Jeezy flipped a diamond-encrusted chain and also a sketch drawing into one of hip-hop’s many controversial fashion statements.

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Back in 2005, as soon as Jeezy to be still sporting “Young” in his name, the upstart Atlanta rapper set himself personal by slapping a huge, scowling snowman—eyebrows slanted, directly line because that a mouth, glitter-frosted—onto a T-shirt. It to be all component of fancy campaign to encourage the street-anointed breakout star of Puff Daddy’s group Boyz N Da Hood, climate seeking solo mainstream success with his debut Def Jam LP Let’s acquire It: Thug an inspiration 101.

According come Jeezy, that project started v a trip to his jeweler. “I took him around $150,000, maybe $200,000, like, ‘Yo, I desire this snowman medallion.’” Jeezy remembers. That sported the piece on the covering of his Trap Or Die mixtape, i m sorry dropped in January 2005, and also “Snowman” quickly ended up being his call card, because of his past dealing cocaine, or “snow.” “When I began wearing the I instantly saw how human being was spring at that shit in the society like, what the fuck?’ as the music was gaining bigger, civilization were calling me Snowman an ext than they to be calling me Jeezy.”

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As Jizzle’s notoriety grew, therefore did bootlegging. Knockoff version of the noodle shirts started popping up at streetwear stores about the country. Some added bandanas and also guns come the original design, others come in different colorways. Jeezy realized just how rampant the bootlegging had end up being during an August expedition to the MAGIC trade show in las Vegas through Jay Z, where he witnessed “30 various booths” selling miscellaneous Snowman shirts. “They to be selling favor crack,” he adds. “ request me, ‘Did you trademark that?’ i was like, ‘Yeah, but how carry out you avoid ?’”

School administrators wondered the exact same question, particularly when word obtained out about the drug-related messaging of the Snowman logo. In November, Associated Press reported that college officials were start to half the shirt. Reports the principals make students rotate their Snowman shirt inside out surfaced native Brooklyn to Bankhead; part students were reportedly sent house for their Jeezy gear. “I psychic waking increase one day and also my male was like, ‘Turn top top CNN!’” Jeezy says. “There to be a an international ban at all the schools.”

“When we started to watch that i was like, ‘Oh shit, we made it!’” Ayars adds.

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“I think they to be nervous that somebody from the streets had actually that lot influence,” Jeezy says, mirroring on the nationwide backlash. “That image is iconic. You have the right to make her own presumptions from it, yet a two year-old kid deserve to look in ~ that and also tell girlfriend it’s a snowman.”

This no the an initial or critical time a rapper would be criticized because that merch. In 2000, one Ohio teen sued the regional police department because that confiscating an Insane Clown Posse shirt that review “MERRY FUCKIN" CHRISTMAS BITCH!” in red and green writing. He settled out that court. An ext recently, Rev. Al Sharpton referred to as for a boycott the Kanye’s confederate flag-adorned Yeezus merch in 2013. Last year, “out of respect” for veterans, PacSun pulled A$AP Rocky shirts the featured one upside under U.S. Flag.

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As because that Jeezy, he supplied the criticism to fuel his career. In February 2006, the dropped Can’t half The Snowman, top top which he defiantly raps: “I bow under to no guy / i say all that to say the you can’t ban the Snowman.” He’s also got a tune on there referred to as “Jeezy The Snowman” whereby he directly addresses the controversy:


Seventy-two karats on mine Snowman pieceI’m dope young fresh, 4X black color teeAnd there’s a million motherfuckers feelin’ just like me.

Since then, Jeezy’s ongoing to use the Snowman as component of his brand, most recently top top the cover of his brand-new No. 1 album, Trap or dice 3. “I think that connects your brand-new fans and the ones that have actually been riding with you from job one,” claims Jeezy, who’s selling those classic tees when again via his website. “That’s why ns didn’t desire my snapshot on the album cover. I simply wanted to do it iconic. Also these new kids, castle excited around the Snowman since they heard about it. Now they obtain a possibility to watch it and also feel it everywhere again."