Three 6 Mafia: A Family Affair
Timing has ironically always seemed to be the groups forte, managing to score a gold or platinum plaque every couple years over the past decade like clockwork. And following their Academy Award-winning single, Its Hard Out Here For A Pimp, Juicy J and DJ Paul (and then member Crunchy Black) scored the biggest commercial success of their career with two monster smash singles [the Willie Hutch-sampling Stay Fly, and Poppin My Collar] propelling their last full-length, 2005s Most Known Unknown, to platinum status. Their own MTV sponsored reality TV show, Adventures In Hollyhood, soon followed and the group who had once crafted singles about tongue rings and sippin sizzurp for a largely cult audience had somehow become mainstream.
But even with the pressue to make their new album, Last 2 Walk, as commercially viable as its predecessor mounting, you would never know it in hearing the carefree (and mostly comical) replies Juicy and Paul gave to HipHopDX during our recent interview with the Tennessee twosome. And although the conversation did have one very serious moment regarding the usage of sizzurp in Hip Hop following the recent passing of Pimp C [click here to read], the guys showed they truly are relaxed and unconcerned about facing their uncertain commercial future, more interested in discussing lighter fare like having lunch with Paris Hilton or what kind of mischief their Hollyhood co-stars Computer and Triece have been getting into since the show wrapped.
HipHopDX: The first and most obvious question I have is where the hell have yall been? Its been like yall guys disappeared off the face of the earth after Doe Boy Fresh dropped [in early 2007].
DJ Paul: We was doing some other things, man. We was producing our album and our other artists albums Project Pat [click to read] dropped an album [Walkin' Bankroll last fall] and some other independent stuff [dropped]. But as far as Three 6 Mafia, we was just working on our album and some more TV and movie stuff.
DX: Wasnt the album [initially] supposed to drop on the heels of that single and the first season of the TV.show [aired in spring of 07] though?
DP: Yeah, it was originally gonna drop after the TV show.
DX: But youre just saying that yall wasnt done [recording the album] yet?
DP: Nah, we wasnt done yet.
DX: And I heard yall decided to stop doing Adventures In Hollyhood?
DP: Yeah, we had to focus on the music more. Cause if we had did another season it was gonna drop during the time when we was [to] start back recording the album and it woulda been in the way.
DX: But whats gon happen to Computer and Triece now? [Laughs]
DP: The same thing they was doing before: drinking and partying and kicking it.
DX: But that [show] was their meal ticket [Laughs].
DP: Actually it wasnt, they was [just] our homeboys. Like, Computer right now flying around on a private jet with a bunch of white girls. So he alright.
Juicy J: And Triece is somewhere in the hood drinking him a fifth of Hennessy, so he alright.
DP: Yeah, cause thats what he been doing.
DX: [Laughs] And did I read correct that yall trying to flip Hollyhood into like a movie?
DP: Yep. We gonna make a straight-to-DVD movie off of it.
DX: Yall gonna try and do more TV?
JJ: Hope so, man. Anything that comes our way we gonna take it the right roles that is.
DX: What about movies? I know Juicy you was trying to do the acting thing on the show.
JJ: Yeah, Ima still try to pursue that. I mean, I dont think Im an actor or nothing like that, but Im gonna at least try. You gotta at least try and see what happens.
DX: Lets switch gears to the new album. Did I read correct that theres actually a song on there with Paris Hilton called Thats Hot?
DP: Nah. I aint even heard that rumor. I wish we did have a song with Paris Hilton on there though.
DX: Yeah, I heard yall was supposed to be working with her, right?
DP: Yeah, we worked with her on one song when she was working on her album. [The songs] not on the album though. But yeah, we worked on a song.
DX: So Paris Hilton is good peoples to Three 6?
DP: Hell yeah. Thats our girl. She real cool. I just had lunch with her the other day. Thats my peoples. She go with our boy from Good Charlotte, our homie [Benji Madden].
DX: Yall got a joint with Good Charlotte on the album, correct?
DP: Yep. We got a joint on there. Its a gangsta joint though. It aint no rock song. Its a gangsta joint, but they produced it, them and their production team.
DX: So this song aint gonna alienate the Hypnotize hardcore fans?
DP: Nah, its some Hypnotize shit.
DX: Lets talk about the first two singles from the new album. Is there any reason you guys didnt continue with the soul sample driven success you had with the last albums singles and instead made these new joints more strip club oriented?
DP: I mean, its the summer time. We go by what time of the year we coming out. [Most Known Unknown] came out in September. Its summer time now, so we had to make some shit to get the girls on the dance floor and let em shake they asses. We got one single for the guys and girls, which is Id Rather [click here to watch]. And then we got one thats mainly for girls, the Lolli Lolli joint. So you know, [those songs] are just something to get em on the floor. But now the album got a lot of soul samples up in it. So there could probably be a [soul sample driven] third single. We still got that [sound] on the album. The albums [sound] is still the same [as the last].
