Juicy J on His Chemistry With Wiz Khalifa, Gangsta Boo’s Comeback and Three 6 Mafia
It's been quite a ride for Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J. Since his group's emergence in the mid '90s, Juicy has evolved from an underground favorite to an influential gold and platinum-selling trail blazer. His career peaked when the Memphis outfit won Best Original Song at the 2006 Academy Awards for penning "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" off the Hustle & Flow soundtrack. An hilarious reality show—Adventures in Hollyhood— followed on MTV a year later, but Three 6's next album, Last 2 Walk—despite the pair's newfound visibility—generated underwhelming sales. The group has since been relatively quiet, but Juicy has been making a lot of noise on the solo tip as of late. He was named president of the A&R department for Wiz Khalifa's new imprint, Taylor Gang Records and is heavily featured on the Pittsburgh MC's recently released, Taylor Allderdice mixtape. Hard at work on his upcoming Taylor Gang debut titled, Stay Trippy, Juicy J recently chopped it up with XXLMag.com about his new deal, the status of Hypnotized Minds, his relationship with DJ Paul and his feelings on Gangsta Boo's return. —Ralph Bristout (@XXLRalph)
XXLMag.com: You’ve been dropping quite a number of mixtapes within the past few months and just recently starred on Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Allderdice. How does it feel garnering all the praise from fans about your current situation?
Juicy J: It’s a blessing, man. I’ve been doing this so long and people still acceptin' and fuckin' with a nigga all these years, still listenin' to the music and enjoyin' it. I really appreciate it from all the old and new fans.
What was the process like recording with Wiz on Taylor Allderdice? Were you and all of Taylor Gang in the studio together?
Yeah, we was all in the studio together. We get high and make good music. We work 24/7, all day everyday, get trippy and make music.
What’s the chemistry like in the studio between you all? How did you guys figure out what song goes where?
We was knocking out like three, four songs a day. Wiz might do a couple songs. I’ll do a couple songs, Lola do a couple songs, Chevy do a couple songs and then we all come together on songs, collaborations. We got so many songs [and] don’t worry about what we’re gonna put it on, we just make music. We just go in there and make [music].
Sounds like you guys are ‘Team No Sleep.’
No sleep, man. Just gettin' trippy. It’s all family love. We like family. With a positive mind and make good music and have fun with it while we did it.
Being that you’re now signed with Taylor Gang, what’s the deal with Hypnotize Minds?
I still own it. Me and Paul still got it. We just ain't sign nobody and [only] got what we got. We still do shows [but] I’m just doin' my own thing. I tell everybody, "I got 30 different ways of getting paid." I don’t just sit around and put all my eggs in one basket. I always keep other things rollin'. I was always like that, we always sold beats, did stuff for movies, shot our own movies, did music, we always did everything. I consider myself a full-time businessman. We got an online store, clothing line, 30 different ways to get paid.
So what do you think about Gangsta Boo's recent resurgence? She was on the Yelawolf record with Eminem and recently opened up for Rick Ross at the Fader Fort at SXSW.
That's good. I got love for all the old members, man. I haven't really seen or talked to anybody, but if they out there workin', do your thing. But that's good, man. She can rap her ass off. I mean she got that work ethic and she's good. That's what it's all about stayin' out there and stay workin'. The hard work is payin' off. I'm happy for her.
For those that don't know, can you elaborate on Trippy?
Trippy is just doin' you and doin' what you wanna do. When you wanna do it, however you wanna do it. Just doin' you and bein' trippy. It can evolve into other stuff like 'lean' or weed, but it’s just doin' you and not worryin' about what people [have to] say. I’ma trippy muthafucka. I just do me.
Have you started recording your Taylor Gang debut yet?
Yeah, we recordin' everything. Wiz is gonna drop his album, then we gonna drop a group album—which is me, Chevy and Lola—and then we gonna [each] drop solo albums. We got some more people we signin' to Taylor Gang. It’s gonna be big man. We [even] got in-house producers. We got some stuff up our sleeves, some surprises.
