Young Jeezy’s catalog is one of the deepest in rap. Not all of it is essential, of course, but the bangers undoubtedly live up to the name. Here’s a small sample of Jizzle’s best songs, and click here to access our Young Jeezy Spotify playlist for these songs and more. (Almost all of these songs contain explicit language and incredibly inventive ways to talk about distributing cocaine. Enjoy!)
“Trap or Die” (2005, “Trap or Die”)
Not technically Jeezy’s first song, but it was felt like a proper introduction to Atlanta newcomer. The first words out of his mouth made the mission statement clear: “Last time I checked, I was the man on these streets / They call me residue, I leave blow on these beats.”
“Stay Strapped (Gucci Mane Diss)” (2005, mixtape — not on Spotify playlist, click song title for YouTube version)
When Jeezy got into a frighteningly serious beef with fellow Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane, he released a freestyle over T.I.'s “ASAP” titled “Stay Strapped.” There’s not enough space to breakdown the reasons before the diss, but just know it was potent: “N---s talking all tough, steady hiding and s-t / Even his own mama know, Radric Davis a bitch.” Mention a rapper’s government name and his mom in the same line and it’s a wrap.
“Don’t Get Caught” (2005, “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101”)
Jeezy’s nearly bulletproof debut has plenty of classics (“And Then What,” “Go Crazy”) but this album cut captured the paranoia of a rapper being pulled over by a cop while a brick of cocaine sits in his trunk. It’s not a new rap trope, but Jeezy - whose authenticity as a hustler made his music pulse with energy - maintained his cool better than anyone else.
“Circulate” (2008, “The Recession”)
In 20 years, don’t be surprised if Jeezy’s socially aware third album is considered his best work. “Circulate” is an obvious highlight, thanks in large part to producer Don Cannon’s smart sample of ‘70s soul singer Billy Paul’s “Let the Dollar Circulate.”
“Lose My Mind (feat. Plies)” (2011, “TM103: Hustlerz Ambition”)
This Drumma Boy-produced track first hit airwaves in the spring of 2010, but Def Jam didn’t consider it strong enough as a first single. The Baltimore Ravens disagree, blaring the club-smash throughout M&T Bank Stadium on Sundays to pump up the defense. When I told Jeezy, he already knew: “Shouts out to the homie Ray Lewis. He’s been rocking with me for awhile now.”