DJ Paul recounts one of his final encounters with John Singleton, artists paying homage to Three 6 Mafia, and how hustling mixtapes in high school brokered peace with the ops.
With nearly three decades in the music industry, Three 6 Mafiaâs influence has been heard across the board. As hip-hopâs reached its pinnacle of popularity in the past five years, Three 6 Mafiaâs influence has become inescapable. DJ Paul and Juicy J created this eerie, dark sound that inspired the uptick in rappers using the triplet flows that Lord Infamous introduced. Meanwhile, Travis Scott, Rae Sremmurd, and Cardi B are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to artists whoâve sampled or repurposed Three 6 Mafia tracks to their own success in recent years.
Paul and Juicy Jâs humble beginnings in Memphis transformed into a giant empire that has claimed a stake in Southern hip-hop. In a tale thatâs being groomed for a TV series, DJ Paulâs beginnings started when he was hustling mixtapes at school before ultimately landing a distribution deal with Select-O-Hits — an independent distributor owned by the Phillips family who put out Elvisâ records. The local fame snowballed into national success that molded the Three 6 Mafia empire.
“Me and Juicy paid $2,250 each,” DJ Paul told HNHH about making the first Three 6 Mafia project. “$4,500 to make the first Three 6 Mafia album and that shit probably turned into $450 million worth of shit over time, but thatâs how it started.”
DJ Paulâs entrepreneurial spirit is a reflection of his overall interests, be it food or real estate. Thatâs the point of his newly relaunched Mafia Radio podcast with HotNewHipHop. DJ Paul will be diving into an array of subjects while remaining the âHood News Man,â as he calls it.
“I just try and keep the guys up to date on it because I know a lot of these guys are just like me back in the day, they was in the streets,” Paul explained
“I try to be the Hood News Man. You know, let them know. Like, they standing on the corner doing what they gotta do and they get an alert that I just did a post. They look at it and be like âOh shit, n***a, we gotta go back to Africa. They finna blow this motherfucka up n***a. Like okay, DJ Paul just tweeted we gotta go back to Africa, they finna blow the United States up.â So, some shit like that or whatever. I just try and keep n***as informed of whatâs going on and just try and help as much as I can.â
Ahead of the launch of Mafia Radio, DJ Paul chopped it up with HNHH about the new podcast, his relationship with John Singleton, paying homage, and so much more.
Man, all that shit hard. I been steppin it up here lately. I wanna turn it more into fashion. We got jogging suits and everything out.
Well, shit. Like, Three 6 is timeless in that sense. The influence goes beyond music and into the aesthetic. The shirt that I saw Metro rockinâ had that signature grungy Three 6 style.
Yeah, when I saw him wearing that shirt, I felt like — I ainât even gonâ lie, I felt old. (Laughs) Nah, Iâm just joking. But no, I felt like, I was like, now I know we were already this, but now we are an official household name. So itâs like when you go out and you see white kids and Asians and whatever, just all different races, rocking a RUN-DMC shirt. Like, Iâll be in a grocery store — the healthy grocery store — and Iâll see some hot white girl wearing a Public Enemy shirt. She probably canât tell you none of the lyrics to â911 Is a Jokeâ but itâs just like (laughs) — Itâs just, I donât know, itâs just so huge. Itâs just, like I said, itâs a household name, you know? And they love that vintage stuff. And when I saw that I was like, âDamn, weâre officially one of those groups right now. Weâre officially one of those groups.â Like, Iâm not in Hot Topic or nothing like that. I would love to be, but that felt like one of those Hot Topic moments to me. Growing up, walkinâ in there, buying a Van Halen shirt or something. And now seeing kids do the same for me, itâs just online. Itâs cool.
Just like on that note of being a household name, do you think that the brand itself is as big as the music? Because you can’t deny how influential that sound is to the current sound of hip-hop right now.
Right now, our music is bigger than our brand. You know, Iâm tryna get it the other way. âCause, you know, right now, like, a lot of people are influenced by us and you hear it in every genre of music, basically, these days. I done heard country music. I have produced country music thatâs been with some of our little seasonings of Three 6 Mafia. Our sound is everywhere. As far as our brand, itâs not everywhere like that because thereâs still people who donât even know our name. Like, they know it, but thereâs still a lot of people that donât. I be walking down the street and people are like, âAinât you that rapper? That dude, um?â You know, they know, and they know it and they know the songs and Iâll be like âAh, yeahâ and Iâll tell âem. Most of the time I donât tell âem, but if I tell âem, Iâll be like âYeah, Three 6 Mafia.â Theyâll be like, âThree 6 Mafia! What did you guys sing?â Well, we had a little song called âSlob on the Knob,â âStay Fly,â âPoppinâ My Collar.â And they be like, âOh my god!â And they start going crazy about it, just from that. So, itâs still the name ainât out there like it could be.
