Juicy J: Talkin 'bout Wiz Khalifa, Katy Perry, Three 6 Mafia

Written by Scott Mervis on .


JuicyJuicy 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.


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Pittsburghers in Austin respond to SXSW tragedy

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medvedMike MedvedSinger-songwriter Mike Medved, one of the many Pittsburgh artists in Austin this week for SXSW, didn’t know about the tragedy until the next morning.

“I woke up to a lot of text messages [Thursday] making sure I was all right. I was obviously pretty upset to learn what happened.”

Veteran LA punk band X was on stage at The Mohawk early Thursday morning when two people were killed and 23 injured out front after a suspected drunk driver trying to evade police crashed into a crowd on Red River Street. Some were waiting outside to see rapper Tyler, the Creator, who was scheduled to perform after X.

Witnesses told the Houston Chronicle that the music outside was at a volume that it made it hard to tell what was happening as the Honda Civic was plowing through barricades. In the videos that have been posted online, you can hear X, unaware of the incident, playing “Nausea” in the background as first responders attend to victims.

Austin police arrested the suspect, 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens, a rapper there to perform under the name KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254.

Fortunately, none of the Pittsburghers are in Austin were injured. Festival organizers decided it was best to go on with the 27th annual music conference, which showcases hundreds of acts, from new buzz bands to the likes of Lady Gaga and Kanye West.

“It was such a sad and unfortunate thing to have happen,” C.T. Fields, of Pittsburgh band Lovebettie, said Friday. “It scared a lot of people. The city and venues have really come together to take care of everything.”

By Friday morning, he said, “There was a big bounceback and new energy at SXSW. I think in some way it reminded people to be more grateful for life.”

Steve Soboslai, a Pittsburgher now living in Nashville and best known for fronting Punchline, is in Austin with his latest band, Blue of Colors.

“We noticed a heightened sense of caution among the crowd,” he said Friday. “I expected the hit and run would be an inescapable topic of conversation, but no one brought it up. You could tell though that everyone was thinking about it.”

Young Pittsburgh rapper Devin Miles was at a show two blocks away from the incident. He said Friday, “Everyone wants to be safe. Everyone is in high spirits.”

“To walk down 6th Street,” Mr. Medved said, “it would be difficult to tell anything bad had happened a few days ago.

However, he said, “Most of the musicians have mentioned the accident during their set and took a second to remind the crowd how important and fragile life is.”


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Pittsburgh makes list of Top 15 D-baggy cities

Written by Scott Mervis on .


danecook200Dane Cook: We're No. 1!Just last year, Salon was asking, "Is Pittsburgh the new Portland?"

Now, we find out -- to the surprise of no one that's been on the South Side at 2 a.m. -- that Pittsburgh makes the cut of "The Top 15 Cities Where [D-bags] Live."

How did the real estate Estately come to this conclusion? They took the 100 most populated cities and crunched numbers on male Facebook 'likes' of such d-baggy things as Nickelback, Monster Energy, Axe, Ed Hardy, Vin Diesel, Chris Brown, Tosh.0, Mixed Martial Arts, Bluetooth and Dane Cook.

Does anyone care to argue with that criteria?

Didn't think so.

Here are the results

15. Anaheim, California
14. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
13. Bakersfield, California
12. Wichita, Kansas
11. Tucson, Arizona
10. Norfolk, Virginia
9. Toledo, Ohio
8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
7. Colorado Springs, Colorado
6. Glendale, Arizona
5. Corpus Christi, Texas
4. Aurora, Colorado
3. San Antonio, Texas
2. El Paso, Texas
1. Laredo, Texas

Whoa, Texas.

When you look closely at the numbers, what put Pittsburgh over the top was its No. 1 ranking for Dane Cook. We also hit Top 10 on "Tosh.o" (5) and Ed Hardy (10).
How much do we like Nickelback? No. 29. Chris Brown? About the same: 26
Estately theorizes that there's a hipster/d-bag axis. "Cities with the fewest [d-bags] (San Francisco, Seattle, etc.) are cities known to have large populations of obnoxious hipsters."

Maybe they haven't been to Lawrenceville on a Saturday night.




