There comes a time in the career of a rapper where he or she needs to pull back the layers so that we can see the person they truly are. Sometimes this is done in literary form via an autobiography, but the more popular method these days seems to be via a biopic or documentary film. Young Jeezy is the newest addition to the world of Hip Hop documentaries.

Words: Andrea K. Castillo

Young Jeezy’s A Hustlerz Ambition: The Documentary premiered last night to an audience full of industry executives, press, fellow artists and tastemakers at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood. Introducing the film was Island/Def Jam President & COO Steve Bartels and Jeezy himself; both thanking the audience for their support, in spite of the rain, to be a part of the major event.

Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the documentary gave viewers a raw, behind-the-scenes look at Jay Wayne Jenkins, the man behind the Young Jeezy moniker. Born in October of 1977, Jenkins dealt with many hardships early in his life. His parents’ separation when he was still fairly young, led to his mother’s abuse of drugs and alcohol. By the time Jeezy was 11, he was selling drugs in the “trap” of his Hawkinsville, Georgia neighborhood. While his mother didn’t approve of his illegal pursuits, nor paid mind to her own substance abuse, her anger for his father was in full form and regularly taken out on the young Jenkins. Naturally causing a rift within the household, leaving it fully divided, because of this, Jeezy often spent time at his grandmother’s house, which eventually became the center of his operation. As he matured, he made up his own code in the drug game, and even became a leader to those who were years older than he. His determination in his endeavors led him to start Young Gunz Entertainment, which later evolved into CTE (Corporate Thugz Entertainment) with friend Kink, whom he met in a juvenile boot camp program years prior.

Detailed accounts of the growth of CTE, from its humble beginnings exposing artists from “the block”, to its strategic move to have Jeezy as the brand’s premier artist, are just a few insightsAmbition highlights. Viewers will come to really understand the importance of Atlanta strip clubs, a means of promotion for Jeezy’s music, as strippers share their stories of receiving songs from the CTE team, dancing their best to them to show how hot the songs were. It was in this transitional period that Jeezy became affiliated with producer Shawty Red and Def Jam A&R Shakir Stewart, who became the crucial link to Jeezy’s signing to Def Jam and further exposing his CTE label.

The film does well on many topics that have been brushed under the rug, including the FBI investigation of Jeezy’s alleged ties to BMF (Black Mafia Family) and his “created” beef with fellow rapper Gucci Mane, with whom he collaborated on the 2005 hit single, “Icy”. Light was also shed on Jeezy’s past medical conditions including polyps on his vocal chords (the reason behind the Gucci Mane “snub”; he couldn’t speak), and Bell’s palsy.

The proverbial fighter, Jeezy has remained true to himself despite his circumstances. Drake says it best, “He’s believable, from the moment he came in.” The stories he tells in his raps are all about real-life experiences, and A Hustlerz Ambition honestly sets the record straight.

A Hustlerz Ambition will be packaged with the deluxe version of Jeezy’s fifth studio album, Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition (aka TM103), which is set to be released in the US on December 20th.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More from the Stark staff