Jay Wayne Jenkins (born September 28, 1977), better known by his stage name Young Jeezy or simply Jeezy, is an American rapper and hip hop recording artist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is the de facto leader of Southern hip hop group United Streets Dopeboyz of America (USDA) and a former member of Boyz n da Hood as well as the Black Mafia Family (BMF). He embarked on 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 lead single "Soul Survivor", which featured R&B singer Akon, became a top-ten hit in the US.
Jeezy's second album The Inspiration, followed in 2006, and his third The Recession, followed in 2008; both albums yielded chart-topping singles. Jeezy has also appeared on numerous other hip hop 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 becoming a number one single on the US Billboard Hot 100, in 2008. To date, he has received four Grammy nominations.
Jay Wayne Jenkins was born in Columbia, South Carolina and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia when he was a toddler. Because his parents were separated, custody of him transferred between family members frequently. In an interview with XXL magazine, he described his childhood as "empty". In 1994, he spent nine months in YCA (Youth Challenge Academy), a boot camp in Fort Stewart, Georgia, for narcotics possession.
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, Young Jeezy decided he wanted to be in business with Stewart and Reid. As a result, signed with Def Jam Records.
Young Jeezy's debut single off his debut album, "And Then What" featuring Mannie Fresh, reached #67 on the Billboard Hot 100. Young Jeezy's major label debut, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, was released on July 26, 2005. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling 172,000 copies in its first week and was later certified Platinum by the RIAA. The second single off the album, "Soul Survivor" featuring Akon reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would end up becoming Young Jeezy's highest charting single of his career. The third single, "My Hood", reached #77 on the Billboard Hot 100. In an interview with HitQuarters, A&R Shakir Stewart said that Jeezy had recorded over 60 songs for the album.
In interviews and on several records, Young Jeezy has affirmed his resistance to commercialism in his music. Maintaining his street credibility, according to Young Jeezy, is of the utmost concern to him as an artist. In 2005, Young 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.
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 on December 12, 2006. It had topped the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 352,000 copies and would also be certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album's first single "I Luv It" peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Go Getta" featuring R. Kelly peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
He also portrayed himself in the hip-hop fighting themed game Def Jam: Icon. In 2007, Young Jeezy's group U.S.D.A. (alongside Blood Raw and Slick Pulla) released their debut album, Cold Summer. The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 with 95,000 copies sold in its first week.
Young 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):
Young Jeezy's third album, The Recession, was released on September 2, 2008 and would earn him his second consecutive number one album. It topped the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 260,000 copies and was certified Gold by the RIAA. "Put On" featuring Kanye West was the lead single and had reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also led to a Grammy Nomination for Best Rap performance by a duo, but came short. "Put On" was followed by "Vacation", "Crazy World", "My President" featuring Nas, and "Who Dat" to complete The Recession's singles. Young Jeezy appeared on "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, Young 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 and Its Tha World (2010-2012):
It was announced on November 2009 that Jeezy started working on Thug Motivation 103. 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". "Lose My Mind" reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100. On May 17, 2011, Jeezy released the first single for Thug Motivation 103, "Ballin", which features Lil Wayne and had peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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, Jeezy released a track called "Shake Life" and was intended to be the second single off Thug Motivation 103, but was later scrapped from the album. On July 26, 2011, Jeezy announced a September 20, 2011 release date for Thug Motivation 103. However the album was pushed back yet again, this time to December 20, 2011. On September 29, 2011, Jeezy released the third single off Thug Motivation 103, named "F.A.M.E." (which is an acronym that stands for Fake Ass Motherfuckers Envy), featuring T.I. It was is the first song appearance from T.I. since being released from prison. On December 20, 2011, the Thug Motivation 103 was finally released, and had debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 233,000 copies and was certified Gold by the RIAA. "I Do" featuring André 3000 and Jay-Z was the fourth single and reached #61 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Leave You Alone" featuring Ne-Yo was released as the fifth single and reached #51 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2012, Young Jeezy's "I Do" received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance.
In October 2012, Jeezy released a new single called "Get Right" on iTunes and sent it to radio. Shortly after the release of the single it had been confirmed by Jeezy that he had plans of releasing a new mixtape by the end of 2012 as well as a new album in 2013. Later on further details were released that Jeezy's new mixtape was called It's Tha World which was released on December 12, 2012 and is hosted by DJ Drama. The mixtape features 2 Chainz, Trey Songz, Lil Boosie, Birdman, YG and E-40. Production came from Jahlil Beats, The Renegades, DJ Mustard, Warren G, Mike WiLL Made It, Cardo and Black Metaphor.
Boss Yo Life Up Gang and Seen It All: The Autobiography (2013-present):
On August 13, 2013, he released a compilation mixtape with CTE World artists, Doughboyz Cashout and YG titled Boss Yo Life Up Gang. He was featured on both singles "My Nigga" by YG and "Mob Life" by Doughboyz Cashout. On September 17, 2013, Jeezy premiered the first single "In My Head" produced by Childish Major, from his CTE collaboration mixtape "Its Tha World 2". The following day he announced plans to release his next album soon, saying it will detail deeper into his street origins. He revealed that Future, Usher, Ludacris, and Don Cannon would be involved in the album.
On May 30, 2014, Jeezy released the first single "Me Ok" from his upcoming fifth studio album Seen It All: The Autobiography. On July 1, 2014, he released the second single, the title track "Seen It All" featuring Jay-Z.
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. Young Jeezy has a sister named Katrina Wright.
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.
On April 16, 2013, Brian Smith filed a copyright infringement complaint seeking an injunction, damages, and attorney fees against Jay W. Jenkins d/b/a Young Jeezy Music and others in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, concerning the work "Jizzle" which was released in July 2010. On August 27, 2013 Leroy Hutson aka Lee Hutson, Sr., former lead singer of 1970s R&B group The Impressions, filed a complaint against Young Jeezy and others alleging that Young Jeezy's song "Time" inappropriately incorporated the instrumental portion of "Getting it On," which was registered with the United States Copyright Office in 1973.
On January 4, 2014, Jeezy was arrested for battery, false imprisonment, and terrorist threats, after an alleged fight with his son in September 2012.
On August 24, Jeezy was arrested before performing at the Irvine, California stop on the Under The Influence Tour. This was in connection with the deadly shooting in the backstage area, two days prior on another stop of the tour in Mountain View, California. When the police raided his tour bus, they found an AK-47 military-style assault rifle, as well guns on several members of his entourage. In total six people, including Jeezy were arrested, because "no one admitted to owning the assault rifle." His bail was set at one million dollars. On August 26, Jeezy entered a not guilty plea to possession of an illegal assault rifle and the other five men who were arrested with Jeezy also entered not guilty pleas. Two days later, Jeezy and his associates bonded out. As it would turn out, the AK-47 is legally registered to Jeezy's security chief, who was not even on the bus at the time of the raid. At the time, his security chief was in the hospital after getting unintentionally shot at an MTV VMAs pre-party where Suge Knight was shot six times. It has been reported that the AK-47 was not found anywhere near Jeezy, and it was in a closed case in an area associated with someone other than Jeezy. He was in an entirely separate part of the bus during the raid and no weapons were found around him. The officers were reportedly told repeatedly that the registered owner of the AK-47 was the tour security chief, who was hospitalized at the time.