Three 6 Mafia Interview
|Artist:||Three 6 Mafia|
|Next Project:||Laws of Power|
|Twitter:||Three 6 Mafia on Twitter|
|Website:||Three 6 Mafia's Website|
As a group who have stayed inspired and relevant for nearly two decades, ascending from underground acclaim to chart-topping, Oscar-winning superstardom without ever alienating their core, street fanbase, Memphis’ Three 6 Mafia could write a book on how to gain and maintain a position of prominence in the music game. Fans will be happy to hear that, rather than penning a self-help manual, members Juicy J and DJ Paul have chosen to reveal their secrets to success in musical form – on their forthcoming 10th studio album, the history-making duo will give listeners worldwide a crash course on the Laws of Power.
Coming on the heels of the members’ respective solo LPs, Chronicles of the Juice Man and Scale-A-Ton, Three 6’s 10th full-length (their first since ‘08’s Booth-acclaimed Last 2 Walk) will see Juicy and Paul once again balancing the dark, gritty style that characterized their early years with the more mainstream sound that made them an international sensation. Heralded by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins-produced lead single “Shake My” (feat. Kalenna) and Webbie-assisted follow-up ”Lil Freak,” Laws of Power is set to hit stores everywhere Jan. 26, 2010, via Sony/Columbia/Hypnotize Minds.
In an exclusive interview with our own DJ “Z,” Juicy J steps into the Booth to discuss his own personal Laws of Power, why the hardcore fanbase continues to be a vital factor in Three 6’s success and what it will take to finally get DJ Paul on the phone.
Listen to the Interview
Three 6 Mafia Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy, “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a newfound hip-hop politician who this January will enact his Laws of Power. Please welcome, for the third time, Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia – how you doin’, man?
Juicy J: Man, I’m blessed. I feel great – how about yourself?
DJ Booth: I’m feelin’ OK. The weather in Chicago is nasty, though. It’s got me a little down.
Juicy J: Wow… Well, you’ve gotta hook up with a beautiful female or something, that’s what you’ve gotta do: you’ve gotta get some marshmallows, some vodka, find a fireplace, and hook up with a beautiful female, and I think everything’ll be cool.
DJ Booth: OK, well, I’ll tell you what: I’ll go out, I’ll buy the marshmallows and all of that stuff, and you send me the female and I’ll make it happen.
Juicy J: [laughs] OK, I’m gonna send you the females, I’ve gotta send you at least two or three.
DJ Booth: That works for me! Juicy, the last two times that we were scheduled to do an interview Paul did not join us, and obviously once again today he’s not with us. What have we gotta do to get him on the phone for an interview?
Juicy J: You’ve gotta wake him up, man. Right now I’m in L.A. and he’s in Vegas, so you know how that goes.
DJ Booth: You went to L.A. and left him in Vegas?
Juicy J: We had a video shoot and I had to get back and handle some business, and then I’m going back Sunday. We’ve got a show Monday, so I’ll be back there Sunday.
DJ Booth: Okay, well next time wake him up, make sure you bring him with you to L.A. so he can do the interview with us.
Juicy J: [laughs] You’ve got it.
DJ Booth: All right. Earlier this year, both you and Paul released solo projects. What is easier for you guys: recording separately or together?
Juicy J: I think both of them are easy. We record separate and together all of the time. Everything is easy. It’s been fun, but it’s more fun now, ‘cause we’ve been around so long and, man, when you’ve been around for close to 20 years, and you still can make some music that someone actually likes, it energizes me, it keeps me excited. So we love to be in the studio, man.
DJ Booth: Absolutely. I can hear how excited you are.
Juicy J: Yeah man, I’m blessed, I feel great.
DJ Booth: I expected you guys to appear on one another’s albums, but that didn’t happen. Was there any particular reason why?
Juicy J: We just had some tracks, and we said we were gonna do some solo albums and throw ‘em out there real quick. He did his thing, I did my thing, we threw them SOBs out there! [laughs]
DJ Booth: [laughs] You said you do a lot of tracks a day. What is your personal record for how many tracks you have completed, start to finish, in one 24-hour period?
Juicy J: It can vary, man. It can go from four to five to six. If I’m really goin’ ham, and when I’m talkin’ “going ham” I mean super-aggressive, like getting up in the morning at 7:00 and stopping at 7:00 AM the next morning, it can be 10. There have been times I’ve knocked out 10 tracks or 12 tracks in one day. Not whole finished songs – I may finish two of them, but as far aas the music, the beats, about 12 tracks.
DJ Booth: Very impressive, my friend.
