Over the past few years, Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy has transformed into a street-smart emcee capable of blending political discourse with his time-honored trap anthems. Now, with the September 20 release date of his long-awaited Thug Motivation 103 fast approaching, Jeezy explains how the current economic climate has affected his album.

In a recent interview with MTV at his second sixth-anniversary show of his debut LP Thug Motivation 101, Jeezy discussed how America’s economic woes impacted some of the topics he discusses on his upcoming album. He explained that the nation’s debt crisis has not only sharpened his instincts as a businessman, but also provided him a new perspective as an emcee.

TM 101 dropped at a time when money was so plentiful that you could’ve had too much of it at some point, and everybody was happy,” he said. “Everybody was flamboyant, everybody was living, and nowadays it ain’t like that. So when I dropped TM 101, my whole focus was, ‘We’re gonna get this money and that’s what it’s about. We’re gonna get this money, we’re gonna live life, we’re gonna have fun.’”

He also said that, “The evolution of that [with] 103 is more sort of like situations, like, ‘OK, yeah we got to the money, we lost it two or three times, but what are we gonna do to maintain? Are we gonna maintain? Are we gonna get back? Are we gonna stay focused on the get back, or we gonna get off track? Are we gonna pay attention to what they’re talkin’ about, or pay attention to what we need to do?’ That’s what the evolution is about.”

Jeezy added that 2Pac’s music deeply resonated with him while making TM103. He explains that while he’s always been a fan of ‘Pac, the late Death Row rapper’s social insight has helped him attain a better understanding of his music and his own personal life experiences.

“It’s about knowing what to do. When I was growin’ up and I was listening to ‘Pac, all his situations apply to me today,” he noted. “I never knew that, I was just listening to the music and I thought it was good music. Everything that he said applies to me today. Keep your enemies close, money over bitches – that’s real talk.”

The full interview can be seen below.

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