Veteran hip-hop artist Jeezy is tired of seeing fellow rappers losing their lives senselessly. In a recent interview with former NBA star-turned-journalist Jalen Rose, Jeezy lamented the death of his fellow MCs.
Jeezy has been in the music game since 1997. He had this advice for rappers with rap beefs.
“I would encourage them to keep their head on straight because you wanna get the money, but you want to live to enjoy it,” he said on Rose’s podcast as reported in the New York Post.
King Von was shot and killed Nov. 26. New York native Pop Smoke was shot and killed during a Los Angeles home invasion in February at age 20.
Both seemed to be on the verge of stardom when they were gunned down.
King Von was signed to fellow Chicago hip-hop artist Lil Durk’s record label, Only the Family and Empire Distribution. His first single, “Crazy Story,” debuted in 2018. King Von’s debut studio album, “Welcome to O’Block,” hit No. five on the Billboard Hot 200 in its second week after his death, BET reported.
Brooklyn-born hip-hop artist Pop Smoke was murdered in Hollywood Hills, California, during a home invasion, according to authorities. His debut studio album, “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” was posthumously released in July 2020 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with all 19 tracks from the album charting on the Billboard Hot 100.
King Von and Pop Smoke are casualties of 2020, but there have been hip-hop murders for decades — from Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC fame, who was murdered in his Queens, New York, studio in 2002 to Nipsey Hussle, gunned down in front of his clothing store in South Central Los Angeles in 2019.
Jeezy says he sees the number of murders growing in hip hop.
“I think a lot with this generation now, the money is so fast, and it’s so easy,” Jeezy told Rose. “The thought process is, take each other out because that’s what it’s about. If I take you out, there’s more for me. I just think at the end of the day, I am not here to preach kumbaya. If the Italians can get along with the Irish, I just don’t understand why it’s gotta come to what it’s gotta come to … I ain’t never seen anyone from Apple kill someone from Microsoft.”
Jeezy himself has been involved in beefs that could have turned deadly. He has had a long-standing beef with hip-hop artist and onetime collaborator Gucci Mane. The tension heated up when Jeezy’s friend hip-hop artist Pookie Loc was shot dead in 2005.
Just this week, it seems Gucci Mane and Jeezy laid the beef to rest. They faced off on the rap battle show Verzuz, which was started by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. They battled in the same room in popular Atlanta strip club Magic City and at one point, things got tense. Gucci Mane mocked the death of Pookie Loc.
Instead of lashing out at Gucci or threatening violence, Jeezy hit back with a speech about why they were doing this battle, TMZ reported.
Jeezy said, “I brought you here to show you the world care about what the f**k we got going on, because we are the culture.”
Jeezy shouted out the names of King Von, Nipsey Hussle, Pop Smoke, Mo3, and other hip-hop artists killed in gun violence, and then he dropped lyrics from his own track, “Get Ya Mind Right.”
The battle ended with Gucci and Jeezy making peace.
On a side note, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams made a surprise guest appearance before the Atlanta rappers started their battle. She encouraged people to vote in the upcoming Georgia runoff elections for two Senate seats.
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Rose and Jeezy go way back. They have been friends for about 20 years, according to Rose.
Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before transitioning into a media personality. Rose is an analyst for ESPN.
Signed to Def Jam Recordings since 2004, Jeezy’s major label debut, “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101,” was released in 2005 and debuted at No. two on the Billboard 200, selling 172,000 copies in its first week. It was later certified platinum.
Jeezy is dropping his ninth studio album, “The Recession 2” this week and he has been elevated to an executive advisory role at Def Jam. He has also launched his talk show, “Worth a Conversation With Jay ‘Jeezy’ Jenkins” on Fox Soul, with guests such as Steve Harvey.
Ever the entrepreneur, Jeezy has his own clothing line.