Through rain, sleet, or the COVID-19 pandemic, the hustle never stopped for the legendary Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia. While most of the music industry’s been shut down, the Oscar award-winning rapper/producer released his fifth studio album “The Hustle Continues” after launching his signature cannabis brand Asterisk with entrepreneur Gary Vanynerchuck’s (Gary Vee) Green Street Agency. Even with the money moves, quarantining at home allowed him some much-needed rest and brought him closer to his family.
“Home’s been good, it’s something I needed. Spending time with my family, I think that’s the most important thing in the world. Being with the kids, be with your mom, whoever, I think that’s what it’s all about. I feel good seeing them every day. I’mma always get bags but real life comes first. God, real life, then the money stuff.” he said as he was handling his 2-year-old daughter, Kamai Houston, in Los Angeles.
Still, the man born as Jordan Houston is staying trippy while expanding his smoked-out empire through music and marijuana. I caught up with him over the phone as we talked about the new album, his Asterisk brand, whether he’d smoke a strand from Oprah or Whoopi Goldberg, and the 20th anniversary of Three 6 Mafia’s groundbreaking “Sixty, Six, Sixty-One: When the Smoke Clears.”
How were you able to put together your album in light of the global pandemic?
Well, a lot of the songs with the features I had already done a year ago. Not all of them, but some of them. And then some of them I got earlier this year and in the beginning of the year before the pandemic. Only thing I had to do was just—since I produced the whole album I changed up a lot of the beats and I kept doing that.
Has the pandemic affected the way you have smoke sessions?
I’m still doing my thing. I be smoking, drinking water, taking vitamins, trying to eat as healthy as I can. I done switched up a lot with my diet, switched up a lot of different things. You don’t want to be out here sick and shit. I’ve been doing a lot of good things with my immune system, things I haven’t done in a long time. I’m still smoking though, don’t get me wrong (laughs).
What are you smoking these days?
I got this strand called Wildflower, that’s what I’m smoking. It’s the best shit in the world. It’s selling out in dispensaries, we gotta get it into the other legal states, we’re going to start shipping it out to them. Me and Gary Vee.
How’d you all end up collaborating for this?
Gary Vee is a smart man and he’s very successful. And he’s cool, man. He’s got a good vibe about himself like a homie, a family member. So why not? Got a cool person with good intentions and he’s smart? Let’s do business.
Listening to Three 6 Mafia over the years, you all have rapped about having weed farms and pounds of it. Do you feel like Asterisk is the company you’ve envisioned for yourself back in ’95?
Oh yeah. I never thought there’d be a time I could sell weed legally. This is great, man. More states are opening up and weed’s becoming more legal. I think in the next two years it’s going to be legal everywhere in the world. This is a great business to be in right now. You see Jay-Z jumped in it? You can’t lose. Oprah’s got something she’s doing dealing with weed, Whoopi Goldberg, man this is it.
You can only pick one stand. Oprah or Whoopi Goldberg’s who would it be?
Probably Whoopi Goldberg’s (laughs). Whoopi Goldberg sounds like she’s got some really good weed over there.
Do you think she’s an Indica or Sativa type?
Whoopi Goldberg probably seems like a Sativa type person. Maybe. I met her a couple of times, she’s cool, she’s a good person. Really cool, down to earth.
So, what’s the future and long-term vision for your company?
Whew, I’m talking about a trillion-dollar company, man. That’s the way I look at it. I’m starting early and when you start early, things will look really good in the future. We’re constantly moving weed and selling out. We just got a good couple of strands we distributed in L.A. and they’ve been rolling. Every time I drop a new strand it always sells out, every time. I dropped two strands, Mystic Potion and Wildflower and so, yeah, it’s great.
Before the pandemic, we had a restaurant, which we’re still working on in Downtown L.A. where it’s like the Soho House of weed where you walk in, you can smoke weed, eat food, and stuff like that. That’s still going down, but this pandemic, everything’s closed and shut down so we—it’s gonna be back up and running, mane, I think things will get back right in 2021.
What other investments do you have right now?
I got investments in Epic games that produced Fortnite. I got an investment in Keurig so every time someone buys a Dr. Pepper or anything I get a check off that. I got a lot of other little stuff that people wouldn’t know that I invested in. I got a water called Zen water I invested in. Every time you drink Core Water, Juicy J is getting a check. Same thing with the filters.
This year is the 20th anniversary of Three 6 Mafia’s first platinum album, “Sixty, Six, Sixty One: When The Smoke Clears”. What were the weed sessions like back then and what going on that the younger fans might not know about?
Man, it was a lot going on. I’m not going to say who did what, I didn’t do it, but it was a lot of cocaine around, a lot of partying, alcohol, I was a heavy drinker back then. It was a lot of weed around, but we did a lot of partying, whew.
For most of the songs, I was soberer out of everybody when we did a lot of those albums because there was a lot going on in the studio. So many people would come in and out of the studio so somebody had to be standing at the door, turning folks around, making sure the shit was cool. When we recorded in the 90s, studio time was a lot more expensive back then. You could have lost $200, $300,000 on a few sessions. I was trying to be more focused than ever. I did what I did, but most of all those songs I even produced, I was sober. Amazing, right? I was making sure the artists were dealing with and a lot of ‘em…it was a lot of serious drugs going around. But we made classics! We overcame all the BS and the pain and we broke through and made classics.
What’s the next thing you see yourself venturing towards?
Movies. I want to score some movies, it’s time for me to score a movie. I wrote a song for a movie, but I want to score a whole movie. Rap is so big right now, we should be scoring movies. RZA does it, he’s doing good at it. We should have some more rappers and producers doing that. It’s a lot of good money and a lot of creation that could shock a person. Not just writing a song for a movie, but scoring a whole movie. And I’m willing to try anything because I can do anything. I’ll even score a Disney movie! I’m willing to try whatever they bring to me.