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Stage AE lineup adds Tyler, The Creator; Boston; Ray LaMontagne; Steel Panther

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Tyler-The-Creator1Stage AE dropped four new shows on us Monday, including a sensitive folk singer, an insensitive rapper, a serious classic rock band and an insincere metal band.

You may notice in the Ray LaMontagne info the words "seated lawn ticket." Yes, chairs on the lawn. This will be a first for the venue, which started its outdoor series in 2011.

May 28: Steel Panther: Over-the-top hair-metal band from -- where else? -- the Sunset Strip. $25 advance; $27 door. On sale Friday.

June 4: Tyler, The Creator. Rapper/producer and main man in hip-hop crew Odd Future. $25; on sale March 12.

June 6: Ray LaMontagne: Impressively bearded singer-songwriter from New Hampshire best known for the single "Trouble." With The Belle Brigade. $45-$55 seated pit ticket; $35.00 seated lawn ticket. On sale March 14.

July 15: Boston: Tom Scholz-led '70s rock band with Brad Delp-sound-alike Tommy DeCarlo on vocals. $35 advance/$38 day of show. On sale March 14.

Tickets at all Ticketmaster locations. Charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at



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Dropkick Murphys play a rowdy St. Patrick's Day warmup at Stage AE

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You knew Ken Casey would go there at some point.

"Just wanted to mention that we won the World Series!," the singer gloated to the sold-out crowd at Stage AE, before tossing in. "Did I mention that we despise the Penguins?!"

It's a Matt Cooke/Marc Savard thing that the Dropkick Murphys founder and singer, sporting a Bruins jersey, will never get over. It prompted a round of boos and a "Let's Go Pens!" chant, and then it was right back into the good spirit of the music.

If we didn't love the Dropkick Murphys, we'd probably hate them.

The Boston band has a second home here, having played Pittsburgh over a dozen times in its 18-year career, and it gave fans a little extra on Saturday night on its St. Patrick's Day tour.

Although the Murphys came with last year's still fresh "Signed and Sealed in Blood," it was a "Do or Die" kind of night with the boys from Boston reaching back to their hard-knuckled debut for no less than nine songs, including both "Finnegan's Wake" and "(F)lannigan's Ball."

Casey and Al Barr traded off raw, growling vocals and led the crowd in barroom sing-alongs while the band roared with that old punk rock vigor. This, by the way, was the first time I remember seeing the Murphys with a screen projecting images rather than just a plain backdrop. Add some flashier lighting and you got a slicker, more professional presentation, for better or worse.

They did four songs from the new album, "Signed and Sealed in Blood," including opener "The Boys Are Back" and "Rose Tattoo," a sing-along that is already greeted like an old classic.

Although you want the show to last, at a Dropkick Murphys gig you look forward to the finish line a little more than usual. After revving up with "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," the band did its classic-rock thing by closing the set with a hearty "Takin' Care of Business," capped with "We're an American Band" and the hey-ho's of "Blitzkrieg Bop."

The girls already knew they had an open invitation on stage for "Kiss Me, I'm S---faced," sung by Casey with boozy swagger. The band was overrun with fans for a particularly wild encore set that rolled on with "Skinhead on the MBTA," AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and the punkest song of the night, "Citizen C.I.A."

Judging by recent set lists, this had to be one of the better climaxes on the tour, which goes to show that the musical bond is stronger than the sports rivalry.

The Murphys got solid support from Skinny Lister, the kind of British folk band that can play Warped Tour, and Lucero, a Southern-fried heartland band from Memphis led by rugged singer Ben Nichols.

The Set List

The Boys Are Back
Never Forget
Get Up
Black Velvet Band
Famous for Nothing
The Warrior's Code
Far Away Coast
Which Side Are You On?
3rd Man In
Finnegan's Wake
Good Rats
Barroom Hero
Jimmy Collins' Wake
Deeds Not Words
Prisoner's Song
Caught in a Jar
Fields of Athenry
Boys on the Docks
Rose Tattoo
Flannigan's Ball
Out of Our Heads
I'm Shipping Up to Boston
Takin' Care of Business/We're an American Band/Blitzkrieg Bop tease
Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced
Skinhead on the MBTA
Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)
Citizen C.I.A.


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