You know, we still get looked over for some stuff. This and that. Like, I think the last time they had that Hip-Hop Honors Awards or whatever it is that they had on TV. We still ainât never been on none of those. Like, when you see a lot of these things about whoâs the hottest producer or what was the hottest group in the 90s. And you see all these things and they still forget about us. But theyâll have a million people on there that was influenced by us and may even have remakes of our songs on there. So, you know, for whatever reason, people still wanna — I think they do it purposefully — some people do look over Three 6 Mafia so, thatâs why I said the brand ainât there but the music is there. They love the music. They just donât wanna show no love to us for whatever reason (Laughs). But Iâm not trippinâ though, because we got the Oscar (laughs).
“We still get looked over for some stuff. This and that. Like, I think the last time they had that Hip-Hop Honors Awards or whatever it is that they had on TV. We still ainât never been on none of those. Like, when you see a lot of these things about whoâs the hottest producer or what was the hottest group in the 90s. And you see all these things and they still forget about us. But theyâll have a million people on there that was influenced by us and may even have remakes of our songs on there.”
I mean, thatâs what I was about to say. You guys kinda did what no rap group accomplished at the time and broke down the door for the culture moving forward. And itâs crazy that you even mentioned that you donât feel like you get the recognition you deserve. You guys are the OGs who kicked off a lot of the wave that you know, I witnessed growing up. And I feel like kids nowadays are witnessing as they grow up.
Mhm. I mean thereâs a lot of kids — I mean really, really love us now, because a lot of these kids just startinâ to find out who we are. You know, itâs cool. So the thing about it though, itâs like this because I never wanted the fame. You know, I never wanted the fame. When we first started off, we used to wear masks on our album covers like Mystic Stylez and Live by Yo Rep, and stuff like that. If it was up to me, I shouldâve kept those masks on. But you know the fucking girls started getting at us at these concerts and we took âem off. But shouldâve kept âem on. Shouldâve kept âem on. Like, man, Iâd love to be like a KISS or ICP or something like that. You can go to the grocery store and nobody recognize who you is. You can live where you want to. You donât have to live behind gates and shit like that. Man, I would love that. Just live in a fucking forest somewhere by myself and go to the little town grocery store and nobody know who I am. Can you imagine how good that would be? I canât live in a small town like that, but every day I wanna try. Every day, I was always able to laugh at it like, âWhat the fuck small town in South Dakota can I move to?â Something like that. You know what Iâm saying? I donât care about the fame. I like it being just like this. You know, the people who needed to recognize us [did it] with the Academy Award. We wrote a great song for that movie. It was a great movie. Had to do with our city. With great people. Rest in peace John Singleton. Craig Brewer, from Memphis, he was a big fan of ours.
John Singleton was a personal friend of mine. Even years before Hustle & Flow. We was in my hotel room in 2002. We was making Three 6 Mafia, Choices 2 movie. We was on on Sunset Boulevard and John Singleton came to my room. He was like âOne day, I wanna make a movie like yâall.â Iâm like ân***a, I wanna make a movie like yours,” like Boyz N Da Hood was the shit, you know? But he was like, âI wanna make a movie like yâallâs, like a Boyz N Da Hood, but in the South. In Memphis, just like yâall did with Choices 1, something gritty like that. You know?â Four years later, he came to Memphis and outta nowhere we was making Hustle & Flow together and won an Academy Award together. So it was great. And I like it just like that. I donât want too much publicity.
No, for sure. And just on that topic of John Singleton. It was a tragic loss to cinema and the culture. Can you just like, expand a little bit just about your guysâ relationship? Even following the Oscar. Like how did that develop over the years, like up until his passing?
Man, all the way up to — I would have to ask my best friend Computer the exact day. But all the way up to, like, five months before he passed away, I got pictures of me and John when we went to some kind of get-together. Uh, ah yeah! It was a T.V. show that he had. And they did a premier for it at this kinda bar-lounge in Studio City. And we went out there. I went there with him. We hung out. And he was telling us that he was kinda, wasnât feeling too good and was having issues with something. And my boy Computer was telling him, âBoy, you gotta start eating better, eating healthier, John.â And he was like âMan, Iâm getting to it.â Or something like that. I donât remember exactly how we worded it. My best friend do because we just had this conversation. But he was just telling us how he was getting to eating healthier and this and that and whatever. But we had been friends with John for a long time. We would see John out, and I would talk to John a lot. Juicy even went to Johnâs condo overlooking the water in Miami. Elevator opens straight up into the unit. View of the beach, view of the ocean and all that. I never went to that, but thatâs how close we were with John Singleton. For years and years and years.
