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 Mafia's influence has been heard across the board. As hip-hop's reached its pinnacle of popularity in the past five years, Three 6 Mafia's 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 who've sampled or repurposed Three 6 Mafia tracks to their own success in recent years.
Paul and Juicy J's humble beginnings in Memphis transformed into a giant empire that has claimed a stake in Southern hip-hop. In a tale that's being groomed for a TV series, DJ Paul's 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 Elvis' 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 that's how it started."
DJ Paul's entrepreneurial spirit is a reflection of his overall interests, be it food or real estate. That's the point of his newly relaunched Mafia Radio podcast with HotNewHipHop. DJ Paul will be diving into an array of subjects while remaining the “Hood News Man,” 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 ‘Oh 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.' So, some shit like that or whatever. I just try and keep n***as informed of what's going on and just try and help as much as I can.”
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.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
HNHH: The new Three 6 drops are hard. I saw Metro rockin' one of the shirts the other day in the “Runnin” video -- crazy.
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 rockin' had that signature grungy Three 6 style.
Yeah, when I saw him wearing that shirt, I felt like -- I ain't even gon' lie, I felt old. (Laughs) Nah, I'm 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 it's like when you go out and you see white kids and Asians and whatever, just all different races, rocking a RUN-DMC shirt. Like, I'll be in a grocery store -- the healthy grocery store -- and I'll see some hot white girl wearing a Public Enemy shirt. She probably can't tell you none of the lyrics to “911 Is a Joke” but it's just like (laughs) -- It's just, I don't know, it's just so huge. It's just, like I said, it's a household name, you know? And they love that vintage stuff. And when I saw that I was like, “Damn, we're officially one of those groups right now. We're officially one of those groups.” Like, I'm 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, walkin' in there, buying a Van Halen shirt or something. And now seeing kids do the same for me, it's just online. It's cool.
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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, I'm tryna get it the other way. ‘Cause, 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 that's been with some of our little seasonings of Three 6 Mafia. Our sound is everywhere. As far as our brand, it's not everywhere like that because there's still people who don't even know our name. Like, they know it, but there's still a lot of people that don't. I be walking down the street and people are like, “Ain't you that rapper? That dude, um?” You know, they know, and they know it and they know the songs and I'll be like “Ah, yeah” and I'll tell ‘em. Most of the time I don't tell ‘em, but if I tell ‘em, I'll be like “Yeah, Three 6 Mafia.” They'll be like, “Three 6 Mafia! What did you guys sing?” Well, we had a little song called “Slob on the Knob,” “Stay Fly,” “Poppin' My Collar.” And they be like, “Oh my god!” And they start going crazy about it, just from that. So, it's still the name ain't 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 ain't never been on none of those. Like, when you see a lot of these things about who's 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 they'll 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, that's why I said the brand ain't there but the music is there. They love the music. They just don't wanna show no love to us for whatever reason (Laughs). But I'm not trippin' 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 ain't never been on none of those. Like, when you see a lot of these things about who's 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 they'll have a million people on there that was influenced by us and may even have remakes of our songs on there."
I mean, that's 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 it's crazy that you even mentioned that you don't 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 there's a lot of kids -- I mean really, really love us now, because a lot of these kids just startin' to find out who we are. You know, it's cool. So the thing about it though, it's 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 should've kept those masks on. But you know the fucking girls started getting at us at these concerts and we took ‘em off. But should've kept ‘em on. Should've kept ‘em on. Like, man, I'd 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 don't 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 can't live in a small town like that, but every day I wanna try. Every day, I was always able to laugh at it like, “What the fuck small town in South Dakota can I move to?” Something like that. You know what I'm saying? I don't 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 “One day, I wanna make a movie like y'all.” I'm like “n***a, I wanna make a movie like yours," like Boyz N Da Hood was the shit, you know? But he was like, “I wanna make a movie like y'all's, like a Boyz N Da Hood, but in the South. In Memphis, just like y'all did with Choices 1, something gritty like that. You know?” 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 don't 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 guys' 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, wasn't feeling too good and was having issues with something. And my boy Computer was telling him, “Boy, you gotta start eating better, eating healthier, John.” And he was like “Man, I'm getting to it.” Or something like that. I don't 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 John's 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 that's how close we were with John Singleton. For years and years and years
I didn't even realize the relationship was that tight-knit between you guys.
Yeah, it was real tight.
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 that's the kind of life we was living then. That's the kinda shit I was going through.
