Juicy J does a gig Wednesday night at Club Zoo and if you’ve ever seen Juicy J live, you know he’ll do his part to turn it into one.
The rapper from Memphis is a wild one with no shortage of raunchy club bangers, and there’s no doubt he’ll have the room bouncing on his Never Sober tour.
Juicy J is the rare Oscar-winning rapper, having won in 2006 with his former group, Three 6 Mafia, for the song, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” from the movie “Hustle and Flow.”
Since then, he’s mostly been working on his solo career, with his biggest success coming from the 2012 stripper rap song “Bandz a Make Her Dance,” which turned up on last year’s “Stay Trippy.” The latest single, “Talkin’ Bout,” features Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa, his partner in Taylor Gang Records.
Juicy J’s biggest exposure to date might be happening right now, with his feature on Katy Perry’s chart-topping hit, “Dark Horse.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone have as much fun as you on stage. How do you gauge what’s a really good show?
When I see the tweets, many, people having fun, that’s all I care about. No fights. Everybody just kickin’ and smokin’, drinkin’, know what I’m sayin’? Life is all about fun. Have fun with your life. Forget about the stress and the madness.
How did things develop with Wiz and what’s the working relationship like with Wiz?
Everything’s good, man. He made me a third owner of his label. I’m a third owner of Taylor Gang. My best friends, man. We’re just pushing the artists that we got right now, like Tuki [Carter], Berner, Chevy [Woods] and Courtney [Noelle]. I like trying to break new artists, bring something new to the table, something different. Like, ‘Oh wow, who’s this guy?’
Has this Katy Perry thing put you into a whole different commercial strata?
Oh yeah, man. Took me to another level. I’m getting shows, phone’s ringing like crazy. Woman are calling [laughs]. I can’t complain.
Did you do it together or mail it in?
I emailed my verse in and then I went into the studio and I changed up like four bars and she came in the studio and she heard it and she loved it.
A lot of stations that won’t play Juicy J will play that.
It makes me more familiar. A lot of people probably weren’t familiar with my voice, my sound, my name. Now I’m more familiar in the pop world. I’m definitely familiar in the urban world. It just takes it to a whole other audience. I just dropped a new single called ‘Talkin Bout.’ It’s definitely an urban record, but it has that sound to go rhythmic and maybe on the pop chart,s as well. People are familiar with me now, so maybe they aren’t so nervous and scared to play my record, like, ‘Oh, that’s Juicy J, put it on.’
Do you see doing more of those?
I’m an urban guy but if a song can cross over, that’s good. I don’t go into the studio trying to make pop music. I love pop music, but I just try to do the music I’ve been doing. “Bandz a Make Her Dance” crossed over to pop radio and it was just neat. I don’t try to change anything. I just do me.
How close are you to finishing [the next album] ‘The Hustle Continues’?
I’m 90 percent done with the album. I’m just doing a few tweaks to the singles. We 90 percent in, man, it’s a crazy album. It’s not going to have too many features. It’s just going to be me. I have a lot to say, a lot to get out to the fans.
What happened with the Three 6 Mafia reunion plan?
Nothing’s in the books right now, but you never know in the future. After I’m done with this album, we’ll see.
Were there legal and label complications with that?
Nah, nah. The group was just kind of put on hold and I just kept doin’ my thing. I just kept working. And it popped out for me, so I just took advantage of this solo thing. But, definitely, man, I’m the guy that started the group, so I would definitely do something with that group.
Where do you keep your Oscar?
Aw, man, I got it in a safe place
Is Wiz going to be around for your show?
I think he’s doing some gigs in a different place, but the Taylor Gang will definitely be in the building.
Juicy J, with Travi$ Scott and Project Pat (his older brother and Three 6 Mafia member) at Club Zoo. Wednesday at 8 p.m. $28 and up. www.ticketfly.com/event/478589-juicy-j-pittsburgh/