By Brian Ives
Welcome to Radio Feedback, Radio.com’s weekly feature where we ask artists to wax nostalgic on the first time they heard themselves on the radio.
Seventeen years, one Academy Award and several torn up clubs ago, Jordan Michael Houston, better known as Juicy J was a member of Three 6 Mafia, and had yet to make a splash on the national hip-hop scene. In fact, when they started out, they were part of the now- forgotten “horrorcore” subgenre that also included Gravediggaz and Flatlinerz. “Three 6” = 666: get it?
“Tear Da Club Up” was their first song that got played on the radio, but it’s not the version that you might remember from 1997. Instead, it’s the original version of the song from 1995 that’s more “Murder Was The Case” than “Get Crunk.” But Juicy J told Radio.com that he remembers hearing it on the radio vividly: “I would have been like 20, 21 years old, I heard it on the radio in Memphis Tennessee. I went crazy! I got so excited, I was jumpin’ around, I called my mom. ‘Yo, I’m on the radio! I’m on the radio!'”
He said that it still took a long time before Three 6 would be heavy hitters: “It took a while, the song got hot then it got in Atlanta, then it got hot in Dallas, then it got hot in Houston, and then maybe like 9 months later we signed a big record deal.”
That deal, with Relativity Records, would yield the 1997 album, Chapter 2: World Domination, which saw them move away from the horror core sound, notably with the update of “Tear Da Club Up.”
“When I go into the studio I don’t think to make a song that’s going to blow up all over the world, I’m just making a great record,” he says of “Tear Da Club Up.” “When we made this record called ‘Stay Fly’ – I don’t know if you remember that, ‘Stay fly-y –y-y,’ it just blew up, and it took us to another level. And here we are! We won an Academy Award a few years later!” That, of course, was in 2006, for “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp,” from Hustle And Flow.
These days, Juicy J is a solo artist (other former members of Three 6 Mafia are currently recording as Da Mafia 6ix), recently performing on the GRAMMYS as Katy Perry’s featured guest; he’s planning on releasing his next album, The Hustle Continues, later this year.