It takes a certain level of ambition and patience for rappers to last in the Hip Hop industry-even moreso when they’ve already survived a life full of hard knocks and fast money. Young Jeezy has been a major competitor for years now and although the release of his fourth album TM103: Hustlerz Ambition, has experienced a considerable number of setbacks, he remains innovative and persistent in telling street tales. It’s only fitting that on this sixth anniversary of his debut Let’s Get It:Thug Motivation 101, he tells his own riveting story of trials and triumph with his documentary A Hustlerz Ambition set to be released as a part of the TM103 package.
On December 1st, Jeezy premiered the film (narrated by Samuel L. Jackson) to an Atlanta theater full of industry executives, insiders, and bloggers. Just before the start of the screening Jeezy addressed the crowd: “I guess people never heard my story and to be honest, I’m really quite tired of explaining what was going on with me, so I wanna move into the next chapter of my life. I figured with this album the best way to do it was to put a film with it.”
Filmed over the course of three years, the Chris Robinson-directed documentary pulls commentary from some of the most influential people in his life, from his mother and sister to his CTE partner Kink (f/k/a Kinky B) and DJ Drama. While notorious for his street life lyrics there’s never been an article or video that has profiled Jeezy as closely as this film does. His early life including the estrangement of his father is explained and the impact that it had (both on him and his mother) was the start of Jeezy’s dangerous indifference towards others. He stammers on camera when asked the age he started selling crack, “Shit, probably about 11.” He also speaks on the tumultuous relationship between him and his mother after she fell victim to alcoholism, and later the same deadly substance Jeezy was slinging-a testament to the absence of hope in his young life and the omnipresence of despair.
The film also outlines Jeezy and Kink’s somewhat naive beginnings in the music industry. Drug money financed their initial foray into the business but as quickly as the two started they ran into problems. Ironically, in signing street-certified rappers, they ended up losing them to the ails of street life. When their first artist was detained for a murder charge, Jeezy and Kink sat in their studio (which was fully paid for) wondering what the recovery plan should be. Jeezy chuckles as he remembers Kink shrugging, “Shit, you wanna try this shit?” Thus, The Snowman was born.
As the documentary delved into the behind-the-scenes happenings, many of us realized just how little we knew of Jeezy’s come up. His struggles with Bell’s Palsy and polyps are little known facts. Even more interestingly, the film briefly touched on how his polyps illness had everything to do with the static between he and fellow Atlanta artist Gucci Mane-a beef that has lasted through recent years. His struggles before Rap, and his subsequent struggles as a young artist, tied in with his success story to date is the stuff of ‘rags to riches’ manuscripts. Only, for Young Jeezy, it’s all real.