collaborated on “War Ready” in 2014. The Atlanta rapper claimed that DJ Khaled facilitated their reunion and that they discovered they didn’t really have any problems with each other after all.
“I’m walking down South Beach, leaving the club. We’re like 300 deep. I’m off that… We was drinking 1800, Cuervo. I’m popping on some Martin Luther King and Malcolm X s**t. I’m just talking, whoever wants it, they can get it,” he explained. “Khaled, ‘cause I trusted Khaled, was like, ‘Yo, I just want to get y’all to sit down.’ I’m thinking the sit down was me and 50 of my homies and whoever he brings. He’s like, ‘No, you gotta sit down. Just you and Ross.’ And he was ready to do the ‘War Ready’ record.”
3. On his relationship with Yo Gotti
Yo Gotti and Jeezy are no strangers. The two collaborated in 2013 on their YG-assisted smash hit “Act Right.” Since then, they’ve teamed up on tracks like 2016’s “Where It At” and 2020’s “Back.” The rapper detailed his relationship with the CMG label boss and Memphis staple.
Regarding Gotti, he stated, “If me and Gotti was still in the street, we probably would be getting money together. That’s just how we’re cut. Tennessee and Georgia are hand in hand. Me and Gotti came in the game together. When I was running around doing my first mixtape run, Trap or Die, that’s when I met Gotti in Memphis. I didn’t know that’s what he was doing — music. I knew him as a street guy like he knew me.”
4. On his relationship with Big Meech and why he didn’t want to contribute to the STARZ “BMF” series
Black Mafia Family’s Big Meech and his brother Terry Flenory, who ran one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in the 80s, were responsible for supplying at least three major cities with cocaine, namely Detroit, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Naturally, Meech was instrumental in the early success of several prominent rap acts, including Jeezy, according to journalist Mara Shalhoup who cited the ATL rapper as one of Meech’s greater accomplishments. When asked why he didn’t contribute to the STARZ series “BMF,” Jeezy shared that it would be “too tricky.”
“It’s too tricky. I know everybody for real. Everybody is not going to be happy with that. And for me, that’s not my story to tell,” he pointed out. “Me and Meech were like you two,” he said referring to N.O.R.E. and DF EFN. “I had my crew, so it was like if you’re cool with N.O.R.E. and all us cool with N.O.R.E., then you’re cool with them. It was like we were hanging out and being in the same spots, but me and Meech were really like that.”
5. On meeting JAY-Z after he became president of Def Jam
Kevin Liles signed Jeezy to Def Jam in 2004, just two weeks before JAY-Z became the record label’s president on Jan. 5, 2005, according to Billboard. Midway through the interview, the rapper talked about meeting Hov and their conversation afterward.
“When Kevin Liles and L.A. Reid signed me to Def Jam, Kevin left two weeks after… They never told me who the next president was going to be. So when I was walking to Def Jam to go to the building, I saw this black Maybach pull up and I’m sitting down… The door opened and it’s Hov. He’s like, ‘Yo Jeezy, what’s up?!’” Jeezy explained. He later added, “I love Kevin Liles, but damn, this s**t starting to make sense now.”
6. On having a private meeting with Gucci Mane ahead of their Verzuz match
Gucci Mane’s Verzuz match against Jeezy was undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments for hip hop in 2020, grossing an all-time high record of 1.8 million viewers. Their beef tails all the way back to 2005, so it’s needless to say that the two had a lot to hash out. As told by Jeezy, he and Gucci had a private meeting ahead of the Verzuz to “see if we could sit in the same room together,” although what they could or couldn’t say was never discussed.
“It just had to be some understanding. It’s so much history in that and for me, I just wanted to relieve that weight up off myself. Contrary to people’s beliefs, it ain’t what they think, that whole situation,” he revealed. “It was just to see if we could sit in the same room. Kind of sort of, but nah. If you know homie, you already know that’s just what it is. I kind of felt like it wouldn’t go that way just based off what it was. You’re talking about some s**t that happened so long ago in the streets.”
7. On how lack of trust in Coach K caused them to split
Coach K has been active in the music industry for over 20 years, and he is largely credited for the success of artists like Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Migos, and Lil Baby, who have all contributed to the evolution of Atlanta hip hop. In spite of this, he and the “Put On” rapper notoriously went their own ways in 2007, which ultimately led to Coach’s partnership with Jeezy’s longstanding rival Gucci Mane in 2013. For the first time, The Snowman detailed why he and Coach K split, citing they didn’t have pivotal conversations regarding money.
“There was a lot of conversations that didn’t happen before [the fame and money came] and the understanding. It’s like getting into a marriage, and you don’t talk about what are the things that are deal-breakers and what are the things you don’t what,” Jeezy shared regarding his relationship with Coach K. “Just to give some clarity to it, some things went on. I’m quite sure he would say differently, as he should, but I didn’t trust a lot of things… Again, there’s no handbook for this, so I don’t even know how it’s supposed to go.”
8. On T.I. influencing him to step away from the streets and focus on rap
T.I. has long maintained that the genre of trap music was first popularized by his 2003 album Trap Muzik. Naturally, his friendship with Jeezy developed as the two were mainstays of the genre. On “Drink Champs,” the rapper admitted that a private conversation with T.I. in the bathroom convinced him to give up the streets for good and devote himself fully to his music career.
According to him, “[T.I.] goes, ‘You know you can’t do both, right? You can’t rap and do what you’re doing. And you’re talented, you’re going to blow at some point. If you continue to do what you’re doing, I don’t know how it’s going to work out for you.’ I looked at him and said, ‘Well, s**t, don’t you do both?’” Later, T.I. revealed that he left that lifestyle alone a long time ago.
9. On how reconciling with Nas led to 2008’s “My President”
Hip hop as a whole felt the effects of the phrase “Hip Hop is dead” (the title of Nas’ eighth studio album), but Southern rappers took the brunt of the criticism for being seen as diminishing the genre’s traditional sound. Thus, Jeezy spoke out against the title and went on to cast doubt against the New York rapper’s street reputation during a live radio interview, sparking a slight disagreement between the two. The rapper told N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN that he felt like Nas was nonchalant when they first met in a bathroom and explained how they later came to collaborate on “My President” in 2008.
“I heard Hip Hop Is Dead. I immediately felt like, ‘You’re basically saying because I’m on now.’ So they baited me in,” he shared. “He called my phone. I was ready for him to say something crazy. I just couldn’t wait. He said, ‘Peace, king.’ I said, ‘What’s going on?’ He was like, ‘I can understand why you feel the way you feel.’ He just kind of walked me through what his thought process was and I felt so crazy on that phone.”