Like, I'll never forget one day, you know, on the popular scene, where he hollerin' “Ricky!” 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, “Fuck you” and I threw my shit up, you know? This and that. We didn't 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 fuckin' 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***as' neighborhood. The opposites. And them motherfuckers saw us and pulled up in they goddamn truck. And I was like “Oh shit.” In Boyz n the Hood, when they pulled up on us -- I didn't even back down on him. I still repped my shit to the fullest. This and that. He holla'd some shit at me, like “Nah, n***as it's this.” Blah blah blah blah blah blah. And this motherfucker just pulled his shotgun out. First thing came through my mind was that fuckin' scene from that movie because this was around that time. This woulda been probably like ‘91 or -- when did Boyz n the Hood come out? It probably came out in ‘90 or somewhere around there. But this was around that time. And that was the first -- this maybe ‘91, ‘92, whatever -- and that was the first thing that came to my mind. I was like “Damn, I'm ‘bout to get shot in the back, just like Ricky.” (Laughs).
Just like that. I started runnin' and I was just waitin' for it. Motherfuckas bust out to runnin' and they never shot. Thank God they never shot. They didn't 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 didn't shoot me. Thank God they didn't. We wouldn't be havin' the fucking conversation right now. You know what I'm saying? Wherever them n***as right now, I'm not even mad at you. We was enemies back then, but you know what? My n***a, peace.
That's a crazy story.
But I was thinkin' 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, “Man, look, we gotta get up outta here. Like, this some bullshit here. Like n***a ‘bout 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.” I was like, “this shit is stupid. We gotta get outta this.” And you know, I just, I just stopped walkin'. I would go places and I would drive my car. Make sure I have my shit with me. But the walkin' shit, I stopped. Then I just started lockin' myself more in the studio in my mama's bedroom house. You know what I'm saying? One day, I was at the studio, a n***a rolled past my mama's 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 callin' up my boys and I was like, “We gotta do the same thing that they just did, so get ready. I'll be there in a minute.” 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 that's 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 didn't 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 OG's 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 ‘em in jail or whatever, but all of us became friends through my music. They would sneak and buy tapes from me, that's the crazy part about it.
How did you get into that hustle of pushing tapes? Even the fact that like that's 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 we're writing this TV show, but I'll tell you a little bit about it because I'm in bed with you guys. We gon' do business together. So I'ma 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, “Here you go Paul, I got a gift for you. Here's the mixer. And I'll see you later. I dunno. Probably finna go to jail for the rest of my life.” And I'm like, “Okay, that's fucked up, but, alright, man. Lemme know how that go.” 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 ‘em for $2. It was 60-minute TDK tapes, but I only did one side, thirty minutes. And the kids would be like, “Man, this is jammin', man. Can you do the other side?” And I was like, “Well, you gotta give another $2 and then I'll do the other side.” And they was like, “Okay.” So they'd give me another $2, I'd 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 people's 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. I'd just squeeze ‘em in there to ease ‘em in to just see what they thought about it. So it'd be like the fourth or fifth song, then it'd 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, “Aye, what was that fourth song in there?” I was like, “Ah, you like that? Eh, it's some stuff. Just some stuff.” You know what I'm 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 that's 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, “Here you go Paul, I got a gift for you. Here's the mixer. And I'll see you later. I dunno. Probably finna go to jail for the rest of my life.” And I'm like, “Okay, that's fucked up, but, alright, man. Lemme know how that go.” 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 that's 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 didn't wanna be seen buying them from me. But other than that, I just posted up. I didn't 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 he'd be like “Yeah, you should take some over to my other cousin. This Aziz. And you should take some tapes over here to stereo.” So I'm riding all over town. But that's 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. We'd take em to the stereo store and we do a consignment. They'd be like, “Okay, I'll see how it sounds. I'll see how it sells. Come back in a week and I'll give you the four dollars a tape.” And I said, “All you gotta do is when you're tryna sell someone a kickbox, put this tape in there and let them hear this bass on this tape and you gona' sell that kickbox and you gon' sell this tape.” 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 “Can you bring more tapes, Paul?” I'm like, fuck. So we just sat up there, trappin' with this lil' machine, doing three tapes at a time and it got up to like the thousands. So, we fuckin sitting up there, damn near, ain't even going to school. Just trying to make these tapes as fast as we can and turn ‘em 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 can't even remember his name. It'll 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 didn't 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 that's 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 I'm 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, “Look, I know y'all 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 gon' sell. And then you can just give me the money off of ‘em like later on. Two weeks later or whatever.” And he was like “We'll try.” 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, “Man, I got some dudes up here called DJ Paul, Juicy J and Three 6 Mafia. These dudes are selling tapes like crazy up here.” He's like, ”You probably need to talk to those dudes.” And we went to Select-O-Hits and had the meeting and he was like, I'll give you guys a distribution deal. You gotta pay for everything but I'll put it on CD's. I'll pay for the initial CD's. Y'all gotta pay for y'all promotion, do y'all leg work. I'll put it on CD's for you and I'll put it in every store in the United States. And I was like, “Deal.” And we did it. Went to the studio, made a real album in the studio because all that other shit was at my mama's 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 that's how it started.
