Leaning with Juicy J

Drinking Moët and staying trippy with Memphis rapper and twerk scholarship donor Juicy J

Music Q+A
Juicy J
John Clayton Lee

Taken from the October issue of Dazed & Confused

Juicy J knows how to get loose. Since co-founding Three 6 Mafia in 1991, the Memphis rapper’s woozy tales of slo-mo life have become part of modern hip hop folklore – he’s rarely seen without a bong, a zip or a muddy cup overflowing with sizzurp. Solo since 2009, his partnership with Wiz Khalifa has spawned a career revival, introducing a whole new audience of kids to the joys of getting lean at all times. To celebrate his new album, Stay Trippy, we invited him to an artist’s studio in the LES to talk about his wavy manifesto and get a bit tipsy on some Moët rosé champagne. It was Juicy J’s first day back at work after a vacation, but he didn’t seem to mind that we were sippin’ tepid bubbles in a spot that resembled a smack pad from the early 90s, complete with a collection of vintage German jazz mags.

Dazed Digital: Sorry, all we have is plastic cups to drink out of.

Juicy J: It’s all good. I’m just glad to get a drink. I was on that plane and took a couple Xanax to go to sleep, and you know how that stuff works. You wake up all Xanied out, and then 
I get rushed to this spot and I’m half asleep. This champagne is all that’s keeping me going.

DD: Would you rather be drinking some lean?

Juicy J: I can’t. I’m all out. I’ve been on the road too long. And I don’t like to mix that lean with Xanax. That shit will put you out.

DD: What is your classic recipe for a double cup of lean?

Juicy J: You just mix up some codeine with Sprite and throw in a Jolly Rancher. Taste like candy. Smoke a bit of weed with that and you’ll get real trippy, man.

DD: So ‘trippy’ is just another word for really fucked up? 

Juicy J: Trippy is getting high. Smoking weed and sipping whatever. Just getting yourself to a trippy state, you know? You can be trippy and not be high – I can’t, but some people can. You can just be a really happy motherfucker and be trippy. But some lean and weed will get you there, for sure.

I get trippy to get high and do what I want to do. If you listen to someone else to tell you what to do, you stupid

DD: You’ve really owned the phrase ‘stay trippy’.

Juicy J: Not really. Trippy is an old-school world that came out of the 60s. Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, they were all trippy as hell. I listened to a lot of that music coming up in Memphis. People have been getting trippy forever, man. That’s why I named my album Stay Trippy. I was sitting on the couch one day, smoking that weed, and decided to bring this word back.

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Photography by John Clayton Lee

DD: You think Hendrix drank lean?

Juicy J: Ha. I don’t know. Maybe. That shit has been going on since the 60s for sure. Probably earlier than that. I know the first time I had some was way back in the day in Houston, Texas, playing with Three 6 Mafia. We been drinking ever since. I sip it and smoke some weed. Chill out and write songs.

DD: Do you feel like your music encourages your fans to get trippy?

Juicy J: Kids been getting high before I was rapping, and they going to get high after I’m gone. They been doing it forever. It’s not my responsibility. I get trippy to get high and do what I want to do. If you listen to someone else to tell you what to do, you stupid. Before I said anything about ‘A Zip and a Double Cup’, my fans were sipping and smoking. You just got to know your limits. Don’t kill yourself. Save some of that lean for a rainy day, or share some with your friends.

DD: Party responsibly.

Juicy J: Yeah. I get fucked up and I drink, but I handle my business. I’m an OG, and I know my limits. But I’m one of the smart ones. They’re going to call me a genius one day. I don’t let drugs run my life: I run my life. I pop a Xanax when I wanna pop a Xanax. But it’s on my terms.

DD: So we’re never going to see you on a celebrity rehab show?

Juicy J: Hell no. The only time you will see me on a rehab show is if I overdose on money.

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Photography by John Clayton Lee

DD: Ever get trippy on psychedelics?

Juicy J: One time, I was hanging out at a place kind of like this, a real grimy looking spot but with way more girls. We were just chillin’ and drinkin’. Then this girl tells me to open my mouth and pops a piece of chocolate in there. I didn’t know what it was, but it tasted real nasty. I chewed it up, and soon enough I was high as fuck.

DD: Mushrooms?

Juicy J: Yeah. It was fucking crazy. I started seeing shit. The walls were moving, and I saw these caterpillars crawling all around. I was freaking out. Like, what the fuck is this shit? Then I smoked some weed and chilled out a bit. After a couple hours I got myself outta that situation and drove home.

DD: Sounds like a decent party.

Juicy J: Man, if you want a party, you need to check out KOD in Miami. That’s a story to tell the kids. That joint is turned up.

The only time you will see me on a rehab show is if I overdose on money

DD: Is that a strip club?

Juicy J: Yeah. Best strip club in the world. It’s like a museum of strippers. They everywhere. It’s like a school for strippers. They got all kinds: whites, blacks, ratchet, un-ratchet. I was in there, high as fuck the other night. Still trying to figure out what happened. Only clues I’ve got are all these photos some stripper chick took of me and posted online. She was on Twitter like a motherfucker, and I don’t remember any of it.

DD: You spend a lot of time in strip clubs?

Juicy J: A bit. I’m thinking about opening up my own spot, here in New York. I’ll bring in the best girls from all over. I think it would do really well.

DD: Your track ‘Bandz a Make Her Dance’ is a strip-club anthem.

Juicy J: Ha! You think? I recorded that track on a $100 microphone in a hotel room in DC. I was just smoking some weed and got that hook in my head. Called up my boy across the street and told him to come over and record. Now it’s a platinum song. Crazy.

DD: The new album is a mix of Three 6 Mafia-style tracks and club-friendly bangers. Are you writing less about street life and more about strip clubs and champagne?

Juicy J: I still rap about the struggle. I rap about Memphis and what a dangerous spot that is. But at the end of the day, this is 2013 – nobody wants to talk about the hood. If you’re broke, you don’t want to rap about being broke, you gonna rap about hustling and getting that bread. It’s just what’s going on right now. People want to rap about having a good time. About getting trippy.

DD: You write about whatever your current situation is?

Juicy J: Right. I don’t live in the hood any more. I’m actually having a good time. I’m kicking it. Taking some Xanax, smoking some weed, heading to the strip club – that’s my life now, so I’m going to rap about it.

DD: You plan on raising a family?

Juicy J: I don’t really know. Right now? No. I’m just raising money. Dead presidents are my relatives.

DD: Your assistant just rolled a pretty massive joint. You want to wrap up this interview?

Juicy J: For sure. Stay trippy, mane.

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