Atlanta has quickly become one of the fastest-growing large cities in the United States. The city is attractive because of its rich history, outstanding food, sports teams, and the distinctive Atlanta music sound that is dominating the hip-hop scene.
Jeezy is one of, if not the most important artist to the rise of Atlanta's famous trap sound — and he reps the Dirty Birds like no other.
The "Put on for My City" artist remembers watching Deion Sanders dominate as a child growing up in Atlanta. He felt pride rocking his Falcons' black and red starter jackets and jerseys. He still sports his Falcons gear everywhere today, now with iced-out chains and expensive shades, of course, and is always talking trash to opposing team fans.
Jeezy sat down with Kris Rhim ahead of the Falcons regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles and talked about his Falcons fandom, why he expects a Super Bowl ring this season, and how the Falcons embody the city of Atlanta.
So how did you get into sports? Did you play football growing up?
Jeezy: Nah, I got into sports just watching the kids in the neighborhood play. I just took a liking to supporting. I was doing other things, so I couldn't. I was ballin'. I couldn't play ball cause I was ballin' — literally.
So how did you become a Falcons fan?
Deion Sanders. And just being from the city, you know, repping the turf, it's just like when you look at Raiders fans or different fans they represent the essence of the city, and the Falcons represent the city. You know, you always wanted a Falcon jersey so that you can wear Deion Sanders' number — it's just about repping. Growing up and going to games, it's always like a celebration. I'm proud when I go out of town, and I have on a Falcons jersey, and people are like, 'You from the A'? I'm like, 'Yeah!' You know, I feel like I'm part of the team.
Do you have a favorite memory or moment?
I feel like it was when the Falcons were going to the Super Bowl and me, Ludacris, and Jermaine Dupree performed. I was getting my career together when "Welcome to Atlanta" came out, so to watch them perform "Welcome to Atlanta" and perform "Put on for My City," to send the Falcons off to the Super Bowl, that was one of those moments. Because it was so close, but at the same time, it was like the whole city was here. Seeing our music be the soundtrack for what's going on was probably one of my biggest moments with the Falcons.
You have talked about feeling a sense of pride when you wear Falcons gear. What makes you have that sense of fulfillment?
I think it's the city and the team's connection. When you come to a Falcons game, from the tailgate — it's like an event, it's probably one of the biggest things happening in the city, especially since we got a new stadium. It's just that pride, you know, when you go to different towns, you see what they stand behind. Some cities are basketball cities, some cities are football, some soccer, but when you talk about Atlanta, you can't say Atlanta without saying the Falcons. It's a staple in the community. So for me, it's just reppin' the town.
So when you hear the phrase Dirty Birds. What does that mean to you?
It's different because you take dirty and you make it a good thing. It's like saying we get down and dirty — dirty birds. You just don't want to be birds. You want to be Dirty Birds, and I just think that's a dope way to describe the team, and it's crazy because when you think about a Falcon, they are so sleek. So you know they get their prey. And I feel like that has a lot to do with it, and I think that's a dope way to flip it because you just don't want to be the birds. There ain't nothing cool about that. If you are a bird, you're gonna want to be a dirty bird. It's like the dirty south.
How about when hear "Rise Up"?
You know what's crazy, I gotta keep it honest. I always said it when I was at games, but just here shooting this now, I'm really realizing what's going on. It's for the Falcon to rise up. So I'm glad I got a crash course on that.
I felt like rise up is like, you know just like, you know, stand up represent, you know, let them know we are in the building. Seeing how it gets people engaged, I think it makes a lot of sense, especially when you talk about dirty birds. You want them to rise up, be on top, look down for they prey.
How have the Falcons and Atlanta influenced your music?
If you think about football as a sport, you go around the world and play for your city, and I feel like that's what I was doing as far as music. I was going around the world, and I was repping for my city.
When you make records like "Put On," that was me doing my rendition of putting on for my city, so I think that goes hand in hand. Just repping and making people understand like this is what we stand for; this is what we stand on. I think that helped me as well because coming to those games, I didn't realize I would be performing in these stadiums, the same stadiums that I'm watching, a lot of the players live their dreams and their moments in, and be able to do the same, so I think that's the correlation between both.
And what excites you most about this year's Falcons?
The fresh energy. You know we got the new stadium. And, look, we need a Super Bowl, so hopefully, we didn't get it last year, so it could be this one. Yeah, that would be a good thing to make a song about, right? Winning the Super Bowl. And I'll hit Arthur Blank up and tell him I need a Super Bowl ring. And we'll be all good, baby.
What do you love most about Atlanta?
The culture. Atlanta is culture. You can't mention culture without seeing Atlanta. We go-getters and trendsetters. We trailblazers. We don't go on nobody's path, and I think that's what this city is about. You can be here and be anybody. If you make it in Atlanta, you can make it anywhere.