How’s work on the group album been going? How many tracks have you guys recorded?
We prolly got over 50 tracks recorded; we still workin', still droppin' songs.
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That must be one of those feelings that's hard to explain. You’ve been in the game for a minute, but it feels like you came out yesterday with all the reception you've been getting.
Recently you performed at the Illmore Mansion with Wiz, A$AP Rocky and Travis Porter at SXSW. Word is the place went absolutely nuts when you came out. How was that reaction and performing over there?
It was great, man. I had a great time everybody showed me love. Everything to me is like a blessing. I came from nothin', I know what its like to be straight broke, all that. I came from nothin' to somethin' and I’ve been doin' this for so long and people still showin' me love. It’s a blessing and a crazy feelin'. People still turnt up off the music. I had a great time. It was crazy packed and everybody was high and drunk havin' a good time. We kicked it hard.
I’ve got a lot of new fans that didn’t even know I was in Three 6 Mafia, some people that didn’t even hear of Three 6 Mafia stuff. I just tell them to go Google me. Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years. We got a lot of stuff comin' up. I can't reveal everything, but there’s gonna be some surprises. Muthafuckas gonna be like, "Oh Shit!" I stay workin', man.
What's it been like? Being the head of Taylor Gang Records and choosing and signing talents?
So I’m always looking out for talented singers, producers, rappers whatever you got. But I’m only fuckin' with people who is ready to work. If you ain't ready to work I ain't fuckin' with you. 'Cause I been doin' this for a minute, man, and to get where you need to get you gonna have to work for it. So everyone who is talented and focused then boom! A lot of times it's people with talent, but don't have the mind with that. You gotta be focused. You can be talented as a muthafucka, but if you don't have a focused mind to wanna do it. Have goals in life. I be saying it's 10 percent talent and the rest is business.
What advice do you give Wiz, Chevy and Lola since you’ve had your share of experiences within the music biz?
I try to tell every artist to do themselves, do what they feel. Don’t worry about what nobody else is doing just do what you feel. That’s what they do. They do what they feel. It works. It definitely works. Walk in the studio say, "Slob on my nob." Just say it. Just do how you feel. I didn’t worry about radio stations. I just did it and it worked. That’s the true talent: Originality.
You have a lot of things in the works. How soon can we expect a Three 6 Mafia project?
We got some songs done. It’s really up to Sony, man. We as a group are still signed to Sony and it’s really their call, man. I just keep it movin', man. I don’t really wait on anybody, but when they think they want to do somethin' with Three 6 Mafia, it's there. I can’t sit around and wait on anybody to do anything for me. We never did that. We started out independent and got independent music out. I’m not gonna stop workin' cause somebody can't decide what they want to do. I’m a real, true hustler, businessman. 30 different ways to get paid and it ain't stop. Checks still comin' in, money still flowin', still livin' good. It's great. Still blessed. I ain't throw my money away. I put some back for a rainy day. I’m still at the Louie store, still got Rolls Royces, I’m still ballin’. All that hard work, dedication and being positive and stayin' focused. Anybody can do it, the same thing I did they can even do it greater. Just stay focused and don’t worry about what another person doin'.
It's funny you mention that because on the Taylor Allderdice tape Wiz mentions that you and him were spending 30 racks in the club like it was nothing.
Yeah, man. Getting it in, still workin'. Always. And I will stay able to do that if you stay workin'. Throw out 30 racks, it's nothing, pop bottles, it's nothin'. Anybody can do this. Anybody can put they mind to it. You put in that hard work and dedication and you can get what you are supposed to get. It's opportunities out there for everybody, you just gotta get up off your ass and go get it. You know you gotta work, ain't nothin' just gonna fall out the sky. But that's the main thing to stay workin'. We stay high, but we also stay workin'.
So what's next for Juicy J?
Got an album I'm workin' on called, Stay Trippy. I'm doin' a lot of the production on it myself. I still produce and make records so it's goin' to be jammin'. It's really going to be some classic shit. Anything I lay down now is goin' to be some classic shit. Gotta give them classic shit.