In a recent interview clip with Rap Radar, the Atlanta rap kingpin told Elliott Wilson and B. Dot the origin story of how both men — who were members of the Hot Boys in the late ’90s and early 2000s — were the catalyst behind the “Young Jeezy” name.
“You know they [the Hot Boys] had B.G. and they called him B. Geezy,” he explained. “Wayne, they called him Weezy. And it was like a thing going on at the time, and people used to kinda call me that back in day, because my voice was so raspy in school. So I was like, ‘Yo, I’m just gon’ go with this.”
He continued: “Lil J was what my grandmother called me. That was the only nickname I really had in the neighborhood. And all my homies used to call me, ‘Dog.’ I don’t know where that came from. And then down in Lauderdale, ’cause I was down Lauderdale hustling, they used to call me, ‘Bling’ because I used to be the guy coming down with the diamonds and cars, and this is what they knew me by. So that was my street name.”
Jeezy then said that upon having a conversation with a friend, his famous rap moniker was confirmed, but it “took some getting used to.”
Check out the clip below:
The 45-year-old Atlanta rapper has been very candid about his life and career as of late. In late July, Jeezy sat down for an interview with Yahoo! News to promote his new book Adversity for Sale: Ya Gotta Believe (out August 8), where he reflected on his turbulent breakout in music, which coincided with him transitioning from a drug dealer to a full-time rapper.
The Snowman’s dope boy hustle had earned him a lot of money and notoriety, but with that success came an unshakable paranoia as he swapped the streets for the studio in an attempt to realize his rap dreams. Like his hero 2Pac, death was around the corner for a young Jeezy.
“I just knew that there wasn’t no other way if I didn’t figure it out,” he said. “I was going to end up in prison or probably dead like the rest of my friends.
“A lot of my music … was me just wanting to be heard. I was writing my music as if I wasn’t gonna be there anymore. So I was like, ‘This better be the best I ever said.’ And so that’s what Trap or Die and Thug Motivation was, because I was preparing myself for the worst.”
He added: “And when it popped, I understood, and now I was like, ‘OK, I gotta sustain this.’ So I just carried that same energy into all my next projects.”
One of his generation’s most lauded street poets, Jeezy has frequently poured these kind of morbid confessions into his music — namely on his 2006 song “Bury Me a G,” on which he imagined his own untimely demise.
“Paramedics on the way, but they wastin’ they time/ Everybody standin’ over a n-gga, screamin’ and shit/ Damn, y’all give a n-gga a second to think/ Which one of you n-ggas shot me? It was one of you bastards/ Let my n-gga Kink throw a hundred grand in my casket,” he raps on the track.
“At that point in time I was like, ‘These n-ggas are either gonna kill me or I’m going to kill them,’” he told Billboard of the song in 2014. “That’s how I was living.