JJ: Yeah, if aint broke we aint trying to fix it. But its always a different year and a different time. Like, that album is that album, and Smoke Clears is Smoke Clears, and Chapter 2: World Domination At those times it was always different stuff going on [musically]. So you know, times gonna change. Nothing aint gonna stay the same.
DP: Yeah, like Tear Da Club Up wasnt a soul single and it was our first big hit. Who Run It, Ridin Spinners, we always change it up.
DX: Juicy, I gotta ask you about a line you spit on Lolli Lolli which is Like Barack Obama said, its time for a change. So is Three 6 Mafia officially endorsing Obama for President?
JJ: I mean, when I said that in my rap I saw him on TV [and] he said, its time for a change, but I was talking about that its time for a change, pull over on the road [and get in] the backseat. I was talking about a gal, ya know?
DP: Talking about change positions.
DX: [Laughs] I know that, Im just saying it sounded kinda like a shout out.
JJ: I think hes a good candidate. And I think John McCain is one [too]. We dont even really get into politics, but we tell everybody to go out and vote. Every vote counts.
DP: Just go out there and do eenie-meenie-minie-moe, thats what I do.
DX: [Laughs] If yall dont get into politics then whyd yall put together that video with the clips of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer [click here to watch]?
DP: We didnt put that together. Man, you think Im that computer literate? I can barely send an email let alone edit together a video.
DX: [Laughs] Switching gears again, who are Young D and Superpower?
DP: Superpower is a an up-and-coming producer that we had just met and he produced a track [on the new album], and then we went back and we co-produced it to give it more of our sound. So we added some keyboards and bass and stuff to it. But he also sung the hook [on the song]. He wrote and sung that hook. Now Young D is one of our artists signed to our label. Hes like the hottest rapper in Memphis besides us and Project Pat. So we signed him to the label. He had two hot songs on the radio and so we signed him.
DX: Is he coming out with like his own joint through Hypnotize Minds soon?
DP: Yep, later this summer.
DX: And Frayser Boy and Lil Wyte both got new albums this year, right?
DP: Yeah, Frayser Boy just dropped his [Da Key], and Lil Wyte coming out in the fall. Then we got an artist named Chrome. His album will be coming out soon.
DX: So yall definitely keeping the independent side going while you do the [group] stuff over at Sony.
JJ: Got to.
DP: You betta believe it. We been crankin out independent [releases]. When you was asking us what we been doing since Doe Boy Fresh, we put out bout three or four independents.
DX: Yeah, I just meant, you know how it is to the public that the group is
DP: Yeah, they werent seeing us. Cause we was in the lab, man. When you hear the album, youll understand why you aint been seeing us.
DX: Any other Hypnotize-related projects besides those albums we mentioned on deck?
DP: Well, we got our clothing line that we brought out the end of last year. Its called Dangerus Skandulus. So we got the clothing line, and like I said the movies and just all that stuff.
DX: Speaking of the movies, theres gonna be another Choices I read?
DP: Yeah, Choices III.
DX: Yall got a date on that?
DP: Nah, we gonna try to start filming some of the movies when we get off the road for this album.
DX: Switching gears again, I dont know if I got the number right, but at my last count there have been something like 30 members of the Three 6/Hypnotize crew. So why has the camp whittled down to just a few now?
DP: It aint never been that many, unless you counting friends.
DX: Well, Im counting like everybody that was on the compilations and stuff.
DP: Yeah, but it was never that many. It was just six [members] in Three 6 Mafia, and then another four or five signed to the label like Frayser Boy, Lil Wyte and all them. The only thing that whittled down was the group, not the outside artists that was signed outside of the group. And [the reason for that] was just different things, man. Different strokes. But you know, they doing they own thing and we wish em the best.
DX: Does it ever get to you guys, bother you guys that so many of em kinda been out there talking, saying yall took from em, cheated em and stuff like that?
DP: Nah, hell no. The only [way that] would really bother us is if we really did it. But they cant say we took from em when they got four bedroom houses and five or six cars in the driveway. The people under them really know whats going on. They see them when they go to the mailbox and get that check with that Hypnotize Minds grim reaper on it and they run to the bank, or no to the liquor store, and they cash it and everybody sit up and smoke all night. So as long as they still happy and we still happy they can say what they wanna say cause they know the truth, that they getting paid.
DX: Do yall actually prefer being the Last 2 Walk or would you rather have that big crew around yall?
DP: Nah, its better like this. Wouldnt you rather be solo like Ludacris [click to read] and make bazillions, or have it be like 30 muthafuckas in a big group?
DX: I dont know, some people like the family thing I guess if its family for real.
DP: Yeah, well I got a family at the house. I got a 12-year-old son and thats all I need. I can trust him. He aint gonna leave me.