Jeezy brought his classic debut album, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, to life in a whole new way alongside the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra this past week. Beyond celebrating his pivotal body of work, the 45-year-old was also able to reconcile his differences with Quality Control’s Kevin “Coach K” Lee.
The black-tie event took place on Friday (Jan. 27) at Atlanta Symphony Hall, where attendees were able to attend via general admission or as VIPs. Thug Motivation 101 was released in 2005 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 172,000 copies sold in its first week. The LP, boasting the singles “Soul Survivor” featuring Akon and the remix to “Go Grazy” featuring Jay-Z, has since been certified double platinum by the RIAA.
Prior to realizing his massive success, the Atlanta rapper and QC co-founder were very close and influential in one another’s careers. Though their fallout was well known, Lee felt he ought to speak up at the event and let the people know they have moved on.
“They say for your blessings to really start, you have to have a clean slate. Tonight, two Black men settle their differences,” Coach K said to rousing applause from the audience, via HipHopDX. “So here I am on this stage tonight to give you the story about how we got here.” From there, he went into detail the extent to which they knew one another and his role in the Grammy nominee’s life.
“I named Young Jeezy and he named me Coach K. We was inseparable. we put a plan down to take over the music industry.” The QC COO then told a story of the former Boyz N Da Hood member buying every bottle of Cristal in the club, angering the other crews that were present in the process. That moment led to Coach K encouraging Jeezy to rap about those types of flaunts and the street life he lived, leading to his seminal projects Trap Or Die and Thug Motivation 101.
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Lee also recalled a time when Birdman took notice of Jeezy, leading to them manifesting his future success. The “And Then What” rapper had just purchased a BMW 745i in 2003, and the Cash Money co-founder was impressed by it upon seeing the car at NBA All-Star Weekend in Atlanta. “Birdman walks by the 745i and said, ‘What is this? I’ve never seen this before.’ I looked at Jeezy and said, ‘Yep, I told you. That’s the right car.’”
Upon the Snofall artist seeing how much love Birdman and his protege Lil Wayne received from the crowd, Coach K recalled how he said “‘Bro, I can’t wait ’til they’re calling our names like that. Yeah, they gon’ be calling our names. Young Jeezy and Coach K.’”
Jeezy addressed their fallout, centered around a lack of trust and communication, during a 2022 episode of Drink Champs. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at what he does, but there were a lot of conversations that didn’t happen before the fame and the money came, and the understanding,” the father of four told N.O.R.E and DJ EFN. “It’s like getting into a marriage and you don’t talk about the things that are deal-breakers and what things you don’t want because now it’s a relationship.”
He continued, “I just didn’t trust a lot of things…I’m just understanding what I’m assuming. So if you’re not communicating with somebody and it’s not going how you want it to go, of course you’re gonna be like, ‘Yo, I’m not rocking like that.’ Then he probably thought it ain’t going how he want it to go.”
With the two now peacing things up and live performances of some of Jeezy’s most popular records, it was surely a night to remember.