The Jeezy Principles: 33 Steps to a Perfect Life

There are only a handful of weeks left between now and the release of Young Jeezy’s new album, Seen It All: The Autobiography. To be sure, this is a lovely thing.

Jeezy has, at least creatively, been on the winning side of rap history for the duration of his career, which he has managed to stretch out more than a decade (!). This likely explains why he decided to call his new album Seen It All: The Autobiography. He is a clever, talented rapper possessed of a charismatic roughness, comparable to, say, the way the edge of a piece of plastic feels after you drag it across concrete. Early reviews of SIA:TA have been encouraging (Vice called it “some of his most positive and thoughtful work”), while the first two singles, “In My Head” and “Seen It All” (featuring a hearty contribution from Jay Z), ranged from serviceable to stellar.

Nine years ago, Jeezy released Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, the best full-length project of his career and a genuinely classic rap album. It will hold his place in the canon for all of time. It was brash and aggressive and fun and authentic and surprisingly heartfelt (“Talk to ’Em,” where Jeezy raps to an incarcerated friend and considers his own role in the situation, remains an emotive high point). But, somehow, it’s more important than just those very impressive things.

Embedded within its trapTrapTRAP-OR-DIE framework, tucked behind the gunplay chatter, cuddled up next to the cocaine metaphors and the fat money brags, were also 33 guiding principles to a perfect life.

While affirming and then crystallizing his street rep, Jeezy also managed to tell you every single thing you would ever need to know to be the happiest, most fulfilled version of you. This is a celebration of that.

So read it. Print it out. Slide it into your wallet or get it tattooed onto your chest. Your destiny is here. Your happiness is here. Your everything is here.

1. How to Be the Best at Weaseling Your Way Out of a Situation

“There’s a message in my words, you gotta decode it.” (“Thug Motivation 101”)

Husband: No, no, no. You’re misunderstanding me.

Wife: How, John?

Husband: OK. Yes, technically, yes, I said if I had met your sister first I’d have probably tried to sleep with her.

Wife: I know what you said, John!

Husband: But there’s a message in my words, you gotta decode it.

Wife: [Stares.]

Husband: [Stares back, silently prays.]

Wife: … Wait. So are you saying that what you were actually trying to say is that God put me in your heart beforehand and so if you first saw my sister before you saw me, she was close enough to the picture you had of me imprinted on your soul that it would’ve brought you to her?

Husband: That is exactly what I’m saying.

Wife: Oh, John. [Starts crying.] I love you so much.

How many marriages has Young Jeezy saved since TM101 came out? At least 200,000.

2. How to Be the Best at Carrying a Gun

“Right on my waistline is where I kept that strap.” (“Standing Ovation”)

Before I heard this song I used to carry my gun taped to my back like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Now I know better.

3. How to Live a Happy and Healthy and Fruitful Life

“Fuck bad bitches, smoke big blunts. Who am I to tell you different?” (“Standing Ovation”)

The Gospel of Jeezy. Beautiful.

4. How to Learn About Animals

“I watch Animal Planet.” (“Standing Ovation”)

Pretty simple. I’ve used this bit of advice many times.

5. How to Not Act Without Precision

“Calculate my every step, I’m a mathematician.” (“Standing Ovation”)

Just a few days ago I bought my 20-month-old son one of those obnoxious plastic cars that babies love to ride around in. I was pushing him around the house for a few minutes before I decided I was an expert. I immediately started flinging him around corners trying to Tokyo Drift the car. I think we made it, like, three turns before he crashed into the hallway wall. Those cars have cup holders and a functioning door and a horn that beeps. Guess what they don’t have, though? Seat belts. My poor little baby mashed his face against the dash when he collided with the wall. I did not calculate my every step. I was not a mathematician. :(

6. How to Be the Best Weatherman

“Look up in the sky, tell me what you see. (The clouds.) Nah, n​​-​-​-​-, not me. I see opportunity. I’m an opportunist.” (“Let’s Get It/Sky’s the Limit”)

Let me ask you a question: How much are you worth? I don’t mean in the figurative sense. In the figurative sense, you are a human and you are perfect. I love you, you’re worth at least five billion dollars. I mean in the literal sense. In the literal sense, you’re probably worth between $50,000 and $150,000. Per Celebrity Net Worth, Jeezy is worth about $15 million. When you look at the sky you see clouds. When Jeezy looks at the sky he sees opportunity. He’s the best weatherman.

7. How to Be a Good Worker

“Anything you put your mind to, put your grind to.” (“Let’s Get It”)

“Run these streets all day, I can sleep when I die.” (“Soul Survivor”)

“Post on the block — rain, sleet, snow, sunny.” (“Trap or Die”)

A great work ethic is important.