Juicy J: It’s just the energy, the motivation and the excitement just to still be in the game, you know?
DJ Booth: What helps you get from 7:00 one day to 7:00 the next?
Juicy J: I just like music, and I like making money, and I feel like, if I go to sleep or don’t get off my ass, I feel like I might miss out on something. So I’m always up all day, I’m always thinking, always writin’ music. I could be sittin’ at McDonald’s, writin’ a song, anywhere! Sittin’ on the toilet, I’m writing music – I’m always writin’ music. I’m always online, I’m always on Twitter, I’m always talking to the fans on YouTube – whatever I can do to stay in touch with the fans and keep my ear to the street, I’m always doin’ it.
DJ Booth: Juicy, when “Shake My,” your current single, landed in my inbox in August, I’ve gotta admit, I was kinda shocked. First of all, I did not see your name attached to the production credits, and then when I did view them, I noticed that Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins was the producer. So, I’ve gotta ask: how did this collaboration come about?
Juicy J: Rodney Jerkins, him and another producer, I can’t remember his name – big shout-out to him, I can’t remember his name. But they produced the track and Kaleena, she wrote the chorus. And we was in the studio, they played some tracks, and I was like, “Wow, that’s a nice, poppy little track right there!” ‘Cause the Three 6 Mafia album is straight gangsta, but we’ve got about two songs on the album that’s leaned toward our new fanbase. You’ve gotta please everybody, and plus, you’ve gotta get your bills paid as well, so I was like, “Hey, let’s get that track!” I think it’s a great track. It’s more leaning towards our pop fanbase, our rhythmic fanbase. We’ve got another song called, ”Little Freak.” I don’t know if you’ve heard that one…
DJ Booth: Yes, I did.
Juicy J: That’s straight gutta, [it’s for] our original fanbase, our urban fanbase.
DJ Booth: You mentioned a second ago that, other than the singles that are being scooped up by millions of people at iTunes, the bulk of the album is still what your longtime fans have coveted.
Juicy J: Straight gangster, scarry beats, bass, ham, all of that – everything you need!
DJ Booth: Go ahead and give all of your longtime underground fans, the people who used to go and pick up your albums at mom-and-pop shops on Memphis corners in the mid-‘90s, who might have been concerned because of the single selections as of late, that the current direction of your music was changing too much.
Juicy J: You know, I can understand that, because I’m the person that’s making the music, and I can understand how they feel. But you’ve gotta look at it like this: Three 6 Mafia’s been around for close to over 20 years, so we went from straight underground to winnin’ an Oscar. After we won an Oscar, our name was just so big, we was out doin’ shows overseas, we just got back from Japan. And honestly, man, when I go overseas, to Japan and Taiwan, a lot of the songs that people really know us by, are those little poppy records, those are the records that actually got us over there. And the underground, that’s our core fanbase. People have just gotta understand, you’ve gotta work both sides of the fence. I just put a mixtape out with DJ Drama, it’s straight gangsta, Three 6 Mafia, independent, and we put out solo albums, straight Three 6 Mafia, old-school stuff, so we’re still doin’ the independent stuff to feed the streets. But our core fans, if they buy the new Three 6 Mafia album, they will hear a lot of the old-school stuff on there.
DJ Booth: Let me play devil’s advocate with you for a second. “Loll Lolli (Pop That Body),” is one of the first huge, international, sensational records that you guys produced, 1.2 million digital singles. The new song, “Shake My,” is already startin’ to accumulate lots of buys. When you see those types of numbers – and you mentioned not that long ago, you’ve got to pay your bills – why bother going back to your old sound at all?
Juicy J: [laughs] Well, honestly, man, those poppy records, you’re only gonna get digital downloads for that. You’re only gonna get those two million sold, digital downloads. Now, as far as album sales, that’s where the hardcore fans come in. They pick up the albums, ‘cause they wanna hear the Three 6 Mafia, they wanna hear the drinking songs, the partying songs, they wanna hear all the songs. They’re more interested in, “I know y’all got those little singles, but what does the album sound like?” That’s where the album sales kick in. I mean, we sell singles, but we’re still interested in sellin’ albums too. I wanna make money all across the board.
DJ Booth: It’s refreshing to hear that, cause far too many artists these days are really only concerned with single [sales]. They don’t really care about the full product of the albums.
Juicy J: Well, I understand that, and we’ve gotta stop that. We’ve gotta get back to the albums ‘cause in a minute, if we don’t put out good albums, fans are gonna be like, ”Man, I just give up.”
