Published on September 19th, 2023 | by Allison Kugel0
Juicy J Talks Three 6 Mafia, Black Hollywood, Mac Miller’s Death
On last moments with close friend, the late Mac Miller:
“We were in the recording studio and he had a party pack, which is every kind of drug you can take and it’s in a pack or a box or whatever. He pulls out this box and pops a couple of things and offers me some coke. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would have snatched that box. I know he probably would have tried to fight me (laugh), but I would have snatched that box and dumped it in the toilet, and flushed it. I knew Mac Miller when he was, like, 17. I threw his 18th birthday party at my studio. He was like a little brother to me. I hated to see him do that. He was around 25 or 26 before he passed, so he was a grown-ass man. I saw what he was doing. I didn’t say anything. I just told him, “I’m cool, I’m straight. Let’s just finish the music.” I swear, if I could turn back the hands of time, I would have snatched that box and thrown that box across the street, and said, ‘Look, get mad if you want, but I love you. I want to see you alive. Let’s talk. Let me tell you some stories about my drug use. Let me tell you some stories about growing up and Three 6 Mafia and the whole Memphis scene, and what I went through and how things can turn up if you do the wrong drug or you overdose.’ I wish I could.”
On suspecting the late Notorious B.I.G. and Diddy of stealing his original stage name, ‘Notorious Juicy J,’ and his sample of Mtume’s Juicy Fruit on his early ‘90s mixtape:
“[Diddy] produced that track [for Biggie]. I don’t know. I’m not saying that they did. When you are a young person, because I was like 18 or 19, you are always going to think, ‘Someone is stealing my stuff.’ Even if that is not the case, because keep in mind that song was out before I created my [original] name (Notorious Juicy J). That song, (Mtume’s Juicy Fruit), had been pretty much out. I just liked the song and thought, ‘My name is Juicy J and I’m going to scratch this song.’ When you are trying to create something you feel is yours and is your own, and you hear somebody do it, that’s why I took ‘Notorious’ off of my name. When I heard that I said, ‘Ugh, scratch Notorious. I’m just going by Juicy J.’”
“I’m just speaking my truth and how I felt when I was a young kid. But the older I got I thought, ‘Maybe I could be exaggerating.’ I will say this. Memphis has a big sound. We’ve been making noise since the early ‘90s. There are a lot of people that took certain things, which I don’t really care. To me that is just petty, but it happens. The Crunk music, a lot of people ran off with that, but whatever. I look at things in life like if someone is going to take stuff from you, that means you are doing something good. If they are going to steal a style or a flow, I can make another flow. I’m super talented and can make another flow, another beat, or whatever. But when I was young, I thought, ‘This N*gga is stealing my shit.’”
On how ABC executives treated Three 6 Mafia at the 2006 Oscars rehearsal and ceremony:
“A lot of people in Hollywood judged us. They judged the shit out of us though. They looked at our lyrics, they thought about the name Three 6 Mafia, they called us “Devil Worshipers” when we were out there trying to rehearse [for the Oscars ceremony]. At the time, all of these people from ABC walked in, about 30 people, and everything we did, they wrote it down. If we moved a microphone, they wrote that down. They were so nervous and they kept saying, ‘Don’t cuss. Don’t cuss.’ Even though we didn’t cuss, they still bleeped us out because they thought we cussed. We were professional. We came in ready to rock the house. We were the first rap group to ever perform at the Oscars, and we were super excited and focused. We didn’t come in all high and drugged up. All the producers behind the scenes were loving it. They said, ‘You guys are really cool. I thought you were going to be some crazy rap group coming in with guns out, but you guys are really professional and smart at this young age.”
On being snubbed by Black actors after winning an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2006:
“I’m from Memphis and I’d been to California a little bit, but I’ve never been around actors like that, so I was thinking, ‘What the F? These people are hating on us like crazy.’ John Singleton even said to us, ‘You feel the hate? Don’t worry about it. They’re just mad because they don’t have one.’ I walked into the Vanity Fair party and there were just a lot of Black Actors and actresses giving us some mean mugs.”
“When I saw Will Smith, I said, ‘I grew up listening to your music. It’s such an honor to meet you.” He put his hand up like “What the hell. Y’all got one before me?” He could have been joking, but I didn’t take it that way because I’m thinking people are going to be saying, ‘Congratulations,’ but he didn’t say that. John Travolta walked up to me and said, ‘Congratulations.’ Steven Spielberg said, ‘Congratulations.’ George Clooney who had just won an Oscar said, ‘Congratulations.’ Nobody Black walked up to me and said, ‘Congratulations,’ that I can remember. I thought, ‘Damn, this is weird. Maybe this is what Hollywood is all about.’ .” I don’t let things get me down, because Three 6 Mafia, we were always against all odds. We’ve always had doors slammed in our faces. We always had people say, ‘Don’t mess with those guys. They’re devil worshipers,’ and all that stuff. I was used to it.”
On being drugged and robbed by a girlfriend in his twenties:
Juicy J: “I had this girlfriend of mine who set me up and drugged me. I had fallen asleep and I had never slept that long. I felt like I blacked out, and I woke up and all my money was gone out of my pockets and my car, my tires were flat. I said, ‘Why is all my money gone? I’m in your house, in your bedroom, and all my money is gone.’ She said she didn’t take my money, so I said, ‘Then who took my money?’”
“They didn’t slash my tires, they just let the air out. I didn’t understand. I didn’t get it. I thought, ‘You are going to take all of my stuff, you are going to rob me, drug me and put my tires flat?’ That was ratchet.”
Allison Kugel: You always think of that happening to woman. You don’t often think about something like that happening to men.
Juicy J: “Yes, but it happens. Now, when I go to clubs and they bring me out some bottles, if anything is open, ever since then, I will never drink from an open bottle. They have to open the bottle in front of me, and then I’ll drink it. I’m always watching my drinks, watching my food. I’m on some paranoia, looking over my shoulder. That taught me a lesson.”
On looking after his mental health and going to therapy:
“I believe in helping others to elevate, inspiring others and trying to help people stay out of trouble. I talk to a lot of young artists and young people and they ask me, ‘How did you manage to do this and that?’ Nothing is easy at all. Just take care of your mental health. That is the first thing we need to start with. I talk about this in my book a lot. You have to get that mental health right, because we all go through trauma and traumatic situations as kids growing up, and it affects us as adults. So pray a lot and talk to a therapist. I go to one. There is nothing wrong with that, and just try to stay focused. It’s not about the money. It’s not about the fame. If you have a clear head, you can accomplish anything in life.”
Juicy J’s memoir, Chronicles of the Juice Man, is out now wherever books are sold.
About Journalist and Podcast Host Allison Kugel
Allison Kugel is a veteran entertainment journalist and host of the Allison Interviews podcast. Watch and embed the entire interview video with Juicy J @YouTube. Listen to the audio podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify.
Follow Allison Kugel on Instagram @theallisonkugel
By Allison Kugel