Yesterday (October 8) Jeezy stopped by the A3C Festival in his hometown of Atlanta to have a 40-minute live interview with noted journalist Marc Lamont Hill. The Loudermilk Center was filled to capacity as the self-proclaimed creator of Trap music discussed his upcoming Church In These Streets album, conversing with Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Meek Mill versus Drake battle, and more.
Read some of AllHipHop.com's highlights from "A3Conversation with Young Jeezy and Marc Lamont Hill" below.
On the concept behind his Church In These Streets album:
In a society where everybody's trying to bring us down as a culture, I wanted to uplift us. Gods don't kill gods. We just speak highly of each other. The whole theory behind Church In These Streets - just so you know I'm not Creflo Dollar or nothing like that. He wants that $80 million jet. I'll take a Caprice.
But I just wanted people to take me seriously. Everything that I've ever said in my music was the god-honest truth. When I say "church in the streets," I mean in the streets. I don't mean in the church...
When you come to a Jeezy show, it's a lot of people that's been through the same struggle that I've been through. They understand my way of thinking. I want to bring that to the world. I came and I did Trap music - I did start that just so you know - because it was the only thing that I had that I could be genuine about and still be myself, tell my story and people understood it. That started a whole genre of music.
When you say church in the streets, it's just me taking that responsibility. Don't get it messed up. It's still hard. The album's going to be hard. It ain't nothing soft about it. It's real.
When we came up, we had OGs and people we respected, but this generation ain't like that. So I'm going to see if I can bring some of that back.
On embracing the Pastor Young nickname:
I definitely didn't go Ma$e [laughs]. When I came in the game I was the Snowman. That was for a lot of reasons, but nowadays I feel like I'm somebody that's held to a high regard and high standards.
It's on me to give the younger cats the game, because when you got in this game I told you how to trap or die and get your money. But obviously a lot of y'all grew up now, so you want to know what the next step is. Pastor Young is somebody you got to take seriously. You don't want to hear what you got to do next from the Snowman. It's a little different.
The homies just started calling me [Pastor Young], because everybody that knows me knows that if you talk to Jeezy, everything I'm going to say to you is positive. I had so much negativity in my life, I'm just a positive person.
On the killing of Michael Brown and the aftermath in Ferguson:
If you ask me a lot of people just care about their money. They don't care about their people. That could be their own family. Some people get this money and don't even take care of their kids. Some people get this money and don't take care of their momma. So why would they go speak on an incident that has nothing to do with them? That has something to do with a young, black man that got gunned down in a town that they never been to before?
Me and Wiz Khalifa was on tour. That was like the worst date of the whole tour. I remember going to Wiz's room, and I said, "I really think we should give the money we make tonight to the family." He was with it. I actually spoke with Mike Brown's mother.
I went to the QuikTrip [in Ferguson], because I wanted to really see what was going on. When I went over there, I saw something that I thought I would never see in my life. I saw officers that was in this neighborhood with M-16 machine guns. I saw kids riding on bikes with t-shirts tied over their faces, throwing fire bombs. To me, that's what I call a war. That's what I addressed in the letter. We're at war. But who's the enemy? This is America.
I don't want to see that spread out. If that was to happen in Atlanta, you're talking about the same young cats that I watched grow up to be young men. I don't want to see them out there having to fight for their freedom and their lives because we're being put in this situation. Because somebody took somebody's life, and they don't want to stand up for it. If you do something, you got to take responsibility for that.
On speaking with Min. Farrakhan:
Farrakhan's a great guy. I had an incident that happened to me, and he called me like four or five days before the incident happened. He said, "Brother Jeezy, I like your message. You're sounding really smart in your interviews, but I just want you to know the enemy is watching you." I said, "I'm good. I'm a street dude with some good credit. I ain't worried about nothing out here."
I be damned if a week later I was in jail for something that I didn't do. [Farrakhan] actually called me on the phone - we had an hour long conversation about the enemy. I was like, "Who are you talking about? I'm not in the hood no more. The Bloods and Crips are over there, we're good." I didn't really realize what was going on until I was put in that situation.
I remember getting locked up for something that had nothing to do with me at all. I was put in a situation because of my name. Out of all this time where I was working and people saying, "We're just proud of where you're going," they just brought me back down to a nigger status overnight. I couldn't believe that. As a black man, as a taxpayer, I was hurt...
As soon as I got out of the County [jail], I got in the car. My guy gave me the phone. It's Farrakhan, "Brother Jeezy, I told you that the enemy..." [laughs]. I said, "Man they're for real!" I went to Chicago. Normally when he talks I listen, but I was really listening. I said, "So who are they? What do they want with me? What did I do?"
He just made it clear, "You really got to watch your message." With everything I say, I mean every word of it. That just showed me the power of words and who you are.
On Hip Hop beefs:
[It makes me feel] terrible - WWF. I walk around this city all day. I ain't never had a problem in the world. You got to understand. It's propaganda and bullsh*t. Everybody's just trying to sell themselves. So the worse thing a person can do to you is see you work so hard to sit on this stage, and they want to be on this stage where you're at. The only way they know to be on that stage is if the oppose you and make people think you ain't the way you are. When you're still trying to get on the next stage, they just want to be on this one.
Both [Drake and Meek] are my guys. I would love to see them get the money. But it is what it is. It was rap beef...
I got to be honest Drake did his thing. Drake is very strategic. He's from another country. They sit back and watch everything. They look at Hip Hop like an art. We just take it as music. They watched the Nas and Jay beef, the Biggie and Pac beef. They studied this sh*t. They're fans of the game, not just the actual music - the business of it, the strategic moves.
And I love Meek Mill. Don't get it confused. Meek Mill represents everything that we are. He's one of the cats that came after me that I respected his grind. I ain't no peace maker. I ain't none of that, but let's get the money. F*ck the bullsh*t.
At the end of the day, nobody touched your momma, your kids, or your money. So y'all can agree to disagree. They did what they did, they had their little battle, and now we're on to the next thing.