HOLLYWOOD — Awards shows can often be a hotbed for hip-hop beefs, but at Sunday night’s Oscars, one unexpected feud was quickly quashed: Three 6 Mafia won’t be trading blows with famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman’s posse anytime soon.
Host Jon Stewart had joked about a mock feud between the two camps, which staged polar-opposite performances over the course of the evening. But Three 6, exuberant after their surprise win, brushed off the joke and said they’d even be willing to collaborate with Perlman.
“Hey, let’s do it,” Three 6’s Juicy J joked in the one-on-one room after his group won the Oscar for best original song for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” “Where’s [Perlman] at? Do I gotta get branded?”
Sunday night’s win was monumental not just for the Memphis, Tennessee, ensemble but for hip-hop as a whole (see “Oscar Wrap-Up: A Best Picture Party Crasher, Virgin Winners … And A ’Pimp’ “ ). In the one-on-one room, it was obvious that many of the reporters who work for mainstream outlets had no idea who Three 6 were, but you’d better believe the group — which has a string of platinum and gold LPs and last year’s “Stay Fly” hit to its name — are on their radar now.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Juicy said about why he and his crew ran onstage. “I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t stay still. I just ran. I was gonna just start running all over. People would have thought the police would probably be chasing me or something.
“I was actually gonna clap for the winner, then go to my dressing room because I didn’t think we was gonna win,” continued Juicy, who founded Three 6 in 1995 with DJ Paul. “And when Queen Latifah opened up the envelope … I didn’t [write] an acceptance speech, that’s why I was like, ’Blah, blah, blah’ [at the podium].”
Truth be told, Juicy said he was probably the most nervous he’s even been.
“We were in the dressing room and they called us: ’Three 6 Mafia, 10 minutes. Three 6 Mafia, five minutes,’ ” Juicy said. “I walked up and I was relaxed, then I started getting a passing-out feeling. There was so much going on, I was so excited. You’re talking about the Oscars, billions of people. That’s all that was going through my head: ’Billions of people.’
“Then they said, ’Three 6, to the stage,’ ” he added. “When I got up there it was like I was in a boxing match or something. I was moving around and getting myself some heat, body heat. I peep up into the crowd and saw Jamie Foxx looking up smiling. I was like, ’Aww sh–, Jamie Foxx.’ It was like he was giving us props. When I saw Jamie Foxx doing that, my confidence went back up. After [the performance] I was planning on leaving and going to the bar — then bam, we won the Oscar.”
As for all the rumors involving Terrence Howard’s non-participation in the performance, Juicy says everything’s good between them.
“He didn’t want to perform on the show,” Juicy explained. “I really don’t know the reason. I’ve been hearing this and that. But I love Terrence Howard. I saw him at the Oscars luncheon and he said, ’Hey, I’m not performing but I want you guys to kill it.’ I think he wanted us to get more exposure. Since we been around so long, he probably thought we needed it more than him. If he did think that, he’s right.”
Three 6’s stage show was conceived by the Academy, but the group says it switched some of the “Pimp” lyrics to cut down on profanity.
“I had to,” Juice explained. “My mom was watching. I didn’t want to say any cuss words. My mom would have told me, ’I told, you boy …’ I would have redone the whole song if I had to [swear].”
During the acceptance speech DJ Paul shouted out George Clooney, whom he had met and chilled with at the Oscar luncheon. Paul says he was also hyped about meeting the L.A. Lakers’ #1 fan.
“Jack Nicholson was patting me on the back and I didn’t even know it,” Paul said. “He walked up and said, ’Good job.’ I turned around and was surprised.”
Juicy says his highlight encounter was his run-in with Vinnie Barbarino.
“He was walking down the hallway I was like, ’John! John Travolta!’ ” Juice remembered. “He was like, ’Hey!’ Then Dustin Hoffman too. Dustin Hoffman, he’s real short, he walked up, he was just smiling.”
As for those who scoffed that a record about pimps and ho’s would win an Oscar, DJ Paul only offered: “It’s all entertainment.”
“So what,” Juicy added. “Pimp this, pimp that. They chose the song because it was in the movie. It was so dramatic in that scene … That’s why we have Oscars in our hands … I’mma pray for those people.”
After the party Three 6 threw on their tuxes and hit the Governor’s Ball and Vanity Fair party — Oscars in hand (see “Ludacris Soaks Up Movie Magic, Lindsay Lohan Admires Reese At Oscar Parties” ).