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DJ Paul on why Three 6 Mafia is forever and the origin of the #WhoRunIt Challenge

Ralph Bristout

 // Apr 11, 2018

Three 6 Mafia is forever.

Case in point: "Who Run It," a song produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J 19 years ago, is running rap in 2018. Sparked by a now classic freestyle from G Herbo, who received a shoutout from Drake for the rendition, the record has engulfed the rap scene like a hurricane as A$AP Rocky, Trippie Redd, Lil Yachty, and 21 Savage have all taken their own shot at the beat.

Three 6 Mafia - Who Run It (Dirty) (Official Video)
Alex Lenada

If it isn't "Who Run It," or their sprinkle on J. Cole's "No Role Modelz," G-Eazy's "No Limit" and A$AP Ferg's "Plain Jane" to name a few, the measuring stick of the Memphis group's enduring influence stretches to the current records in the top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100. Rae Sremmurd's bouncy SR3MM single "Powerglide," which rose to No. 34 on the chart this week, is a rendition of Three 6's 2006 hit "Side to Side", while Drake and BlocBoy JB's "Look Alive," which interpolates Project Pat's 1999 track "Out There (Blunt To My Lips)," sits at No. 5. Last week, Cardi B dropped off her solid debut Invasion of Privacy and within the 13-song album is "Bickenhead," a southern fried earworm that pays homage to Project Pat's "Chickenhead."

Speaking on the popular demand of his signature sound with Three 6 Mafia, DJ Paul told REVOLT TV that it's all a "blessing." In fact, it's such a "blessing" that, according to Paul, requests for Three 6 Mafia samples has led to his own lawyer hiring not one, but two paralegals to help expedite the clearing process. "We [clearing] like three samples a week, sometimes a day," he said.

DJ Paul spoke to REVOLT TV about "Powerglide," which he has since been updated with its own remix (Paul also produced the original record), Three 6 Mafia's influence, and a whole lot more.

Rae Sremmurd Powerglide DJ Paul Remix (Unofficial) Ft. DJ Paul K.O.M. & Crunchy Black
DJ Paul KOM TV

So how did the "Powerglide" collaboration with Rae Sremmurd come together?

So a friend of mine named Mally Mall, he hooked it up. Swae Lee was living across the street from him. Swae Lee would come over the house all the time when we'd be over there barbecuing and hanging out. And [they're] from where I'm from, almost. They're from Mississippi, they down the road from Memphis, which is where we from. My boy Computer, who was in "Adventures In Hollyhood," he know Swae Lee's family and all of them too. So when I met Swae Lee, he was like "yeah we need to do something, just let Mally Mall know." So, Mally Mall hooked it up and made the connection. We actually did more than ["Powerglide"]. We got some more stuff that's probably going to come out in the future, but between Swae Lee and French Montana, we set up one night and did like eight songs that I produced for them. It's like Swae Lee and French Montana, I think French got to get one of them.

And you were originally on "Powerglide," correct?

I was one of the producers on the original "Powerglide," along with Mally Mall and Mike WiLL Made It, and I had the remix beat, which was originally going to be the beat from the one that [originally] came out. But they ended up not getting it off in time, so they used the original version, which is the one that came out. So, it was so hard and we all loved it, so I was like I should just put this out as the unofficial remix. It's dope and people love the hell out of it.

Speaking of people loving the "hell out of it," this "Who Run It" Challenge. Let's talk about that. Thoughts? What's your reaction to this now popular series?

I love it. I'll tell you a funny story about that whole "Who Run It" Challenge. It goes back 11 years ago. So, 11 years ago we was filming the "Adventures In Hollyhood" television show on MTV. Bay Bay, the DJ from Dallas, came by our house when we were doing a listening party for some DJs. Me and Juicy started saying "A Bay Bay" as a joke and he ended up getting an artist (Hurricane Chris) and made that song and it became a hit. So we kind of indirectly wrote that song [Laughs]. If you go to his Instagram page, he calls himself HollyhoodBayBay. So it was his show that G Herbo was on when he did the freestyle that ended up going viral. If I had to take a guess, I bet you it was probably Bay Bay's idea to play that instrumental for G Herbo to freestyle over.

Talk about full circle.

Man, like a motherfucker. [Laughs]

Cardi B's "Bickenhead" is another record that pays homage to the Three 6 Mafia legacy.

Yeah, they put that out fast [Laughs]. They called me just to clear the sample, maybe like last week and then I looked, it was out [Laughs]. I mean I was happy as hell. We clearing so many samples right now, that's another thing I haven't told anybody yet, we clearing so many samples now that my lawyer had to hire two extra paralegals to come in, just to help us get all of it done fast enough. So we clear like three samples a week, sometimes I would do three in a day. It's a lot of songs coming out that's sampling Three 6 Mafia. Man, I'm like this is making me feel old out of this motherfucker. [Laughs]

When you get this new generation of artists sampling your records, that's got to be a rewarding experience.

It's a good thing 'cause I went from clearing samples when I was young to [now] clearing [our own] samples. I'm like damn you got me feeling like The O'Jays around this motherfucker. [Laughs]. But it's a true blessing. We might end up going down in history as the most sampled hip-hop group in the world, and probably among musicians outside of James Brown. I like it. We call it the "Mailbox Money."

When you worked on these records back then, did you have any thought or inkling that they would go stand the test of time the way it has?

Hell nah. Nah, I didn't. You wanna hear something funny? You know the first person that ever cleared a sample from us? This was a long time ago. This was in the '90s. Jermaine Dupri calls me and cleared a sample from me for a Bass All-Stars CD or something he brought out. You know who called me to clear the sample? Lil Jon. Lil Jon worked for him at So So Def [at the time]. [Laughs] Lil Jon had called me and Jermaine Dupri cleared a sample from me for a song that we had on either Chapter 1: The End or Chapter 2: World Domination. One of those albums. He immediately called us like a year later to clear the sample, I was like, "Damn, I don't even know how to do this."

Three 6 Mafia - Late Nite Tip
Three6MafiaVEVO

And then for a long time, we didn't get calls like that. I think two or three years ago was one of the biggest ones that we cleared, when I started to see them come, it was J. Cole's "No Role Modelz." I wrote that song ("Don't Save Her") for Project Pat and they played the shit out of that on the radio. I think I saw one for Trey Songz ("Late Night"), then I started seeing them all over the place. Then they started coming last year, but this year it's on fire. Three 6 Mafia samples now is like if they made a new pair of Jordan sneaks with the Yeezys. [Laughs] It's like a delicacy or some shit.

What is it about the sound that continues to cultivate a following?

Probably because the music was so ahead of its time. It was before its time, I would say. And we always made a lot of scary music. I think everybody has a little horror side in them, and I think it's the little evil in the music that's always attracted people. Because any kind of person can roll with it. It was always something on the album for everybody. We made sure there was strip club songs, a song for trappers, a laid back feel good song, we always had something for everyone and I think that's what it was. Our music has influenced so many people like even other genres like EDM and trap EDM, that came from us.

What's next on DJ Paul's release plate?

I got a lot of stuff, I got my nephews Da Seed of 6ix dropping a single this week. I got a bunch of collaboration albums that I'm dropping this year. I got one with Riff Raff. I got one with a pop group they're like an electro pop group. I got one with Jon Connor. I got a bunch of stuff I'm putting out on Yelawolf's new music. I got a lot of stuff.

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