Juicy J is humble. He has ample reason to brag, but still, he's humble. In 2018, the Billboard charts and radio are filled with interpolations of, samples of, and homages to Three 6 Mafia, the Memphis group he helped found in 1991.
G-Eazy, A$AP Ferg, and Future all lifted lyrics from Juicy's "Slob On My Knob" to chart-topping success. Rae Sremmurd's "Powerglide" features a sample of "Side To Side." G Herbo, with the expert timing of DJ Bay Bay, introduced the "Who Run It" beat to a new generation. Now A$AP Rocky, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, Trippie Redd, and CupcakKe are updating the 1999 classic.
Somehow, Juicy knows all of this and stills comes off modest. Over the phone, his words tumble out with the same ferocity as his bars, but his energetic disbelief juxtaposes the delivery. In a conversation that most will read and never hear, he still comes with the same exuberance of a radio show. He plugs new artists like Hendry AZ, gets excited to describe how he's executive producing a new $uicideboy$ album, and shares that his new production for Project Pat sounds like '90s Juicy.
On Monday (April 9), Juicy updated "Who Run It" with a new freestyle, which is hilarious considering two things. First, the Delfonics-sampling track still sounds so current that it doesn't need a facelift. Second, the Juicy of 2018 sounds as fresh as the Juicy of 1999.
In an interview with MTV News, Juicy discusses the reception of "Who Run It," its iconic music video, and how it feels to know that Three 6 Mafia is arguably more relevant in 2018 than they were in 1999.
MTV News: How has it felt to see the reception to "Who Run It" almost 19 years later?
Juicy J: Man, it's amazing. I always figured that the music would be bigger than what we thought when we was doing it back in the day, cause it was so different. Our style is different. Our sound of music is different. The way we make beats is different. And I always just felt that it would impact sometime. Back in the day, we was underground music. It was only a certain amount of people heard it. A lot of the songs that people are discovering now, nobody had never heard of those songs.
I always felt like the music was bigger than what we was making. We making the music, but I felt like it was going to be something bigger than what we thought. And here it is. Now 20 years later you see everything reocurring, "Slob On My Knob," "Chickenhead," "Who Run It," "Late Nite Tip."
MTV News: Did you guys envision that type of longevity?
Juicy: It's such a blessing. Coming from a little underground group from Memphis, Tennessee and then winning an Academy Award, selling millions of records, performing at the Academy Awards, we won an American Music Award, I mean, like, an MTV Award. It's such a blessing. It's just incredible. The music is classic.
MTV News: Have you seen G Herbo's original freestyle that started this whole new wave?
Juicy: I saw it. Shouts out to G Herbo. Shouts out to Hollyhood Bay Bay. That's my dawg. That's the DJ that pulled the beat up. He pulled the beat up and Herb just killed it. Shout out Trippie Redd and Lil Yachty, A$AP Rocky, you know, everybody that's paying homage. I seen that flow. I was like, wow.
MTV News: So far who do you feel has done the beat justice?
Juicy: Man, I think everyone did their thing. Everybody has their own style. The way they do their music. I enjoyed them all.
It just feels good to see these youngins pull that instrumental up and just rip it like that. That's a good feeling, man, that this music is timeless. It's classic. Three 6 Mafia's music will never die.
MTV News: Do you remember what is was like making that song back then?
Juicy: Man, when we made our songs, we used to get high and go into the studio and just turn up. [laughs] You know what I'm saying. I remember the video and everything too. Man, we was just crunk, drunk. You know what I'm saying? High as hell. High as hell in the studio. High as hell in the video.
MTV News: That video was iconic. What do you remember about that day?
Juicy: Man, I remember we was hanging out the car. I thought I was gonna fall off the car and shit. The way we was sitting on that car. It was a truck, riding down the street in this truck, and we was doing this action scene. I thought we was going to fall off that motherfucker, man.
That was a crazy video and it was all underground. All this stuff was underground, you know? We made amazing music that was straight underground. We didn't get much radio play back in the day. We didn't get a lot of radio play. Nothing like that. Just to see the impact on it now is just amazing.