DJ Booth: Fans have already started giving up in some respects…
Juicy J: I think it’s about to take a twist, I have a feeling it’s about to take a twist and gangsta music is gonna come back and take over – I just feel it! Remember I told you this, now.
DJ Booth: I hope you’re right, and we have audio proof now that you’ve made this prediction, so no reason to think anything otherwise. Let’s switch gears and focus in on the new album, which is gonna be dropping this January. Its title is Laws of Power. Juicy, what are some of your Laws of Power?
Juicy J: Man, my law of power is ”Keep it real with your brother and your sister.” I think we can move forward if people respect each other.
DJ Booth: I was doin’ a little research on Laws of Power and after I Googled it, I came across a Russian author by the name of Robert Greene, who released a book in ‘98 entitled The 48 Laws of Power. I obviously didn’t read the book, but it inspired me to find out more closely, what are some of your other Laws of Power. I’m gonna read off four random laws from this book; you tell me, Juicy, if you feel like they fall in line with your own personal beliefs.
Juicy J: Okay.
DJ Booth: First one is, “Always say less than necessary.”
Juicy J: Me personally, I always say, “by all means necessary.” I feel like if it’s necessary to do it, then do it, if it’s not necessary then leave it alone.
DJ Booth: Number two, “Make your accomplishments seem effortless.”
Juicy J: I agree with that, ‘cause that’s almost like, that gives a person confidence. ‘Cause if you have to walk in the studio, if you’re dealing with a female and you’re just so frustrated with it, you’ve gotta act like, “Man, I’ve got this!” It might be a serious challenge but, if you come in with that kind of attitude, it gives you more of an inspiration, and I think you can flow better.
DJ Booth: Number three, “Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once.”
Juicy J: Yeah, I can agree with that.
DJ Booth: And the last one is, “Never appear to be perfect.”
Juicy J: That’s a real good one.. In the music business, there’s a lot of people that think everything they do is like, “Boom!” But you’ve gotta look at it like, it is what it is: you make music for the fans. I don’t even look at nothin’ as perfect – we’ll make some music, and I’ll be like, “I hope people like it.” That’s a great law. We’re still hyped up about doin’ shows and people still embracing our music, and going to Taiwan and Canada and Japan and Europe and Germany, all this travel. It’s amazing to me that still, today, people’ll be like, “Wow, Three Six Mafia!” I’ll walk into a restaurant somewhere, people want an autograph and take pictures, and I’m like, “Man, I’ve been around for so long!” And when I’m in Japan and I walk down the street, they’re like, [imitates accent] “Juicy J!” They know who I am, and I’m totally shocked!
DJ Booth: Do you think, at any point in the future, that routine will get stale to you? That being noticed in public and getting acclaim for all of your success will become boring?
Juicy J: Nah, man, I can’t see it. Because, man, if you [saw us] way back in the day, and seeing what Three 6 Mafia went through to get to this point, man, I don’t really know. I grew up from nothing. It was like, in my family there were six people livin ’ in a two-bedroom apartment. You know, rats and roaches in the hood, gunshots every night – I know what it feels like to be straight broke, nothing fits right, close to homeless. I understand all that. That’s my background, so in my mind I can’t be like, “Oh, I’m sick of this, I’m tired of people knowin’ who I am!” I’d actually be killing my blessing by saying that. I would never do that. If a person is thinking like that he should be ashamed of himself.
DJ Booth: I agree. Obviously, Three 6 Mafia is currently a duo, but you guys have morphed and changed over the years. Do you anticipate staying a duo from here on out, or is future expansion in the cards?
Juicy J: Right now we’re just gonna do the duo. It’s great, two people in the group. It’s not like back in the day, when it was a lot of people in the group – it was tougher. I wouldn’t take nothing back. I enjoyed working with other members, doing music with them, I wish them the best, but we’re just moving forward as a duo.
DJ Booth: Okay, so no. Give everybody a website, a MySpace page, your Twitter account, something so they can find out more, connect with you before the album drops.
Juicy J: The Three Six Mafia website is triplesix.com, you can [go to] twitter.com/therealjuicyj and twitter.com/djpaulkom. And if you hit me right now on Twitter, I promise I’ll talk to you and call you back. I talk to the fans all day, I’m on Ustream, I’m always just trying to keep in contact with the fans, to see what they think and get their opinions.
DJ Booth: Doing just that has gotten you to this point, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I wish you nothing but the best of luck, and thank you again for joining me on the phone for this interview. Next time, make sure Paul is with you though, OK?
Juicy J: You got it, man. Appreciate it!