Juicy J sat down with Fader Magazine to discuss his Memphis upbringings, the rise and fall of Three 6 Mafia, his success, drugs, Memphis and what’s next for the Trippy artist. This really is a great interview.
Peep a few highlights below:
Seven years ago was before Three 6 Mafia got shelved by their record label, Sony. It was before Juicy J and his partner in the group, DJ Paul, let Three 6 Mafia die a slow and still-irresolute death. “If they cut a $10 million, $20 million check,” says Juicy J, there will be another record; otherwise there probably won’t.
Juicy J moved out to Los Angeles after Hustle & Flow, though he still keeps a house in Memphis. “I get my creativity from my hometown,” he says. “But out here is business.” He lives in Beverly Hills, where journalists and other unwelcome appendages of the industry are forbidden. So instead, he meets me at the Hollywood headquarters of Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang Records, where, since 2011, Juicy J has been a partner, A&R rep and artist.
They asked him about his Academy Award, because everyone asks him about his Academy Award. Juicy J answers this question dozens of times a day and never gets tired of doing so. “Everybody say it but that’s cool,” he says. “How many rappers you know that win Academy Awards?”
They released one more album, 2008’s Last 2 Walk, and then fell out with Sony over the future of the group. “Sony wanted us to do pop music,” Juicy J says. “I didn’t want to be a pop group.” It was an improbable request to begin with. Three 6 Mafia’s first national hit, “Tear Da Club Up ’97,” reportedly started so many club brawls that the group was banned from venues across the South.
So Juicy J returned to Memphis. “I took my Rolls Royce and just rode it through the neighborhood, like I used to do when I first started doing music,” Juicy says. He went to some strip clubs, got the old feeling back, started over again.
“All the music that’s out now sounds like Three 6 Mafia,” Juicy J says. “That’s why it’s not hard for me to do this.”
Downstairs, Juicy J tells me that it was ’70s rock group Sha Na Na that made him want to be a musician. He would watch them on TV in the two-bedroom North Memphis house he shared with six people, including his dad, a preacher; his mom, who worked as a librarian and substitute teacher; and his brother, who would eventually have a rap career too, as Project Pat. Sha Na Na made Juicy J want to be a drummer, but he couldn’t afford drums. So instead, he taught himself to DJ on a Fisher Price turntable, using a metal tie he took off a package of bread for a crossfader. He started rapping when the rappers he tried to form groups with failed to show up at concerts. He tried college—State Tech, in Memphis—but found it wasn’t for him and sold his car for some studio time. He paid half; DJ Paul, a pest control salesman’s son whom Juicy J met through DJing around Memphis, paid the other half.
Not too far away from where we’re sitting, Lil Wayne is in a Los Angeles hospital, recovering from what TMZ first described as a drug-induced series of seizures, and I ask Juicy J whether he worries about suffering a similar fate.
He looks at me disbelievingly and says no. “Might overdose on cash!”
“I’ll stay in the studio for the rest of my life.”
Full Story here.
Photographer John Francis Peters and style editor-at-large Mobolaji Dawodu.
Connect With Us: