Jay Jenkins may have been born in Columbia , South Carolina , but he is a product of Duncan Block in Georgia -- although it's much more hip to say he is from South of Atlanta. Just shy of his thirty-first birthday, "Lil J" has come a long way since his debut album Thuggin' Under the Influence (T.U.I), released in 2001.
Raised primarily by aunts and grandmothers after his parents separated at a young age, Young Jeezy created strong bonds with his older cousins. So strong in fact, that they had him dealing drugs on the streets by the time he was just twelve years old. Although he managed to keep a clean record until the ripe old age of seventeen, Young Jeezy did then have the privilege of serving nine months in a boot camp in Savannah, Georgia for possession of crack cocaine, while during this same year, Young Jeezy fathered a son.
At twenty-two years old, Jay Jenkins moved to West Atlanta 's 4 th Ward to reinvent himself and replace his self-described "empty" childhood with a music career that would end up taking off in a vertical trajectory straight away from Young Jeezy's past. For six years Young Jeezy honed his mixing skills without any trouble from the law. With his street credibility being paramount and his opposition to filing in line with mainstream commercial musicians intact, Young Jeezy chose to collaborate with established artists, as well as talented unknowns, who shared similar musical values. His first album, for example, included the vocal contributions of Lil John and Kinky B., to name a few.
Jay Jenkins' next effort was Come Shop Wit' Me , released in 2003 under his label, Corporate Thugz Entertainment. It was with this album that he made the transition from being known as Lil J to Young Jeezy. Young Jeezy pushed it in the underground scene and managed to sell 50,000 copies.
With a huge following and increased notoriety, Bad Boy Records signed Young Jeezy in 2004, which is also the year that Young Jeezy joined the Boys n da Hood group. Together, Young Jeezy and his group released their self-titled album in June, 2005, which hit No.5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
One month later, Young Jeezy released a solo album with Def Jam records called Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 - this album debuted at No.2, and sold 172,000 copies in its first week. True to his capitalistic mores, and not unlike the antics of Prince, Young Jeezy leveraged the talents of artists such as Akon, Lil Will, Trick Daddy, Mannie Fresh, and any more. For artists like Akon, this was indeed a breakthrough opportunity.
2006 was truly an explosive year for this emerging artist - both with Young Jeezy's musical accomplishments and with his personal challenges. Following the release of two albums, Young Jeezy had lucrative success with several singles from his album The Inspiration , featuring R. Kelly, T.I., Keyshia Cole, and again, many others. Reaching No.1 in the country at sales of 352,00 copies, the first single on the album, I Luv It , reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ironically, Young Jeezy faced yet another arrest following the hit CD release for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon, but for which he was later acquitted.
The following year hosted Young Jeezy's tour, I am the Street Dream , which launched March 2007. That December his company Corporate Thugz Entertainment, Young Jeezy initiated a week-long toy drive Toyz in da Hood, which resulted in the give-away of 1000 toys to children in Atlanta .
Today, Young Jeezy is pushing his music with a focus on the positive. He still sits as the CEO of Corporate Thugz Entertainment, even though he is represented by other labels, and Young Jeezy's primary goal is more concentrated toward inspiring youths from tough neighborhoods with the message that if you work hard, you can make it. and to think it all started with peddling music from the trunk of his car.