Jeezy’s been having a helluva time lately! The Atlanta rapper, who recently became engaged to The Real host Jeannie Mai, has also a new deal with Def Jam, a new talk show with FoxSoul, and to top it off was recently a part of a history-making Verzuz battle, in every sense of the word. He participated in the battle with real-life nemesis Gucci Mane, who originally declined the offer until ultimately accepting.
The Thug Motivation rapper also recently released his tenth studio album, The Recession 2, a few days before the Verzuz battle took place. A whopping 9.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the legendary battle, as it had been the leading topic of conversation in the Hip-Hop community leading up to the battle. The event also surpassed viewership ratings for the MTV VMA’s, NBC’s The Voice, the Billboard Awards, the CMA’s, the Latin Grammy’s, and Dancing With The Stars, “respectively on any given night for those primetime shows this year,” according to an Instagram post by Swizz Beatz.
One of the main things that were talked about was Jeezy’s composure through the battle, a very testament to his growth. Gucci played his scathing diss track, “Truth”, a record released hours before the battle clearly to rile his opponent up, and while many thought that Jeezy would respond in a hostile manner, his response was what set and kept the peaceful tone for the remainder of the night.
“All these kids out here doing what they do cause they saw what went on with us, dog,” he said. “So this ain’t about me, this ain’t about you, you feel what I’m saying? This about King Von. This about Doe B. This s**t about Nipsey Hussle. This about Pop Smoke. M03.”
The Hip-Hop community and all those watching were on edge, hoping that things wouldn’t get out of control, but the growth shown within them garnered praise from everyone. In an interview with GQ Magazine the rapper spoke on the atmosphere in the room and the moment Gucci played Truth. “I didn’t lead with my ego. I’ve done a lot of work on myself to get to where I’m at mentally. I’m very confident in who I am as a man,” said Jeezy. “So I’m never going to be on the defense about something that I know better about. My goal was to go in there with my integrity and to leave with it. It didn’t matter what anybody said—my integrity comes first. I’m very mentally strong when it comes to things like that because I came from nothing. I had to work very hard to get to where I’m at. And I’m not going to jeopardize that at the moment, just because.”
Fans were reminded of another moment in Jeezy’s musical career where he showed levels of growth from his past mistakes as well when he released 2014’s Seen It all, the second single from the album of the same name. The song, which featured rapper Jay-Z, gave a vivid depiction of their past experiences while in the drug game and while the two are no longer involved in that world, the song helped to show how far they’ve come.
“I get ‘em 5 grand a pop/ Had a plug in St. Thomas on a trillion watts/ Flew ‘em back to the States/ Parked 92 bricks in front of 560 State,” Jay raps
Jeezy has spoken on the record before, admitting that Jay-Z had quite the emotional attachment to the record. Speaking to HipHop DX he recalled “…[Jay-Z] was working on Magna Carta Holy Grail I was working on ‘Seen It All’ and I called him and was like ‘Yo, I got this record,’” the Atlanta rapper explains. “He was like ‘Aight, cool send it.’ And he heard and was like ‘Yo this s**t is crazy.’ He did his verse and he sent it back and we talked and he was like, ‘You know I’m about to drop my album, I want to put it on my album.’ I said, ‘Cool, run it.’ But I didn’t know his album was coming out so soon.”
He added, “So when I hit him back, I was just like ‘Well, you know your album’s coming out way before mine, actually four or five months.’ And he was just like ‘Nah, cool man. It’s your record. You keep it, you know I love it.’ Jay’s always been supportive of anything I do. It was going to end up on the Magna Carta, Holy Grail as well, but I’m kinda glad it ended up on just Seen It All.“
Jeezy and Jay have collaborated on other records prior to “Seen It All” including 2005’s “Go Crazy,” 2009’s “Real As It Gets,” but believes their 2014 collaboration is their best one yet. Speaking with MTV News, the rapper confessed that his Brooklyn-native collaborator had a little bit of an emotional time while working on his verse for their song. . “We got on the phone and [Jay] was like, ‘Yo, Jeezy, when I was writing the verse I had tears in my eyes, man,’ because it took him so far back to Marcy,” Jeezy stated. “Every bar in that song was real — I put my hand on the Bible.”
Fans of the rappers were able to see them do it live and direct when Jeezy brought Jay-Z out during his headlining set at Power 105.1’s Powerhouse 2014 in his hometown of Brooklyn at the Barclays’s Center. Jay-Z came on stage rocking a ‘Jason’ mask on stage and sent the crowd into a deeper frenzy.