Detroiters know Jay “Jeezy” Jenkins as a rapper, philanthropist, actor, businessman, and public speaker. Monday night, Aug. 14, in front of nearly 1,000 people at Detroit’s Aretha Franklin Amphitheater, people were introduced to Young Jeezy the author.
In a candid and intimate interview with fellow rapper and entrepreneur Fat Joe about his new book, Jeezy gave local fans another reason to consider him an honorary resident of the city when he talked in depth about his love for Detroit.
“I love Detroit because they always show me love. I’m a Detroitian,” Jeezy said when asked by Fat Joe why he loves Detroit. “The first time I came to Detroit it was unbelievable. Anywhere I’m at in the world, somebody from Detroit always comes up to me and says ‘Whatupdoe?’ and I say ‘Whatupdoe’ right back. I’m not trying to let nobody from this city down. Believe that.”
The Atlanta entertainer fondly recalled his first show in Detroit during Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 tour in 2009, saying the reception he got here in Detroit rivaled that of his hometown welcome.
“When I came out, the whole building was shaking. I remember Jay-Z pulling me to the side and was like ‘What the f**k is going on?’ He was like ‘Man, you got real estate here?’ I was like ‘Naw, but I’m about to.’ …Detroit was the first city I ever got a police escort in. I ain’t know what…was going on,’” he said.
“And every time I came, it’s been love. But you know what the one thing I love about Detroit the most? It’s a city full of hustlers. It’s a city full of believers. There’s not one time I came to Detroit where somebody hasn’t come up to me and said ‘Yo, I got a restaurant and I want you to try some of my food. I got a clothing line and I want you to try some of my clothes. I do this thing and I want you to try this. Everybody here is trying to make something better out of themselves and that’s why I love Detroit.”
That’s exactly what happened when Jeezy signed his first rap group after starting his record label CTE Records in 2013. The Snowman promptly inked a deal with the city’s hottest rap group, Doughboyz Cashout, saying that was his primary goal.
“Shoutout to them. Shoutout to my brother Payroll (Giovanni). Those are some of the most solid young guns I know. And then I can’t forget my brother – shoutout to Meech and mama Meech. I got cousins in Detroit and I don’t even know it,” Jeezy said.
“It was the grandmothers and uncles and people bringing the babies just to holla at me. I just didn’t understand, because I’m from Georgia and I was just like ‘Damn, why is it so much love in this city?’ And every time I came back to the city after that, it’s been nothing but solid love.”
Before moving on to the next question, Jeezy recapped his love for Detroiters in a simple and succinct way, saying: “(Detroiters) don’t sit around. They don’t ask for handouts. They don’t do none of that. They get out here and get it. So, salute to you, Detroit.”