8. How to Understand If You Are a Man Or a Boy

“Men do what they want, boys do what they can.” (“Let’s Get It/Sky’s the Limit”)

“Boy” here. :(

9. How to Be the Best at Understanding the Bible

“Put my hands on the Bible and I solemnly swear, leave the mall with more shoes than I could possibly wear.” (“Let’s Get It/Sky’s the Limit”)

We’ve all been mishearing The Lord’s Prayer for so long. Wow. Oh, wow. It’s not “Give us this day our daily bread,” it’s “Give us these J’s, our daily bread.” I see it. I see it now. The light is so bright and pure and beautiful.

Thank you, Jeezy. Thank you for saving my eternal soul. 

10. How to Be the Best at Nursery Rhymes

“Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, microwave.” (“And Then What”) 

If you don’t do this version of “Pat-a-Cake” when you’re playing with your baby, then why are you even having babies, because you are doing everything all the way wrong. You probably put socks on his hands and try to feed food into his butt.

11. How to Be the Best at Having an Open Mind

“We don’t just say no, we too busy saying yeeeaaaaahhhhhh.” (“That’s How Ya Feel”)

Never say no. Always say yes. Good things happen. Did you even watch Yes Man?

12. How to Be the Best at Not Resting on Your Laurels

“First I’m gonna stack my flo, then I’m gon’ stack some more.” (“And Then What”)

I know that a big problem I have is after I stack my flo, the last thing that I think to do is stack some more. Mostly I just start trying to spend the flo. I need better flo discipline. 

13. How to Give Yourself Proper Credit

“Some say I lucked up. I call it perfect timing.” (“And Then What”)

It’s important to recognize greatness, particularly when it’s you that’s being great. When something good happens to you, you gotta make sure you don’t let anybody siphon away the credit that rightly belongs to you.

14. How to Be Observant

“I see you lookin’, with yo’ lookin’ ass.” (“And Then What”)

First-class advice.

15. How to Be the Best at Horseshoes and Also at Drug Dealing

“Like horseshoes, I was tossing them O’s.” (“Go Crazy”)

You just toss them, I guess. I don’t know. I’ve never been very good at horseshoes, worse still at drug dealing.

The one time I tried to be a drug dealer: When I was in the seventh grade I was hanging out with this boy named Nicky. Nicky was popular, but only because he looked EXACTLY like Beavis from Beavis and Butt-Head. At any rate, Nicky’s mom, she was a real tosspot. That’s why I liked to go to his house so much. She’d just leave us there alone for, like, two days straight. It was like we had our own place. But so we were hanging out one day and Nicky had managed to get his little yellow fingers on two joints. He planned on smoking one and saving the other. This boy Paul, though, he told Nicky he wanted to buy the extra one from him. Nicky was like, “Cool. $1.” I said, “Ay, whoa, whoa. $1? How much do joints cost when you buy them? That seems like not a lot.” And Nicky was like, “A single joint usually costs a buck.” Nicky smoked A LOT so he had to have been right. And so I asked Paul, “Paul, is there anyone else around here selling joints that you can get to?” And Paul said, “No.” And I said, “There’s no way for you to get one right now?” And he said, “No.” So then I said, “Well, then this joint is no longer $1. This joint is $10.” And Paul and Nicky were both very insulted. Nicky: “It ain’t even yours to sell.” Paul: “Fuck you! I ain’t paying $10 for a joint. They’re a dollar!” And so I explained to them that since it was the only joint currently around it was worth way more than a dollar. And Nicky said, “That makes sense. OK. $10.” And Paul, he steamed. He was furious. He sat there for a second, then he cocked back and punched me in the arm as hard as he could. And then he took the joint from Nicky and gave him a dollar. 

16. How to Be the Best at Being Honest

“It pays to tell the truth, dog, it only makes sense.” (“Go Crazy”)

“I never exaggerated one line, one dime. Never lied to the people, not one time.” (“Thug Motivation 101”)

I mean, that little story right above this about the drug dealing, it’s true, and I got paid for writing it, so Jeezy’s spot-on here. Tell the truth.

17. How to Be the Best at Arguing Against Guns

“Now who the fuck wanna play with guns. A lot of holes, a lot of blood, dog. The shit ain’t fun.” (“Go Crazy”)

That’s the best case against gun ownership that I’ve ever heard. Do you like holes in your body? Nope. Do you like blood? Nope. Then you won’t like guns. Malibooyah. You’ve just been crushed by the iron-fisted grip of transitive logic.

18. How to Be the Best at Being Nefarious

“Only hang out with them criminals and drug dealers.” (“Last of a Dying Breed”)

“Shoot first and ask questions later.” (“Last of a Dying Breed”)

Really, this is basically all you need if you want to be a bad dude.

19. How to Be the Best at Customer Service

“Before they even stopped, we ran to them cars.” (“My Hood”)

That’s very good drug dealer customer service. Try to mimic this business principle whenever you can.