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As a group that's been— that's now been sampled countless times, and it's been in the news that you guys have filed copyright lawsuits over people who haven't 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 don't really wanna talk about the whole thing too much because you know, it's 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, they'll go redo a whole song, your lyrics and all of this and that. They be like “paying homage” and I'm like, I get it. It's cool if you just doing something just to put out for free on YouTube or whatever. I'm not tripping about that. But when you start doing, you know, like, 10, 20 of these and then I see that you got ‘em for sale on streaming and this and that. I'm like okay, that ain't paying homage. Like seriously, you're getting money for this. You know, I can't do that for The Rolling Stones. You know, I can't be like, “Oh, man, Paul, man. I was just paying some homage.” He gon' be like, ‘Well, look, Paul, man. You gotta pay some money.” Paul McCartney and DJ Paul in a flat-out argument somewhere! (Laughs). So it's like, just, doing something cool just for free and just for fun, that's cool. But when I look at, you know, you're putting it in movies and putting it in TV shows, and in commercials and you're streaming it. You're selling it, and you got the number one streamed this and number one TikTok that, like that's a whole other thing. Like, you done went too far with it. You tripping. I don't really wanna talk too much about it, because they don't they don't understand it. You could break it down in as many ways as you wanna break it down but they still don't understand it. They just think that you tryna be a grumpy old man. The good thing about it is, they'll get to that point, too. They'll get to that point. When they'll be older and they'll be having kids that do that to them and they'll be having the same conversation. They'll be like “Aye, you motherfuckers, this and that.” And the kids'll be like, “I was just paying homage.” This'll 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 that's 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, it's cool and all that, but it's just kinda screwed everybody. So, like, the record labels aren't making any money. So, that's why the record labels like, you know, “We gon' need more from you. We gon' need a 360 deal. Need to do this and need to do that,” because they're 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 they're like, “you know what, we're not gonna put y'all out.” But then the kids gon' be like, “we don't even need you to put us out, because we got this and we got that.” And, you know, you can do it independently, so that's what it's all getting down to. Like, it ain't no use in sittin' 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 I'm saying? You just gotta put it out on your own. Don't even sit up here and say that they screwin' you. Don't even try to go that route. Just do it on your own. That way you ain't gotta worry ‘bout whether they screwin' 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, “Well, I don't know if they really screwed me. They just probably didn't make no money.”
"It ain't no use in sittin' 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 I'm saying? You just gotta put it out on your own. Don't even sit up here and say that they screwin' you."
You know, so just do it on your own and like, I didn't even see the Kanye West thing. I love Kanye to death, I didn't even see that thing. So, I don't even know if this has anything to do with what he was talking about, but I'm just speaking about the music business as a whole right now because I've come from both sides. I've 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. I've seen everything except for 8-Track. So, I've 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, I've seen all sides of it. I've 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, I've seen those days and I've seen streaming coming in. And they payin' 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. That's who we need to vote for. Outside of all that other shit that everybody talkin ‘bout, that's what I'mma say, “Let's vote for whoever make streaming prices go up.” Because they making money. People are listening to streaming. That's all they got these days. You know, we can't 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 ain't had our back on none of that. You know, they say something crazy and let entertainers — who entertain the world— 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. They're watching your posts, they're doing this. You're 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. They'd be like, “Yeah, 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 don't need to go on his website and he be like ‘I'm shut down, I'm gone. Just retire.'” I even played about retiring one day, my fans had a heart attack. You know what I'm saying? So, that's what we need to focus on. We need to focus on getting more money into these artists pockets, you know what I'm saying? We need to open back up the shows. People need to be doing shows. They're doing football games. Thousand motherfuckers up in there. Doing football games, why you can't do a concert? Just pull out your mask. Make sure everybody stay socially distanced as much as they can, you know? Obviously, we can't have as many people in there. Spread ‘em 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, I'm finna post one soon as we get off this phone.
Excellent. I'm excited.
You know, you got to. You know, you got to, because, like, people'll sit up here and there's gonna be some shit from it. When I do this post, I'ma 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 it's only at concerts? It's only at this and that? But we can go out here— and not that I have nothing against the protest because the protests is cool— but we can go out here and have 100,000 motherfuckas protesting with no mask, but we can't have fifty thousand -- Ten, twenty, two thousand, three thousand people in a club, with masks? What's the difference? What's really the difference? They don't mind if you go out and protest and don't 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 don't want you to nothing clean. Like, they don't want you to go into restaurants out here. They don't want you to go in this. You can't go in that. I get it, because I don't wanna be in no restaurant anyway, you know. But, if it's gon' be somewhere, everybody gon' have they mask. Then, they make sure they have they mask on, if security see somebody without they mask on, they kick ‘em out.