Can you tell me — Like, obviously saying a film like Choices is something that he aspired to make and Boyz N Da Hood is a classic. I was just wondering, how do you think his influence bled into your music?
Yeah, man. When Boyz n the Hood came out man, that movie. When we was watching that movie, it felt like I was watching my own life. Because thatâs the kind of life we was living then. Thatâs the kinda shit I was going through.
Like, Iâll never forget one day, you know, on the popular scene, where he hollerinâ âRicky!â when he got shot, and this and that? Well I had a situation like that. You know, where I was walking and the opposite n***as rolled up on us. You know, he asked me a couple of questions and he was like, this and that and blah blah blah. And then, you know, I was like, âFuck youâ and I threw my shit up, you know? This and that. We didnât have no straps on. We had left them at the house because we was just walking, just dudes walking up to the drug store just to get some fuckinâ candy. I always loved candy. So we left the straps at the house for the first time. Being stupid, knowing we had to walk through these n***asâ neighborhood. The opposites. And them motherfuckers saw us and pulled up in they goddamn truck. And I was like âOh shit.â In Boyz n the Hood, when they pulled up on us — I didnât even back down on him. I still repped my shit to the fullest. This and that. He hollaâd some shit at me, like âNah, n***as itâs this.â Blah blah blah blah blah blah. And this motherfucker just pulled his shotgun out. First thing came through my mind was that fuckinâ scene from that movie because this was around that time. This woulda been probably like â91 or — when did Boyz n the Hood come out? It probably came out in â90 or somewhere around there. But this was around that time. And that was the first — this maybe â91, â92, whatever — and that was the first thing that came to my mind. I was like âDamn, Iâm âbout to get shot in the back, just like Ricky.â (Laughs).
Just like that. I started runninâ and I was just waitinâ for it. Motherfuckas bust out to runninâ and they never shot. Thank God they never shot. They didnât even shoot. You know, then, the next day I had to revisit they neighborhood and the outcome was a little different because I had my shit with me then but yeah. They didnât shoot me. Thank God they didnât. We wouldnât be havinâ the fucking conversation right now. You know what Iâm saying? Wherever them n***as right now, Iâm not even mad at you. We was enemies back then, but you know what? My n***a, peace.
Thatâs a crazy story.
But I was thinkinâ about that situation with the Boyz n the Hood. So, just to answer your question, when I used to look at the Boyz n the Hood, it used to just make me think of how we was. How we was growing up and this and that. And I was like, âMan, look, we gotta get up outta here. Like, this some bullshit here. Like n***a âbout to get killed and shit. You know, all this back-and-forth, going to war shit we doing with these n***as, all that shit.â I was like, âthis shit is stupid. We gotta get outta this.â And you know, I just, I just stopped walkinâ. I would go places and I would drive my car. Make sure I have my shit with me. But the walkinâ shit, I stopped. Then I just started lockinâ myself more in the studio in my mamaâs bedroom house. You know what Iâm saying? One day, I was at the studio, a n***a rolled past my mamaâs house shot up in the air. Boom, boom, boom, this and that. Same n***as. I looked out the window. I saw speeding down the street in a Grey Lincoln. This and that and I was callinâ up my boys and I was like, âWe gotta do the same thing that they just did, so get ready. Iâll be there in a minute.â You know, eventually, all that shit stops. The funny part about it is all them n***as who I was going back and forth to war with ended up buying tapes from me at school, and thatâs what squashed our whole beef. They would secretly, lowkey come up to me, and meet me in bathrooms and shit like that and buy tapes from me. Even though we was opposites. And they didnât want nobody to know that they were buying tapes from me. And today, me and all those n***as — not the ones who shot at me, they was older dudes, they were the OGâs or whatever. But the younger ones who was under them, who was trying to hate me, as well, those dudes are my friends now. Some of âem in jail or whatever, but all of us became friends through my music. They would sneak and buy tapes from me, thatâs the crazy part about it.
How did you get into that hustle of pushing tapes? Even the fact that like thatâs what brokered peace between you and your ops. Can you just tell me a little bit about those times?