20. How to Not Be a Snitch

“You got loose lips, you better put a collar on them.” (“Bottom of the Map”)

“Real talk, look, I’m telling you, man, if you get jammed up don’t mention my name.” (“Soul Survivor”)

“We don’t talk on the phones cuz it might stick.” (“Gangsta Music”)

Got it. 

21. How to Be the Best at Spending Money

“My money come fast, so that’s how I spend it.” (“Bottom of the Map”) 

I bet you hadn’t realized that Jeezy had such an extensive understanding of the importance of maintaining a sound financial base.

22. How to Make History

“Got trapper of the year four times in a row.” (“Get Ya Mind Right”) 

I’ve never even met anyone who managed to win trapper of the year one time in a row. Jeezy did it four times. Wow. What a winner. He’s the Bill Russell of trappers.

23. How to Be an Optimist

“Minus the bullshit, life’s great.” (“Get Ya Mind Right”)

If you subtract all the things that are going horribly for you, then guess what, now everything is going great for you. That’s a little thing called your glass being half-full of perfect.

24. How to Know When to Fight, and Then How to Win That Fight

“Disrespect, we gon’ take it there. We 30 deep, lil n​​-​-​-​-, we ain’t fighting fair.” (“Bang”)

When to fight: You fight anybody that is disrespectful to you. That’s the rule. That’s the law.

How to fight: unfairly. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything more ridiculous than fighting nobly. Eff you see kay that, bro. I have never in my whole entire life been in a fair fight. I mean, I’ve been in a couple of one-on-one fights, but basically every one of them included me doing something outside the parameters of traditional warfare. One time, for example, I threw an unopened can of soda at a guy’s face as my first attack. Another time I ran up behind a guy and punched him in the side of his head. That’s just how it goes. If you’re going to fight someone, bring 30 people. If you can’t bring 30 people, bring a pipe or something.

25. How to Not Let Anybody Disrespect You

1. “Where I’m from if we don’t like it we do something, n​​-​-​-​-.” (“Bang”)

2. “Stomped a n​​-​-​-​- ass out until they turn the lights on.” (“Bang”)

1. The best advice.

2. Overreacting is always a great way to go, particularly if you don’t want somebody to mess with you anymore. If someone plays a prank on you (let’s say they put shaving cream on your face while you sleep) and you respond in this way-over-the-top manner (you kidnap his son and tie him up and leave him in a basement for 36 hours), then, oh hey, lookie there, he’s not playing anymore pranks on you.

26. How to Not Get Arrested When You Have a Car Full of Drugs and Guns

“But I talked to him the right way, he told me slow it down and have a nice day.” (“Don’t Get Caught”)

The title of this song is “Don’t Get Caught.” Perfect.

27. How to Be a Realist

1. “A hundred grand on my wrist, yeah, life sucks.” (“Soul Survivor”)

2. “Fuck the club, dog, I’d rather count a million bucks.” (“Soul Survivor”)

1. Money isn’t the most important thing.

2. But sometimes it is.

28. How to Be the Best at Measuring Influence

“Last time I checked I was the man in these streets.” (“Trap or Die”)

Even if you’re not the man in these streets, even if you’ve never actually conducted a proper opinion canvas, your default answer should always be that you are, in fact, the man in these streets. If someone argues with you, then I’d like to point you back to the advice offered at sections 24 and 25.

29. How to Not Quit When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

“Even when I’m constipated I still shit on n​​-​-​-​-​-.” (“Trap or Die”)

You gotta fight through it.

30. How to Be Loyal to Your Girl

“Got one baby mama, no bitch, no wife.” (“Tear It Up”)


31. How to Recognize When You’ve Made a Mistake

“You asked me kindly not to bring the white in the house. And then what I do? Bring the white in the house.” (“Talk to ’Em”)

“In the hearts of those who grind with O’s. They feel my pain, they at my shows.” (“Standing Ovation”)

Because it’s important that you understand you are not infallible.

32. How to Be the Best at Dealing With Criticism

“The ugly hoes say a n​​-​-​-​- arrogant.” (“That’s How Ya Feel”)

If someone says you’re arrogant, or if they criticize you in any way, really, then you call that person ugly. The Internet has a sound understanding of this one. 

33. How to Be the Best at Being Economical

1. “I can get $100,000 in these Sean John jeans.” (“Air Forces”)

2. “In one night: eight bitches, 10 bottles of Cris.” (“Air Forces”)

1. The only time nobody will make fun of you for wearing Sean John jeans is if you have $100,000 in cash in them.

2. That’s an average of 1.25 bottles of Cristal per.

There you go. Follow those. Congratulations on the perfect life you’re about to live.

Filed Under: Music, Young Jeezy, jeezy, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, Seen It All: The Autobiography

Shea Serrano is a staff writer for Grantland. His latest book, The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated and Deconstructed, is a New York Times best seller and is available everywhere.

Archive @ SheaSerrano