Young Jeezy Wants Thug Motivation 102 To Convert Nonbelievers

'I don't want anybody lookin' at me sideways, like, "I told y'all he was gonna sell us out," ' rapper says.

ATLANTA — Work is getting done here, Young Jeezy swears. But if you were to enter Atlanta's legendary Patchwerk Studios on this Friday night, you would think you were in Vision Nightclub or Club 112.

The King of the South, T.I., is in the building (he actually was discovered via the early records he cut here), and he, G-Unit's Young Buck and Young Jeezy are cutting up like lifelong friends. Tip and Buck are taking time from their busy schedules to record with the Snowman, who has been crafting his second LP, The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102 (due December 5), for the past several months.

"I'm just trying to take that sh-- in a different direction," Young Jeezy said of the LP. "I'm thinking for more people now. It's like, the nonbelievers is the ones we gotta get, the people who don't understand this is how we really live. We don't mean no harm — this is just us. Everybody can't be the same — the world wouldn't work if everybody was the same."

Jeezy has separated himself from the rest of the rap-world pack by being one of the most street-credible MCs in the game. His 2005 mixtape, Trap or Die, became an audio bible for hustlers, and it caught on with just about everyone else. It was the perfect appetizer to his debut, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, which sold 2 million copies, attracting a mixture of underground and mainstream fans with beats hard enough to crack steel, Jeezy's conversational storytelling and that contagious Georgia swagger. The LP was up there with the Game's The Documentary and Kanye West's Late Registration as the most enjoyable and most played hip-hop LPs of last year.

He released singles — the "Go Crazy" remix (featuring Jay-Z), "My Hood," "And Then What" and "Soul Survivor" (featuring Akon) — but Let's Get It is one of those rare albums that can be performed with just about every cut getting a stirring crowd response. Jeezy lived on the road, promoting the LP and collecting show money for the better part of 2005 and the beginning of 2006. This summer, though, he said enough was enough and locked himself in the lab.

Jeezy's Class Is In Session
Watch the Snowman talk about Thug Motivation 102, haters and jinxes.

"I get, 'Can he do it again?,' but people don't understand [that] even on my mixtapes, I went at it like an album," he said. "Right now I'm working on my fifth album, in my mind [factoring in his first mixtape, Streets Is Watching, and his last street CD, Can't Ban the Snowman]. So I'mma be a little more advanced than people think. Because when I was doing that, I was preparing myself for this.

"I was training, I was getting ready for the fight," he continued. "You know everybody says 'the sophomore jinx'? Ain't gonna happen, man."

"I been telling everybody this is probably the best rap album in the past 10 years," Dre of producing duo Cool & Dre said in Patchwerk the next night. Cool & Dre were putting the finishing touches on a track called "Bitch I'm Jeezy."

"Of the 10 or 12 records we've heard, every record stands on its own," Dre said. "Dude's got a record on his album called 'Hypnotized.' I'm a very strong-minded person — don't too many people move me. But I listened to that record, I went home, I tried to sleep, I couldn't sleep. Then Cool called me at, like, 2 in the morning and said, 'I can't sleep.' I said, 'We have to get on the album.' "

Dre had a beat that he knew would be perfect for the Snowman, but first he had to rile up his Atlanta homeboy.

"It's epic," Dre said of "Bitch I'm Jeezy." "Me and Jeezy had a conversation in my car for a good hour before he even heard the beat. I told him the streets was talking crazy."

"He's like, 'Yo, man, I know people talkin' about Can't Ban the Snowman like, 'You really ain't come [hard] on there,' " Jeezy recalled. "So I was like, 'They said what? Who said that?' I was like, 'Gimme the track.' And I walked into the studio and locked the door and said, 'Y'all don't come in here until I'm done.' I just went off. I opened the door and let him hear it, and he was like, 'I had to get you riled up, man.' He might've got somebody assassinated. I was mad, man. I was like, 'I'm not real no more?' "

During the Patchwerk session, Jeezy instructed his engineer to turn the track all the way up, and vocals rained through the speakers. "Ain't no muthaf---a help me write my rhymes/ See me at the top and wanna claim my fame/ A n---a took my chain?/ Yeah muthaf---in' right/ You better off saying a n---a took my life/ Wanna assassinate my character, but I ain't actin'/ It ain't adding up, so y'all subtracting."

"I done polished up a little bit," Jeezy said of his rapping. "My delivery's better now. I know how to write a song now. Back then, I was just making things go together that made sense to me and coming up with a hook that I felt was cool.

"I want people to know that I ain't just about no jewelry," he continued. "I'm more than a chain, I'm more than a car. I'm more than all that, because I survived that for real, homie. I've got all the scars to prove it, and all the homeboys still callin' me from the pen. People still going through a lot of trials around me, and I don't give up. That's what The Inspiration is about to me, and that's why this album is so important."

Besides his Corporate Thugz family of Blood Raw and Slick Pulla, Jeezy has Akon, Keyshia Cole, Snoop Dogg, Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat on the LP. The Neptunes may be on tap for beats, and DJ Toomp produced the first single, "I Love It." Although Jeezy has the clout to grab that big pop-star guest spot to attract more mainstream fans, more than likely he'll decide to keep it 'hood. He said he's told Def Jam that he's not concerned with crossing over.

"I've had conversations with the label," he said. "I just make 'em understand, 'If you lookin' for someone like that, go sign 'em, homie. This ain't that.' But I know people thinkin' like, 'Oh, he might do 4, 5 mil this time.' But I'd rather do 2 million right now and still be able to go where I go.

"I gotta go where people gonna be eatin', and I don't want anybody lookin' at me sideways, like, 'Man, I told y'all he was gonna sell us out,' " he added. "I'm a hustla, man. Ain't nothing gonna stop me from getting no money. If I don't sell records, I'm still getting money."