Yeah, some I gotta save because weâre writing this TV show, but Iâll tell you a little bit about it because Iâm in bed with you guys. We gonâ do business together. So Iâma tell you a little bit. Basically, how the whole thing started was when I had started making mixtapes my brother went to the feds, he was sending me money from feds to get some equipment. So I was paid $220 a month for some equipment I went and got. I got a four-track recorder, a keyboard, and a turntable. You know, one of my friends bought a mixer for me right after he killed his dad. Pretty weird. But he killed his dad, then he walked across the yard and was like, âHere you go Paul, I got a gift for you. Hereâs the mixer. And Iâll see you later. I dunno. Probably finna go to jail for the rest of my life.â And Iâm like, âOkay, thatâs fucked up, but, alright, man. Lemme know how that go.â And he gave me the mixer, and I started making mixtapes just for fun. Just to learn how to use the equipment. I never wanted to be a DJ. I was kinda insulted when people called me a DJ, because I wanted to be like a producer. I didn’t wanna be a DJ. So, I just started making the mixtapes just to learn how to record simple loops and shit like that. How to use the equipment. And to make some money, I started selling the tapes at school for $2. I had this little brown bag where I could squeeze like 20 tapes in or whatever. And I go to school and sell âem for $2. It was 60-minute TDK tapes, but I only did one side, thirty minutes. And the kids would be like, âMan, this is jamminâ, man. Can you do the other side?â And I was like, âWell, you gotta give another $2 and then Iâll do the other side.â And they was like, âOkay.â So theyâd give me another $2, Iâd go home, mix up some shit, and put it on the other side. And then from thereon, after like volume two on down, I just did the full 60 minutes. And it would be other peopleâs songs I was just mixing like a regular mixtape. But then, come volume four, I would start squeezing in my own songs. Songs that me and Lord Infamous — Rest In Peace, Lord Infamous — my brother, we would make. Iâd just squeeze âem in there to ease âem in to just see what they thought about it. So itâd be like the fourth or fifth song, then itâd come around back in with some Ice Cube or something, N.W.A., whatever. Ease it in there. And people would come up to me like, âAye, what was that fourth song in there?â I was like, âAh, you like that? Eh, itâs some stuff. Just some stuff.â You know what Iâm saying? So, after a while, I was just, I did that all the way up to volume ten. Come volume ten, it was all my beats. Just straight instrumentals, then the rest is history. After volume sixteen, it was all my songs, then thatâs when we brought out an album.
“I got a four-track recorder, a keyboard, and a turntable. You know, one of my friends bought a mixer for me right after he killed his dad. Pretty weird. But he killed his dad, then he walked across the yard and was like, âHere you go Paul, I got a gift for you. Hereâs the mixer. And Iâll see you later. I dunno. Probably finna go to jail for the rest of my life.â And Iâm like, âOkay, thatâs fucked up, but, alright, man. Lemme know how that go.â And he gave me the mixer, and I started making mixtapes just for fun. Just to learn how to use the equipment. I never wanted to be a DJ. I was kinda insulted when people called me a DJ, because I wanted to be like a producer.”
So thatâs how it all started. I was selling in school during lunch. The only ones I sold in the bathroom and behind the alleys and shit like that was the ones that the other n***as were buying from me that didnât wanna be seen buying them from me. But other than that, I just posted up. I didnât even eat lunch. I just posted up in the hallway with that little brown bag in my hand. And I would just sell the tapes just like that. And then after a while, I wanted to get outside of my high school, so I would go to the stereo stores. All the stereo stores were owned by these like Middle-Eastern dudes. And they like friends, cousins, and all that shit like that. And I would go to one of them and heâd be like âYeah, you should take some over to my other cousin. This Aziz. And you should take some tapes over here to stereo.â So Iâm riding all over town. But thatâs when it got more serious. I had to go get a duplicator machine that I still got in my house right now. Duplicator machine where I can make like three tapes at a time and have four slots on the front. I can have one tape, the master tape at the top, and press a button, and it would record the three tapes at the same time. So, me and my best friend would sit up all night. We would make, like hundreds of those. Weâd take em to the stereo store and we do a consignment. Theyâd be like, âOkay, Iâll see how it sounds. Iâll see how it sells. Come back in a week and Iâll give you the four dollars a tape.â And I said, âAll you gotta do is when youâre tryna sell someone a kickbox, put this tape in there and let them hear this bass on this tape and you gonâ sell that kickbox and you gonâ sell this tape.â And that became the recipe.