Nah? That's not happening anymore?
Yeah, nah, that's not happening.
Damn, we were real excited about that. Especially me and one of my coworkers, we were very hyped.
Yeah, well, I was talking to ‘em and they kept telling me they was gonna do it, man. Then, they just ended up changin' they mind. It's like, I don't know why they came in just to stop our thing and then didn't 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, Swizz' people called Krayzie Bone and they was like, 'We gon' do it on Verzuz, so don't do it.' And I was like, 'Look dude, we still need to do it, man.' I was like, 'I don't know— when is the Verzuz gon' happen? Like, we still need to do it.' I guess Krayzie didn't wanna do— he'd 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 didn't wanna do it at all because of the temperature of what was goin on in the world. Verzuz kept moving' on and everything else kept goin'. I was like, 'Alright, I kind saw this coming and I tried to tell you, but, whatever.'"
Weren't 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 thirty— thirty-five minutes, literally thirty-five minutes before we went live, Swizz' people called Krayzie Bone and they was like, “We gon' do it on Verzuz, so don't do it.” And I was like, “Look dude, we still need to do it, man.” I was like, “I don't know— when is the Verzuz gon' happen? Like, we still need to do it.” I guess Krayzie didn't wanna do— he'd 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 didn't wanna do it at all because of the temperature of what was goin on in the world. Verzuz kept moving' on and everything else kept goin'. I was like, “Alright, I kind saw this coming and I tried to tell you, but, whatever.”
Is there any particular tour story that still stands in your mind like out of any of them? I know that's like thirty years of live shows.
Um, nah. Not really, man. All of ‘em was fun. All of ‘em 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 I'd be totally fine. You could just have me there now and I'd be totally fine with it. Germany and Tokyo, Japan, are my two favorites— 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.
How's the fan reception out there? What was it like performing in those countries for the first time 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 it— 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, it's a concert every day. But over there, you know, they don't 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 don't 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 wasn't 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, “Hey, here's your five grand”. We gon' drop you off. We gon' take you to a strip mall with clothes there and they're gonna hook you up. They gon' throw in some extras. I was like “Let's run it.” It was me and my girl at the time and man, we in the back. I posted picture of it, in the back, ballin', man. Had stacks, man. Time of my life. Japan, Japan takes care of you.
Image provided by the artist
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 gettin' 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. I've 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 you're gonna probably learn something, you know. That's 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 I'll sell a shirt or two or some barbecue sauce or something from time to time, but it's gonna be a lot of education stuff on there. There's 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 I'm around that's 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 ain't watching the news or reading no newspapers or paying attention to what's 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 “Oh 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 what's 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. I'mma bring those back, only more healthier. So, that's what it's about man, just tryna [spread] all the knowledge I learned and being a OG, and all the time that I've been on this earth just sharing it with the kids so they won't make the same mistakes that I made. ‘Cause 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 wouldn't have lost all of this at this point or this wouldn't have happened. So, just tryna help them beat the curve. You know, be ahead of it.
I was gonna say, the way you're Instagram feed is, there's 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 don't 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. I'm excited to talk about everything and really not that much music, You know, like I don't really care to talk about music, you know, that's fine. And I heard about some other musicians who don't really, who might be coming on there that don't wanna talk about music. You know, you've heard one story about music, you've heard ‘em all. Basically, they don't tend to veer too much off the track. So, I really rather like talking about stuff that's 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. It's more about growth. You know, if you're a rapper -- I can tell you some stuff obviously, but I probably can't tell you any more than you can already Google or already heard or seen on some Michael Jackson movie. You know what I'm saying? Something on BET or something. You know what I'm saying? All that stuff is out there. Okay? Don't sell your publishing, do this, blah blah blah. We get it. But I'd rather tell you what to do with that money that you making off of that, than sit up here and tell you like, “Okay, well how do I get a record deal?” Well, you probably don't want a record deal. So, I don't really wanna tell you how to get a record deal, because you probably don't want one. Probably wanna do it on your own. And “How do I do this? How do I do that? How do I get a feature from an artist?” Like always little questions like -- I don't 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, “This is what you need to do with that money.” And if you wanna talk about some music, I might tell ‘em this, I might be like, “You probably don't 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 that's gonna get you some money here every month. You know? So, that's 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. It's gonna be some funny stuff and some fun and all that. It's a lifestyle.
I'll just put it like that, man: it's a lifestyle.
Watch the debut episode of Mafia Radio podcast with Xzibit below.