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Young Jeezy Readies Another Lesson in ‘Thug Motivation’

Nevermind the lyrical tug-of-war with longtime foe Gucci Mane and newcomer OJ Da Juiceman and the very public battle with former associate and mixtape king DJ Drama. Young Jeezy has bigger proverbial fish to fry.

The Atlanta street spitter who is finishing up his new album ‘Thug Motivation 103,’ the follow-up to his commercially and critically acclaimed release ‘The Recession,’ is currently on the America’s Most Wanted Music Festival tour with Lil Wayne, Drake, and Soulja Boy. We caught up with Jeezy to get his thoughts on everything from life on the road to living up to the hype.

The BoomBox: You and Lil Wayne are both at the height of your powers in terms of popularity and art. How do you get around the fact that you are both superstars that could headline a tour?

Young Jeezy: It’s been easy with Wayne. This is our third tour together coming off ‘The Street Dreams’ shows. This is a different type of tour because we are doing amphitheaters. So performing outside is a lot different than performing inside. As a whole we have 40 something dates, so that should speak for itself.

The BoomBox: What has it been performing in front of the Soulja Boy’s much younger fans? Did you have to tone down the harder elements of your lyrics?

Young Jeezy: No. I’m going to do me and just get better with every show. At the same time there are a lot of kids coming to the show. But you can’t hold back with them because they are not going to hold back with you. I guess I’m a big kid myself, so it’s all good [laughs].

The BoomBox: With your last album ‘The Recession’ a lot of critics made it a point to say how much you stepped up your lyrics and subject matter, especially on ‘My President Is Black.’ Are we going to see an even bigger progression artistically from the new album?

Young Jeezy: Always. But I have some new producers I’m going to introduce to the world. I like to set trends. I’m going to keep those names in the bag. I want it to be a big deal when you first hear them. There will be a few of the producers I worked from ‘Thug Motivation 101′ and ‘The Recession’ such as Shorty Red, and Midnight Black. I’m just working, man. I’m not really picky when it comes to the production. I just like good music.

I have the studio bus and the whole nine. I was already working on it, so I was where I wanted to be on the new album before I left. I recorded most of it at the crib in Atlanta. I’m just putting the icing on the cake, now. I’m going to do the rest on the read and just knock it out. The album will be out sooner than later [laughs]. I’m going to take my time. That’s what the label people tell me. “Yo, hurry up, but take your time, because we want that s- to be right. Soon as my stuff jump off the stove I’m going to put it in the streets.

The BoomBox: Speaking of production, there seems to be a strong chemistry between you and Kanye West. But early on it seemed like your appearance on West’s ’808′s & Heartbreak’ (‘Amazing’) was going to be one of the strangest hip hop pairings given the more pop-meets-avant garde lane West travels and your own street-infused D Boy lane. Did that collaboration open you up to an entirely different audience?

Young Jeezy: I just love music, for the most part. I was working on my album and Ye was working on his album at the same time. So I went out to Hawaii and kicked it with him and he was doing a couple of records. Really, it just came together. I wasn’t trying to get into his world and he wasn’t trying to get in my world. He do what he do. I’m all about growing. It’s like if you were to listen to my s— and be like, “That’s dope, but it could be bigger if you do it like this.”

The BoomBox: One collaboration that everyone is talking about is ‘I’m Goin’ In,’ a track you recorded with Wayne and Drake. How did that whole thing come together?

Young Jeezy: It started off when we were working on some things for my album. I knew Drake was working on his album as well, so when I heard the song I was like, “Damn, that’s crazy.” They wanted me to f— with it so I jumped right on it the next day. I didn’t even know it was a real song. I thought it was for a mixtape. But it’s winning. I think we are going to shoot the video on the road.

The BoomBox: You were one of the first rappers to treat your mixtape like an official release even shooting videos for some of the tracks. What’s your thoughts on Drake who has followed that same path with ‘So Far Gone’?

Young Jeezy: I came from the ‘Trap or Die’ era. That’s just part of the new generation. I took four songs that were on my mixtape and put them on my first album because I had no choice. They were that big. I’m just happy to be one of the forefathers of that.

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