Hip-hop history was made March 5, 2006 when Three 6 Mafia performed their song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” at the Academy Awards. It was the first time any rappers had ever performed on an Oscar stage. Then, when the group won the Best Song category for their track from the Hustle & Flow soundtrack, Three 6 became the second hip-hop artist to ever win an Oscar (Eminem was first with “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile). After a jubilant acceptance speech, a good amount of joyous tears and a night of heavy partying, Three 6 hit the Hollywood circuit and have been going hard ever since. With tons of mainstream press and a slew of bizarre new fans, the hard-working Memphis crew has been greatly enjoying their sudden success. XXLMAG.COM recently caught up with group leader Juicy J to discuss their new found fame, his brother Project Pat getting out of jail and what winning the gold statue means for hip-hop.
Do you get tired of answering questions about your Oscar win?
Nah, nah. I do not mind answering any questions about this Oscar because it was such a great experience. I promise you that for anyone who’s ever won an Oscar, it’s a night to remember. It’s one of the biggest days of our lives.
Did you guys ever think you were going to win?
Never in a billion, quadrillion years. The whole group was real nervous when we got on stage because we’ve never done nothing like that, and billions of people was watching. Once they said, “Three 6 Mafia to the stage,” my heart started beating so fast. When I was walking to the stage, you know [how] a boxer, before he goes in the ring, starts jogging? I was actually trying to do that and work up body heat to calm myself down. And once I got on the stage I saw Jamie Foxx and he was like, “Yeah, do your thing, yeah!” And I was like, “Okay.” When I saw Jamie Foxx give us a two-thumbs-up, I was like, “Cool, we can do this now. We gonna do a great show.”
Everybody kept saying that you guys had the best acceptance speech…
It was so real and we didn’t write down an acceptance speech. It was nothing written down. When they said, “Three 6 Mafia,” we went crazy. My mama said, “Boy, I ain’t never seen you jump that high.” I dedicated it to her and to my Dad. My Dad had had surgery the day I found out we got nominated. I’m like, “Dad this is for you. I’m out here hustlin’ and grindin’, but I won this Oscar for you. I love you.” He said, “I’m proud of you. I didn’t know the music was going to take you this far but you done did it.” My Dad has always been there by my side, watching me growing up.
Are you doing crazy press? We’ve see Three 6 Mafia on some weird shit since then, like Crunchy Black teaching Ellen how to dance on her show.
Oh yeah, we doin’ stuff that I never thought I’d be doing, which is great—especially Ellen’s show. It’s just a blessing, man. It’s so exciting. Everyday we wake up to something brand new. This is big for Three 6 Mafia. A lot of people who never knew who we were or just said, “Hmm, Three 6 Mafia? Maybe, maybe not.” Now they love Three 6 Mafia. Everybody showing us a lot of love. This is big for hip-hop now. We just here to keep this hip-hop fire alive.
You also got your brother, Project Pat, back this year. You been in the studio a lot together?
Yeah, we workin’ on Pat’s album. It’s called Crook By the Book. It’s coming out great. Actually, I just got to New York and I’m getting ready to go on 106 & Park in a minute. But we in the studio tonight doing the finishing touches on [Pat’s album]. That’s my brother. I’m so glad to have him back. He’s in the studio all the time. He does a lot of writing for Three 6 Mafia. He’s an incredible writer. I’m telling you, it’s just overwhelming.
What’s next for you guys?
We just stay with the music—that’s what got us here. We keep it real with you. We still say in the same city. Telephone number ain’t changed, it’s still the same. The only thing that has changed is the prices. But we still in this hip-hop game, man. We gotta keep spreadin’ love in hip-hop, letting everybody know hip-hop is here to stay. We gonna keep hope alive and keep doing what we doing, keeping everything positive.
Is it going to be more expensive to get Juicy J and a DJ Paul beat these days?
It depends on who the artist is, because we still grinding. I like working with other artists that grind. If I would really have to top the question off, I would probably say no, because we keeping it real. This is what I love. This is what we do, and I like working with underground artists. I love it.