“If I didn’t invest in myself. If I didn’t believe in myself. I wouldn’t be sitting right here talking to y’all right now,” said Jeezy. The Grammy-nominated artist is in the midst of a radical transformation. His sentiments, words of wisdom cultivated from decades of hard labor, are the basis of Adversity for Sale: Ya Gotta Believe, his debut book, scheduled for release in August.
Over the last few years, Jeezy has grown into an elder statesman. As one of the first rappers to bring trap into the mainstream, the artist has fought not only against stereotypes in the music industry but survivor’s remorse. He credited his business partner Solo for the introduction of the concept.
“Because where we are from we suppose to keep it real until you paying for everybody’s lawsuits, until you paying for everybody’s child support, until his momma needs something,” said Jeezy. At one point in his life, Jeezy provided for almost 20 people who lived in his home. He credited an experience in Oakland, where a shooting occurred, resulting in the arrest of the rapper and entourage, as the catalyst for his change in behavior.
While he was in county jail, the people in his house did not relay any information to his family members. Upon his release, he experienced an episode of depression. “I didn’t have 10 dollars to my name,” he said. Shortly afterwards, while filming a music video, a young child pulled to Jeezy on a bike. The artist remembered the child’s shoes – dirty, tattered down, beat up. “I ain’t had five dollars. This Jeezy. And I ain’t have nobody I could call for five dollars. And that was it. That was the moment. That’s when I said “you know what I got to take care of me.”
His decision to prioritize himself and work through his survivor’s remorse was met with applause by the audience. An audience, which overtook the ESSENCE Authors stage and surrounding areas, was enamored with the artist’s personal anecdotes. As he continued to speak about overcoming betrayal and his journey toward being a self-made man, his little sister, one of the audience members, looked at him with immense pride.
“I had an incident happen with my little sister when she was holding something for me in the attic. And her ex-husband, over time, was going into the attic into my safe and taking my money. When I went back to go get it and needed it, it wasn’t there. You know me, I wanted to put him asleep. And before I could put him to sleep. And this is what taught me about loyalty. She said don’t even worry about it bro. I’m divorcing him tomorrow. It taught me so much.”
Loyalty is important to Jeezy. As a Libra, he is loyal to default, he said. Most importantly, the author wants people to know he will always provide for those who invest in him. And in response, the people who have invested in him from his hustling days to becoming an author showed up for him at the ESSENCE Authors stage.