When they started doing that, he would call me within — sometimes I leave that motherfucker, he would call me back the same day, like âCan you bring more tapes, Paul?â Iâm like, fuck. So we just sat up there, trappinâ with this lilâ machine, doing three tapes at a time and it got up to like the thousands. So, we fuckin sitting up there, damn near, ainât even going to school. Just trying to make these tapes as fast as we can and turn âem around. And then I end up hearing about a dude out here that had a company that duplicated tapes and everybody in Memphis went to this went to that dude. This white dude. I canât even remember his name. Itâll come to me after a while, but everybody in Memphis went to him to get their tapes duplicated. He could duplicate thousands of tapes for us for really cheap. It was forty cents or some crazy shit or whatever. And he would duplicate those tapes. It was so crazy that he had to schedule us when to go up there because Memphis rappers didnât get along, and we knew if we met up there at the same time, there was gonna be a shootout. So, we had to like, check and see who was coming that day before we went and picked up our tapes. So, we were selling. I started selling the tapes to the stereo stores and thatâs when it really ran crazy, because people from all over the city started hearing about me. Taking my shit and going to college. Going to the armed forces, and then spreading it to even more people, you know what Iâm saying? After a while they got so big, I was like, look, we gotta take it to another level. So, I went to the main record store here. It was called Pop Tunes. I went to Pop Tunes and I was like, âLook, I know yâall probably got real tapes in from like Priority Records and all these big distributors and this and that, but like, we some local dudes. We are doing really, really good. Is there any way I can put some tapes up in here? I can guarantee they gonâ sell. And then you can just give me the money off of âem like later on. Two weeks later or whatever.â And he was like âWeâll try.â Shit started selling so good, that then he called the local distributor here, Select-O-Hits. The family that put out — the Phillips family that put out Elvis Presley and all that. And he said, âMan, I got some dudes up here called DJ Paul, Juicy J and Three 6 Mafia. These dudes are selling tapes like crazy up here.â Heâs like, âYou probably need to talk to those dudes.â And we went to Select-O-Hits and had the meeting and he was like, Iâll give you guys a distribution deal. You gotta pay for everything but Iâll put it on CDâs. Iâll pay for the initial CDâs. Yâall gotta pay for yâall promotion, do yâall leg work. Iâll put it on CDâs for you and Iâll put it in every store in the United States. And I was like, âDeal.â And we did it. Went to the studio, made a real album in the studio because all that other shit was at my mamaâs house. Went to the studio, made a real album. $4,500. Me and Juicy paid $2,250 each. $4,500 to make the first Three 6 Mafia album and that shit probably turned into $450 million worth of shit over time, but thatâs how it started.
As a group thatâs beenâ thatâs now been sampled countless times, and itâs been in the news that you guys have filed copyright lawsuits over people who havenât asked for permission to use your samples. How do you define the difference between paying homage and biting?
Well, the thing about it is — I donât really wanna talk about the whole thing too much because you know, itâs too emotional for a lot of these people. It hits them so hard. But just to answer your question: like, people said paying homage. Like, theyâll go redo a whole song, your lyrics and all of this and that. They be like âpaying homageâ and Iâm like, I get it. Itâs cool if you just doing something just to put out for free on YouTube or whatever. Iâm not tripping about that. But when you start doing, you know, like, 10, 20 of these and then I see that you got âem for sale on streaming and this and that. Iâm like okay, that ainât paying homage. Like seriously, youâre getting money for this. You know, I canât do that for The Rolling Stones. You know, I canât be like, âOh, man, Paul, man. I was just paying some homage.â He gonâ be like, âWell, look, Paul, man. You gotta pay some money.â Paul McCartney and DJ Paul in a flat-out argument somewhere! (Laughs). So itâs like, just, doing something cool just for free and just for fun, thatâs cool. But when I look at, you know, youâre putting it in movies and putting it in TV shows, and in commercials and youâre streaming it. Youâre selling it, and you got the number one streamed this and number one TikTok that, like thatâs a whole other thing. Like, you done went too far with it. You tripping. I donât really wanna talk too much about it, because they donât they donât understand it. You could break it down in as many ways as you wanna break it down but they still donât understand it. They just think that you tryna be a grumpy old man. The good thing about it is, theyâll get to that point, too. Theyâll get to that point. When theyâll be older and theyâll be having kids that do that to them and theyâll be having the same conversation. Theyâll be like âAye, you motherfuckers, this and that.â And the kidsâll be like, âI was just paying homage.â Thisâll be in 2030 or something.
Kanye West just went on a rant about ownership and buying back his masters. I just wanted to know your reaction to this recent conversation thatâs gaining prominence about artists getting screwed by major record companies.
