This spring Three 6 Mafia is returning to their indie roots. Project Pat [click to read], DJ Paul [click to read] and Juicy J are all releasing solo albums on independent labels. Last week, one of the founding members of the Academy Award-winning Memphis Hip Hop outfit spoke to HipHopDX about his upcoming Hustle Till I Die album, his first solo in over five years.
"The main reason why we did these solos is to keep something in the people’s face, something in the CD players," said Juicy J about the influx of independent releases, all which have charted on the Soundscan Top 200. "Because these days, if you don’t have an album out, or keep something on the Internet, keep something in the streets, keep something in the club, the fans will forget about you, so you got to give the fans what they want. You got to keep something in their face at all times. So you know Paul [and Project Pat are] bringing out his solo album, I am bringing out my solo album."
Fans also motivate the style of music that Juicy J makes, when he releases these independent projects. Although his group released a Sony Records album last year, these small projects uphold the Hypnotize Minds' reputation for eerie, underground Rap. "I listen to a lot of the fans," he continued. "I listen to a lot of the people in the street. I just try to keep my ear to the streets and I try to give the people what they want. A lot of fans want that old Three 6 Mafia that old sound that we used to do back in the '90s. These underground albums we got, we give them that old sound that they’ve been missing. I ain't got no problem with it. It’s all good." Still, with several more charted hits and awards since the '90s regional says, Juicy J is quick to add, "Everybody can hear that Three 6 Mafia sound. I think I am better now than I was back then, 100% better."
Asked if making that pure breed of music pleases him more, as compared to major label pressures, J says, "Times change, man. People might not listen to the same stuff they used to listen to back in the day. Music is changing. One minute it is sounding like this, one minute it is sounding like that, so you got to keep up, and I don’t have a problem with that, you know because I think we can pull through anything. If the sound changes, if the people’s ears change, we can go with the flow. We still can bring out a lot of our same kind of music, you know same music we’ve been doing back in the '90s shit might have a couple of new touches on something. [It] might be a different snare or kick."
Recently, Big Hutch of Above The Law told HipHopDX [click to read] how effective DJ Paul and Juicy J had been in keeping the music of his father, Willie Hutch, alive. Having used Willie Hutch samples for UGK's "International Player's Anthem" and Three 6's "Stay Fly," Juicy responded, saying, "People love Willie Hutch’s music. We sample Willie Hutch a lot. And everybody, they respond to the music [quickly]. They love it. And everybody they always say, 'Hey man we love how y'all put those pimpin samples in y'all beats and stuff,' so you know we get a lot of good response from that. And we did a song with Willie Hutch before he passed away, may he rest in peace, and it was a great experience. We grew up on Willie Hutch. We loved all his music." Appreciative, he added, "Big shout out to Above The Law. We grew up on they music too. We listen to a lot of they music still right today. I still have all Above The Law's CD, all of them."
Juicy also revealed that Three 6 Mafia plans to unveil a cooking show, called Cookin' Ain't Easy. He exclusively told DX, "We got a producer right now that’s doing the edits on the show and he's getting ready to start shopping to some networks. The show is about [how] cooking ain't easy, we're not cooking soul food. We're cooking all different types of food; we're cooking Indian food, we're cooking Italian food, we're cooking Asian food, we're cooking Mexican food, we're cooking all different kinds of foods that people wouldn’t think we could cook. It’s a comedy, it’s funny, and I think you’re going to love it." J added that he's more of an eater, while DJ Paul specializes in cooking, as does Big Triece, of the Adventures In Hollywood.
To Juicy J, the reality TV show, selling production, and independent releases all fit his "Hustle Till I Die" mentality. "I named my album Hustle Till I Die because I just feel like if I'ma hustle, I'ma make money off Rap music, I'ma make money off R&B if I can, Rock music, doing movies, producing movies, doing a little bit of acting. However I can get it. If there’s a check, if there is any gwap to get, I'ma be out there getting it."
if I can, whoever I can help out, that’s my goal before I retire, to help as many people I can help out in Memphis, in my city, and try to help them get on if I can.