Juicy J Salutes Isaac Hayes, Praises Nas’ ‘Real Bars’ for Black Music Month [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
With his THC Tour underway and his fourth solo album, Pure THC: The Hustle Continues, being crafted for a 2015 release, Juicy J continues to prove that 40 is the new 20 when it comes to the rap game. The rapper can't be stopped.
His career spans over two decades with his music roots in Memphis, where he formed Three 6 Mafia along with DJ Paul in the early '90s. Since then, he has built an empire as part of the famed group and as a solo artist, a producer and as a Grammy Award nominee and an Oscar winner.
While Juicy continues to make his mark in hip-hop history, he hasn't forgotten the pioneers before him that helped influence him on his path to success.
In honor of Black Music Month in June, Juicy J shares his thoughts on the influential African-American musicians that have impacted his life and those he still aims to collaborate with.
“For Black Music Month, I would definitely want to celebrate Isaac Hayes,” Juicy tells The Boombox. Hayes, a fellow Memphis native, is a huge inspiration for the rapper, namely during his Three 6 Mafia days. His influence can be heard on tracks like Mafia’s 1999 track “Get Buck Mutha F---a,” which samples Hayes’ “Ike’s Mood,” and the Project Pat-assisted 2009 effort “Hoe Pulla,” featuring a sample from the singer's “The Look of Love.”
He even became friends with the late "Shaft" singer. “I met him one time in Memphis at a gas station… I was like 27 or 28. But then I met him again on the set of Hustle & Flow and we got to work together,” Juicy explains. “We became friends from there and I learned a lot from him. I wanted to work with him before he passed but I didn’t get the chance too.”
The Trippy King didn't have a chance to collaborate with Hayes before he passed in 2008, but he does mention another black man in music he hopes to work with in the future. “Nas is one of my favorite rappers because you don’t get any of that flashy stuntin’; you get the real, just raw bars,” Juicy J states. “The way he tells stories and his vibe, I think we would make great music together."
With his new album in the works, Juicy is looking to shy away from the “trippy” theme fans have grown accustomed to over the years and details more personal stories of his own. He plans on opening up about everything from getting his start in the game to social justice issues and reliving his traumatizing experience with police. While Black Music Month is certainly celebratory, the rhymer also touches on the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality. “Man it’s terrible. It has affected me because I have been a victim of police brutality,” the “Tryna F---” creator recalls. “I was pulled over and roughed up and handcuffs. But I had a gun on me, it was a registered gun but I fit the description of a black male so…”
For Juicy, it’s important that all musicians, even if they are not black, to speak out against injustice and the national Black Lives Matter campaign. In fact, Juicy has already recorded new music to air out his sentiments. “I wrote a song, it hasn’t been released yet. But I touch on the issues and what’s going on in society. Sometimes I feel like its not even about race. It can happen to anyone, white, black or Hispanic," he discloses. "You never know if they have on that uniform or if someone is having a bad day, it could cost you your life.”
Juicy J’s Pure THC: The Hustle Continues will be released later this year. Look out for a possible Isaac Hayes sample on the project, or we may get lucky and get that Nas collaboration he's hoping for.
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