From his humble beginnings in Memphis, Tennessee to his meteoric rise in fame after winning an Oscar with Three 6 Mafia, all the way to his current resurgence in popularity due to his solo work and affiliation with Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang, Juicy J has always been one of the more polemic, characteristic figures in hip-hop. And with his latest album, Stay Trippy, due to be released early this year, he certainly isn't showing any signs of slowing down. We caught up with Juicy while he was out in LA to discuss the project, along with how his current hit, "Bandz A Make Her Dance," came to be. Read the whole interview below to find out how a $100 microphone produced the certified-gold track, what it takes to make a proper strip club anthem, and the best places to visit when in Memphis, Tennessee.
Let's talk about one of your latest hits, "Bandz A Make Her Dance." Did you expect that song to become such a hit?
Nah man not at all! It was real random. I just had this hundred-dollar microphone laying around, I picked it up, did my part on it, then just decided to post it on Twitter one day, and they fans just went nuts. Not expected whatsoever.
That's pretty amazing, there has to be a story behind it. Can you explain how this all came about from the beginning thoughts to the actual recording?
It was just one of those days in the studio hanging out. Some friends came over just chilling, we were just sitting there drinking a couple beers, smoking some good. Then I get an email, the producer Mike Will emailed me 10 beats over and I was going through the beats and I heard this particular beat that just made me say "wow." From there it was just like "wow, I have this idea for a song called 'Bandz A Make Her Dance' and I think it’d go perfect with this beat." It took me about an hour and a half to put the song together structurally – I had the hundred-dollar microphone and that was it. I’m still shocked right now. It’s crazy.
Which microphone was it? Do you remember?
(Laughs) Nah I can’t remember the name of the mic. Some hundred-dollar microphone man, you know what I’m saying? Something I bought from Guitar Center.
When people think Juicy J, they associate you with this trademark sound found in your records. Is it something you can put into words, and what do say to people who call your music strip club anthems?
I mean, go to a strip club and see what goes on and understand first. I'm not a person to take an approach of where I just make up stuff on a song and not know what I'm talking about. I feel a lot of rappers do that. You definitely have to go up in there and watch those girls shake that ass, throw a little bit of money up, and get yourself a table dance to truly understand a strip club. If you're consistent with that, something will come out, know what I mean?
Sort've (laughs). Now you’ve got a new album that's been in talks for a while titled Stay Trippy with appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown and The Weeknd. Are there any new developments you can share with us regarding that project? Release date?
I mean it’s pretty much like my mixtapes, I’m going to keep it on the same level know what I’m saying? It’s going to be good man. It’s going to be a great album, I’m excited for it. I’ve got over 60 songs recorded. I’ve been recording the album since last year. I recorded every day. Tried to finish at least a song or two songs a day, or maybe more. Right now we're looking to release in March, so stay tuned.
What’s the status of Three 6 Mafia? Do you still communicate with DJ Paul?
Yeah, that's family. Everything is great man!
Back in 2006, you received a prestigious Oscar Award for 'Best Original Song.' It was certainly groundbreaking, especially for a hip-hop act. Not to mention you beat out Dolly Parton, but do those awards translate into any changes of success or do they even matter to you?
(Laughs) Yeah man, things are going to change when you get an award like that. What it does is give you more more exposure, changes how the masses feel about our songs, and the movie we placed the song in itself (Hustle & Flow). Yeah man, we beat out Dolly Parton (laughs) and it’s been a great run. Can’t complain, can’t complain at all.
I need your recommendation – what if I took a trip down to Memphis, Tennessee? I’ve never been down there, what would you recommend for me to do down there if I were to visit?
Man, go to Interstate BBQ's, go to Chop’s Barbeque, Jack Pirtle’s. Highly recommended. Also check out the scenery man, it's a beautiful place.
You had a collaborative T-shirt come out recently with menswear brand Supreme. How was it working with their creative team and how did it all come together?
Yeah that was great man, that T-shirt is selling like hotcakes. They just hit us up man and we did a deal. It was great. Shout out to Supreme cause they supply me with lots of clothes you know? They wanted to do a T-shirt so we did a deal and the rest is history. Yeah that was a great look there.
Any last words you want to say to the readers and the fans out there?
Shoutout to HYPETRAK! Follow me on Twitter, @TheRealJuicyJ. Check out my website, JuicyJ.com, I got a lot of merch there. Be on the lookout for my album Stay Trippy dropping this March and I’m also working on a film I can't talk too much about, but it’s coming soon. Stay tuned!
Photo: Dave Hill