Well, you know, man. The thing about it is, when streaming was created, it screwed everybody. As cool as streaming is, you know, itâs cool and all that, but itâs just kinda screwed everybody. So, like, the record labels arenât making any money. So, thatâs why the record labels like, you know, âWe gonâ need more from you. We gonâ need a 360 deal. Need to do this and need to do that,â because theyâre just trying to figure out a way to make some money out of the whole thing. You know, these record labels eventually might get to the point where theyâre like, âyou know what, weâre not gonna put yâall out.â But then the kids gonâ be like, âwe donât even need you to put us out, because we got this and we got that.â And, you know, you can do it independently, so thatâs what itâs all getting down to. Like, it ainât no use in sittinâ up here fussing about the record label screwing you in this and that. Because, yes, they’re gonna do that. They are not making no money, you know what Iâm saying? You just gotta put it out on your own. Donât even sit up here and say that they screwinâ you. Donât even try to go that route. Just do it on your own. That way you ainât gotta worry âbout whether they screwinâ you. When you see how hard it is to do it on your own and how much money that had to come out of your pocket, then you might look differently at the record label. You might be like, âWell, I donât know if they really screwed me. They just probably didn’t make no money.â
“It ainât no use in sittinâ up here fussing about the record label screwing you in this and that. Because, yes, they’re gonna do that. They are not making no money, you know what Iâm saying? You just gotta put it out on your own. Donât even sit up here and say that they screwinâ you.”
You know, so just do it on your own and like, I didnât even see the Kanye West thing. I love Kanye to death, I didnât even see that thing. So, I donât even know if this has anything to do with what he was talking about, but Iâm just speaking about the music business as a whole right now because Iâve come from both sides. Iâve seen both sides. Like, I was here during the cassette days, the vinyl days. I was here in the CD days. The streaming days. Now, everybody wants vinyl again. Iâve seen everything except for 8-Track. So, Iâve seen this music business inside and out. And I know how it was. I remember those $16.99 days. You know, I used to get $8.50 a unit, and I would sell 500,000 of those motherfuckers. For real. At $8.50 a unit. Tons. So, you know, Iâve seen all sides of it. Iâve seen when we were making tons and tons of money off of it. Thank God, I was smart with my money and I invested all my money, so I still have all my money. But, Iâve seen those days and Iâve seen streaming coming in. And they payinâ crumbs and then this platform wanna pay less than this one. So, you know, before we go into record labels, we should probably talk to these streaming people. Talk to the government. We need to vote for whatever president is gonna make streaming go up. Thatâs who we need to vote for. Outside of all that other shit that everybody talkin âbout, thatâs what Iâmma say, âLetâs vote for whoever make streaming prices go up.â Because they making money. People are listening to streaming. Thatâs all they got these days. You know, we canât go nowhere. Everybody locked in the house. They streaming like crazy.
Think about how much money YouTube made before they started paying artists. They made billions of dollars before they started paying artists. You know, the government ainât had our back on none of that. You know, they say something crazy and let entertainers â who entertain the worldâ they sit up in there and let entertainers get screwed by companies. And not realizing that the less money an entertainer makes, the less money the government is going to make because they gotta pay taxes on the money. So if I was you, I would be trying to make these entertainers be as happy as possible and as comfortable as possible and making as much money so they can keep entertaining. Because we’re gonna need entertainment. You know, entertainment and sports people should be the first motherfuckers they take care of. Not saying nobody else is under that. But like, people like yourself in the media, people are reading your interviews. Theyâre watching your posts, theyâre doing this. Youâre an entertainer, just like me, and people need entertainment. And I think, if you had to ask the people, they would say the same thing. Theyâd be like, âYeah, I want my favorite rapper, my favorite blogger, my favorite whatever, yeah, I want him to be good. You know, because I want to continue to watch him. I donât need to go on his website and he be like âIâm shut down, Iâm gone. Just retire.ââ I even played about retiring one day, my fans had a heart attack. You know what Iâm saying? So, thatâs what we need to focus on. We need to focus on getting more money into these artists pockets, you know what Iâm saying? We need to open back up the shows. People need to be doing shows. Theyâre doing football games. Thousand motherfuckers up in there. Doing football games, why you canât do a concert? Just pull out your mask. Make sure everybody stay socially distanced as much as they can, you know? Obviously, we canât have as many people in there. Spread âem out. And then, start doing some shows, man. Let these guys make some money.
As a group that makes high-energy music, how do you think a socially-distant Three 6 Mafia concert would look like? Actually, before we get into that, is the Three 6 reunion still happening?
Yeah, Iâm finna post one soon as we get off this phone.
Excellent. Iâm excited.
You know, you got to. You know, you got to, because, like, peopleâll sit up here and thereâs gonna be some shit from it. When I do this post, Iâma hear some shit from it. But like, you know, you gotta look at it like this: okay, so, you gon tell me diseases are only in one area? Like itâs only at concerts? Itâs only at this and that? But we can go out hereâ and not that I have nothing against the protest because the protests is coolâ but we can go out here and have 100,000 motherfuckas protesting with no mask, but we canât have fifty thousand — Ten, twenty, two thousand, three thousand people in a club, with masks? Whatâs the difference? Whatâs really the difference? They donât mind if you go out and protest and donât have on no mask and then the rates go up. Okay, everybody just caught Corona because everybody was out protesting. Then at the same time, they donât want you to nothing clean. Like, they donât want you to go into restaurants out here. They donât want you to go in this. You canât go in that. I get it, because I donât wanna be in no restaurant anyway, you know. But, if itâs gonâ be somewhere, everybody gonâ have they mask. Then, they make sure they have they mask on, if security see somebody without they mask on, they kick âem out.
