In 2014, Jeezy graced the cover of our Power 30 issue in a pivotal year for his career.
“The Real Is Back” again, but this time in a different, more triumphant form. Pastor Young released his sixth LP, Church In These Streets, this past Friday and judging by records like the title track and “Sweet Life,” he’s entered a stage where he’s as contemplative as he appears on our cover.
There’s certainly a lot to think about for Jay Jenkins right now. This year marked 10 years since his major label debut, and he’s gone from being student of the game to one of its teachers. He’s “Seen It All” (as last year’s opus reminded us) and he’s returning to deliver church to those of us who can use a good sermon.
We spoke with a pensive Jeezy about everything from his unfortunate jail stint to how it permanently changed his outlook on life, the impact #BlackLivesMatter has had on him as a community representative and much more.
Seen It All was a very introspective album where it seemed like you poured out your soul. What was your mindset this time around, recording Church In These Streets?
“Seen It All was more personal, it was more so like a lot of issues, a lot of things I was going through. Instead of writing them in my ‘diary’ I wrote it in an album. That was more of a ‘Jeezy album’, what I was going through at the time. This Church In These Streets is way different, man. I went through a situation while I was out in L.A. I was incarcerated and locked up for some things I had nothing to do with, and quite naturally all the charges were dropped. But while I was sitting in that cell which was about a week, it just really let me know how powerful my voice is and how much—how far it reaches, and who it speaks for. It was the first time since I’ve been successful that I had that much time to myself with nothing to do, because I had to just sit there and think.”
You were only in jail for a week, but in that time how was the support? Did you hear from anyone you didn’t expect to?
“I actually didn’t really hear from the people I expected to hear from. I didn’t get support from a lot of the people I thought I would get support from. It let me know what was really going on and where I’m at in my life. I had a lot of my employees in there with me and instead of getting out like anyone else would’ve done I stayed until they got out. We went in together, so we should come out together. When I got everything arranged and everybody out; that was my first unselfish moment. I’m a natural born leader and that was my time to lead. I got us in the predicament, I got us out and everybody’s charges were dropped. But it made me angry. It made me frustrated. It made me furious, you know?”
Also featured in this issue: Our yearly predictions on what will transpire in a sure-to-be entertaining NBA season plus exclusive interviews with the cast of upcoming Vh1 film, The Breaks. We also re-visit A Tribe Called Quest‘s legacy in light of the re-release of their debut album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (the first album to ever be awarded 5-mics from The Source), talk to emerging artist Bryson Tiller and give out the ever-important year-end awards, including Album of the Year.
We’ll be revealing Cover 2-of-3 on Monday, November 23, and you can grab your Jeezy issue on newsstands on Tuesday, December 1.