As the King of Memphis, DJ Paul's legacy of work will ensure that he will reign supreme as one of its most cherished hometown heroes. Since the '80's an insatiable hunger has propelled him to kill complacency and establish himself as a respected artist and entrepreneur. As a member of the illustrious Three 6 Mafia, he was instrumental in helping the group to win an Oscar for the infectious track "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." Regardless of his cache of credible accomplishments, the veteran entertainer remains accessible to his supporters on different social media sites like Instagram and Twitter.
These are his words:
Halloween is almost here, with that in mind your upcoming release Master of Evil,drops the day before on October 30. What should the day-one supporter expect from that project?
Since they [my fans] have been asking me to do that I took it back to a little more old school. It’s not all the way old school, but this album is all the dark sounds. Even the songs that ain’t darks songs that might be about a girl – or something else – it still got dark elements in the music. That’s one thing that I made sure that I did. I gave them almost the whole album, if not the whole album, of the dark music that they’ve been asking for.
With a title like Master of Evil you almost gotta do that. The dark sound and a lot of the subjects are kinda all over the place. They’re like some of the subjects off some of the old school Three 6 level. Then we got songs that are on the newer type-sh*t as well. You have to stay up to date with the slangs, and with what people are talking about, and what’s going on in the world. So, some of the subjects won’t all be old school; obviously, because that wouldn’t be a good idea.
One thing that’s different on this album is that I got more personal on some of it, because it’s been 25 years down the road now for us. A lot of sh*t’s done changed. A lot of people are dead and gone; for example, Lord Infamous, may he rest in peace. So, I got one song that’s dedicated to my old ‘hood in Memphis. It’s called “Black Haven.” So, it got a few songs on there that has personal pour out.
I did one cool thing with the album. I recorded the whole album then I put it on vinyl. Then I re-ran it through the system and remastered it like that. So, the whole album sounds like an old record.
You’ve got me smiling. It’s nice to hear that our MCs trust us enough to share in-depth parts of your life. That’s when we truly start to f**k with y’all.
Yeah, on this album versus any of our old albums [from] back in the day, we would have songs talking about ‘Yeah, I walked up and knocked somebody ass out; or popped somebody’s trunk – or whatever, whatever, whatever – we just rapped. They were stories that were like a movie. With this album, I went more into true events of stuff that we did when we was bad, or whatever. You know, people wasn’t getting killed and there wasn’t a serial killer situation, you know. It’s more true stories versus just picking up the pen and just writing 12 to 16 lines about anything.
Your art has allowed you to realize the American dream. You’ve gone from the ‘hood to Hollywood. How have you learned to pay homage to where you came from without exploiting; or, ultimately mocking your former experiences?
Basically, I just tell it like it is. I just keep it 100 with the fans. I don’t overdo it; some kids overdo it. That makes me think that they really ain’t real with it. I don’t do that. If you see me walking down the street, or whatever, in a restroom, or in a store or wherever; you’ll catch me with like a jogging suit on; or something or a big ass shirt. I’m laid back and chill with it.
Some rappers that you see walking around they’ll have on 100 chains and 100 bandanas. They have all this sh*t. They’re all gang-banged and jewelryed out. To me, that looks like they’re trying to portray a certain image. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what they’re into. That’s cool when you’re on stage and all that; or, if you’re doing interviews or stuff like that. But everyday walking down the street, that kinda makes it look like you’re trying to talk somebody into something.
I’ll just tell them what the story is and they can take it or leave it. All these years, they took it because they believe it. They can tell that it’s the truth. Like they say, real recognize real.
You’ve invested your life into your lyrics and have been handsomely rewarded; from Three 6 Mafia to Da Mafia 6ix you’ve earned the type of longevity that’s allowed you to embrace other musical genres. What Hip-Hop elements are you able to bring to the EDM world, and which elements from the EDM world do you bring back to Hip-Hop?
Of course, we started off with the “Versus.” When we first did the “Feel It” song back in 2008, or whatever, which is probably one of the first EDM Rap songs; we did it. It was Three 6 Mafia and DJ Tiesto. That was the lyrics. Later on, once I got into the production-side, I brought the Hip-Hop sound. So, you know, some of the drums and this and that. And a little more aggression in the lyrics-side. On the flipside, with the EDM what I’m bringing to the Hip-Hop, I just kinda took some of their mixing and their editing that they do that I like.
I brought it back and incorporated it into some of mine. I like how they play with their sounds. Back then we didn’t do that in Hip-Hop. You hear more people doing it now, because pretty much everything is made with computers these days. Back in the day, it was just a couple of drum machines and a record player, and a keyboard if we had it. Now with everything being in computers you can play around and you can do a little more stuff. The little kids – the producers these days – they saw a lot of the stuff that I was doing. A lot of them follow my lead on the production or the Dubstep beat. So, you see more of them doing it now.
Is there anyone that you haven’t worked with that you would still like to collaborate?
There’s a lot of guys out there that I’d like to, but I would just have to think of somebody who’s been around for awhile. I would probably say, Snoop.
In the spirit of Lord Infamous, will there ever be a complete reconciliation of the former members of Three 6 Mafia?
I don’t know, man; I don’t know. It would be hard to do. It would be real hard to do, but you can’t have it all—
Even if y’all worked remotely and the different personalities weren’t together in the same studio?
That would be easier; but, it would still be a little hard. These days everybody’s style has changed so much. I don’t think that everybody would agree on the style of the songs that would be chosen.
Is Three 6 still family?
Everybody is still cool. A lot of people haven’t talked to each other in a long time. Now I can’t speak for everybody, but I can say that I’m still cool with everybody. I still talk to J [Juicy J], I still talk to Koop [Koopsta Knicca], I talk to [Gangsta] Boo here and there, and I still talk to Crunchy [Black]. A lot of those guys haven’t talked in years. So, I can’t say what their situation would be like.
Well, I’m going to keep hope alive!
I think the whole world is keeping hope alive. [chuckles]
Hell yeah, but until the next time, what would you like to share with AllHipHop?
Make sure you check out this album. On a good side, it’s like a one of the most different albums that I’ve ever did in my career. It’s different with the whole record alone. As far as the Three 6 sound, I think the solid Three 6, hardcore fans they will surely love it. There’s plenty on there for them. The new fans will love it, because I put stuff on there for them, as well the elements from the old. So, they’ll love it for that. Look out for it on October 30th.
On another note, if you haven’t make sure y’all check out this DJPaulBBQ.com. Check out some of the recipes and the cooking videos. It’s going down, man. You might learn something. You can learn how to get a girl or two. All men want to eat, and all women want to eat; so, that’s a key to a heart. It’s through the stomach.