In the music industry, timing is everything. Record execs painstakingly try to strategically map out the perfect time for an artist to drop. Usually that time revolves around bubbling buzz, popular side projects or just an amazingly hot single. For Project Pat—brother to the Oscar-winning Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia—that time came in 2001. Already two albums into his career and well known in his hometown of Memphis, Pat’s big dance with national stardom came in the form of his La Chat–assisted, Three 6–produced smash single “Chickenhead” off his third album, Mista Don’t Play: Everythangs Working.
But just as Pat was enjoying the biggest hit of his career, things took a turn for the worst. In March of 2001, Pat was sentenced to jail for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police pulled him over for speeding and found two revolvers in his car—a violation of his parole for aggravated robbery. Fresh off his federal bid, Pat is back to make up for lost time. And with Three Six’s chart-topping album, The Most Known Unknowns, and their Oscar win still fresh, there’s no better time for Pat to unleash his new album, Crook by the Book: The Fed Story. Relax and take notes.
Project Pat feat. Young Jeezy & Lyfe Jennings “Tell, Tell, Tell” (from Crook by the Book)
With you being fresh home, is the new album going to focus mostly your time behind bars?
It’s going to be straight hood, man. I didn’t know nothing about the fed [federal prison] game, but now I can get into it in detail because I was there. I don’t really speak about something if I really wasn’t all the way in it like that. The album gonna elaborate on some things. I got a song on there called “Two Dollar Nigga” [about] the type of dude [who] all the time he was in jail, he was wearing’ a dress. He get out of jail, now he got a flag, he Crippin’. Or he goes in wearing blue and comes out wearing red. There’s plenty of them out here cold fakin’, lying about they chips, talking about gettin’ a bird and he ain’t sellin’ no dope. They come out of jail, and the young dudes who don’t know nothing look up to them. They get about 10, 20 young dudes together and they end up sending them to an early grave and to jail. That’s that two-dollar leadership.
I heard when you got out of prison you were working at a temp agency as part of your parole.
Man, I always been the type of person [who’s] going to do what I gotta do. When I got out, they said I had to go to the halfway house. I’m like, Man I ain’t trying to break no more rules ’cause I ain’t going back to jail. I got a song on the album called “I Ain’t Going Back to Jail,” and I ain’t!
It seems this time behind bars really changed your outlook on things.
When I went to the feds, [the reality of it] was in my face. Like, you really is a coward and you really ain’t the dude you portrayed [yourself] as. And as far as the drug game, it ain’t no way you can win in that game. You might as well stop it right now, ’cause you can’t win. The Feds can always come back on you. I seen guys that don’t sell dope no more. Four years and 11 months later, you done got legit. Guess what? You still looking at conspiracy, 25-to-life. Nine times out of ten, you don’t get away. The police and the Feds [got] a gun to your face, and your partner who sold dope with you got a gun to your back.
Judging by “Tell, Tell, Tell,” it seems like you must be a strong advocate of the “stop snitching” campaign.
This is real talk: It say in the Bible that you shouldn’t put the same affliction on your brother that you wouldn’t take, ’cause that’s unjust. If I tell you to drink this, and I ain’t willing to drink this, that’s unjust. I make you swallow a pill but I ain’t gonna swallow it, that’s like telling my kids, “I don’t want to see y’all holding guns and robbing stores,” and I’m running around holding guns and robbing stores. What you supposed to do is let the police do their job and you don’t get involved. Were you victimized? Did somebody pull a gun on you? If that ain’t your business, then don’t get involved in somebody’s business.
So, this is stuff you learned from personal experiences?
When I was in the state, I had an experience like that, but I didn’t give the guy a chance to snitch on me. I did the time and ran.
I was involved in [the] robbery of a place of business and the police knew the only way I [got] in that door is somebody on the inside let me in. [I] couldn’t have pried it open, cause there were no marks on the door or nothing. When I came in, the door didn’t have no knobs on it, so they kept questioning me about it. I was taking my time and the guy who let me in was sitting [next to] the prosecutor. I didn’t say his name one time. But I’ma show you how the game is so wicked: I ended up getting nine years in the state, but if that [same guy] hadn’t fully cooperated with the prosecutor, I just would’ve got only eight years. It’s awful, man.
On a lighter note, winning the Oscar brought a lot of exposure to what Hypnotize Minds is doing. Where were you when they won the award?
I was doing what everybody else was doing, shocked and about to pass out. I was out there in L.A. recording. It was off the chain. It was like party over here, party over there, but I didn’t kick it like that. Juicy and Paul and them did, but I stayed in. I had studio time the next day. Everybody’s got their time and it’s our time now. We got this reality show coming out about Dirty South rappers making it in Hollywood. It’s a reality show, but it’s a comedy show, too. It’s us—Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat—and we got some niggas from the hood [laughs]. It’s [called] Making it in Hollyhood or Hustlin’ in Hollyhood, I think. It’s us in the raw, in Hollywood. They gonna laugh it up.
Speaking of Hollywood, you have a movie in the works, right?
Choices 3. We ain’t started on it, but we got the script for it and it’s going down. It’s just going to be about me getting out of jail and taking everything back. I got to have it all. You got the King of New York? Well, call me the King of North Memphis. Get it by any means necessary.
You’re really known for your inventive slang. How juicy does it have to be for Project Pat to say “Good Googly Moogly”?
That’s just slick Dirty South talk. Something [that’s] really nice-looking. I had a girl ask me, “Do the butt gotta be fat?” And I said, “Well, if it is, that’s a plus, but that don’t mean that you don’t see something you like that’s petite.” I like petite. That’s “Good Googly Moogly” to me too!