Yeah, well, I was talking to âem and they kept telling me they was gonna do it, man. Then, they just ended up changinâ they mind. Itâs like, I donât know why they came in just to stop our thing and then didnât wanna do it. But whatever, I still got love for Swizz and Timbaland. Love you guys to death.
“Literally thirty-five minutes before we went live, Swizzâ people called Krayzie Bone and they was like, ‘We gonâ do it on Verzuz, so donât do it.’ And I was like, ‘Look dude, we still need to do it, man.’ I was like, ‘I donât knowâ when is the Verzuz gonâ happen? Like, we still need to do it.’ I guess Krayzie didnât wanna doâ heâd rather do the Verzuz than ours. He just kinda backed off and stopped picking up his phone. And I was like ‘okay.’ And I just left it alone. And then next thing I know, he tweeted and said, he didnât wanna do it at all because of the temperature of what was goin on in the world. Verzuz kept movingâ on and everything else kept goinâ. I was like, ‘Alright, I kind saw this coming and I tried to tell you, but, whatever.'”
Werenât you guys gonna do like independent Verzuz before Swizz and Timbo stepped in and asked if they could host it?
Well yea, it was finna happen. Like, like thirty minutes. Literally thirtyâ thirty-five minutes, literally thirty-five minutes before we went live, Swizzâ people called Krayzie Bone and they was like, âWe gonâ do it on Verzuz, so donât do it.â And I was like, âLook dude, we still need to do it, man.â I was like, âI donât knowâ when is the Verzuz gonâ happen? Like, we still need to do it.â I guess Krayzie didnât wanna doâ heâd rather do the Verzuz than ours. He just kinda backed off and stopped picking up his phone. And I was like âokay.â And I just left it alone. And then next thing I know, he tweeted and said, he didnât wanna do it at all because of the temperature of what was goin on in the world. Verzuz kept movingâ on and everything else kept goinâ. I was like, âAlright, I kind saw this coming and I tried to tell you, but, whatever.â
Is there any particular tour story that still stands in your mind like out of any of them? I know thatâs like thirty years of live shows.
Um, nah. Not really, man. All of âem was fun. All of âem was fun. I would say, my favorite ones though, was — my favorite shows of my whole career was in Germany. Germany and Tokyo, man. You could put me in Germany and Tokyo at any point in my life and Iâd be totally fine. You could just have me there now and Iâd be totally fine with it. Germany and Tokyo, Japan, are my two favoritesâ anywhere in Germany, especially Berlin. But anywhere in Europe, period. Anywhere in Europe. Norway? Put me there any day. Norway, any day. Tokyo, Japan, any day. Europe, all those my favorites.
Are they, like, like how- howâs the fan reception out there? Like, what was the first time performing out in those countries like, not knowing the impact that Three 6 Mafia had.
Man, it was fun as hell, man. The first time I went there was like fourteen years ago. And uh man, it was fun as hell. Like, I knew it was gonna be crazy. You know, it was crazy as hell. Some of itâ some of it online. It is somewhere on my DJ Paul KOMTV on my YouTube, like way, way, back in the day, like 2008. I got some on there, stage diving with no shirt on and everything. But yeah, it was fun. They went crazy. Man, they love Americans over there. A lot, like any rapper. They go crazy. They go way crazier than they do over here. Because you know, over here, itâs a concert every day. But over there, you know, they donât get us that often. So, when we come over there, man, they treat us like royalty. When the last time I toured — the last time I toured Asia was probably, I donât know, maybe four years ago or something. Man, they picked up from the airport in a Rolls Royce. They drove me around town in one. They took me shopping in one. They gave me an additional $5000 just to go buy some clothes with. That wasnât even in my rider or part of my show money or nothing. They just picked me up in a Rolls Royce and had white wine in the back because I used to drink white wine back then. Had the white wine bottles in the back. And they were like, âHey, hereâs your five grandâ. We gonâ drop you off. We gonâ take you to a strip mall with clothes there and theyâre gonna hook you up. They gonâ throw in some extras. I was like âLetâs run it.â It was me and my girl at the time and man, we in the back. I posted picture of it, in the back, ballinâ, man. Had stacks, man. Time of my life. Japan, Japan takes care of you.
So, just to get into the podcast, why does it feel like the right time to cross over into podcasting right now?
Well, I was kinda doing it maybe a year or two ago. A year ago. And I stopped doing it because of the people I was doing it with. They were having some situations with their program and they people were waiting for them and this and that and it kept kinda gettinâ screwed up. So, I left that. But when I was doing it, people were loving it, man. Because people love having conversations with me because I could talk about anything in the world. You know, I got real estate companies. Iâve done everything in the world or still doing it. So, I got a broad mind. And I could talk about anything, and people just like having conversations with me because it’s gonna always probably end up a little comical. But at the same time, you know youâre gonna probably learn something, you know. Thatâs one of the main reasons I wanna, well I like having a podcast and I wanna bring the podcast back to life. It’s because I like to teach people stuff. So like, all the time on my Instagram — there will be some funny stuff and there will be some music, and Iâll sell a shirt or two or some barbecue sauce or something from time to time, but itâs gonna be a lot of education stuff on there. Thereâs gonna be a lot of educational stuff on there and I might not even keep it up all the time. I might just put it up for 24 hours and take it down. Or I might put it in my story.
I love putting all the information that I hear from people. People that Iâm around thatâs successful or really smart. Or something I see on the news. I just try and keep the guys up to date on it because I know a lot of these guys are just like me back in the day, they was in the streets. And they ainât watching the news or reading no newspapers or paying attention to whatâs going on. So, I try to be that guy for them, you know. I try to be the Hood News Man. You know, let them know, like, they standing on the corner doing what they gotta do and they get an alert that I just did a post. They look at it and be like âOh shit, n***a, we gotta go back to Africa. They finna blow this motherfucka up n***a. Like okay, DJ Paul just tweeted we gotta go back to Africa, they finna blow the United States up (Laugh). So, some shit like that or whatever. I just try and keep n***as informed of whatâs going on and just try and help as much as I can. Even with a food tip. You know, I post stuff about food. I used to do cooking videos. Iâmma bring those back, only more healthier. So, thatâs what itâs about man, just tryna [spread] all the knowledge I learned and being a OG, and all the time that Iâve been on this earth just sharing it with the kids so they wonât make the same mistakes that I made. âCause there’s a lot of times I made a lot of mistakes and I look back like, damn, if I woulda knew this then, I wouldnât have lost all of this at this point or this wouldnât have happened. So, just tryna help them beat the curve. You know, be ahead of it.
I was gonna say, the way youâre Instagram feed is, thereâs a consistent source of content coming out that may not even be music related. You might add your two cents on something in pop culture or politics. What topic are you most excited to explore on this podcast?
Well, first of all, we donât call it politics. We call it Paul-itics. Paul-itics, because it got a different little spin on it.
I like that.
So Paul-itics, man. Iâm excited to talk about everything and really not that much music, You know, like I donât really care to talk about music, you know, thatâs fine. And I heard about some other musicians who donât really, who might be coming on there that donât wanna talk about music. You know, youâve heard one story about music, youâve heard âem all. Basically, they donât tend to veer too much off the track. So, I really rather like talking about stuff thatâs like, love talking about real estate, I could talk about real estate all day. I love talking about cooking. I love talking about anything that gotta do with health and fitness, you know. Money, financial. Itâs more about growth. You know, if youâre a rapper — I can tell you some stuff obviously, but I probably canât tell you any more than you can already Google or already heard or seen on some Michael Jackson movie. You know what Iâm saying? Something on BET or something. You know what Iâm saying? All that stuff is out there. Okay? Donât sell your publishing, do this, blah blah blah. We get it. But Iâd rather tell you what to do with that money that you making off of that, than sit up here and tell you like, âOkay, well how do I get a record deal?â Well, you probably donât want a record deal. So, I donât really wanna tell you how to get a record deal, because you probably donât want one. Probably wanna do it on your own. And âHow do I do this? How do I do that? How do I get a feature from an artist?â Like always little questions like — I donât even wanna sit up and really talk about that. Like, you wanna get a feature from an artist? You gotta have some money. They are not about to do it for free. And I wanna talk about stuff like, âThis is what you need to do with that money.â And if you wanna talk about some music, I might tell âem this, I might be like, âYou probably donât even wanna spend that money on the music, because you might [not] make it back. You probably wanna take that money and buy a little small piece of property thatâs gonna get you some money here every month. You know? So, thatâs the kinda stuff that I really wanna talk about. I want it to be more just like educating. Educating guys. But not all education. But obviously, because everybody doesn’t wanna be educated. Itâs gonna be some funny stuff and some fun and all that. Itâs a lifestyle.