During an interview with Arena.com, DJ Paul announced a new release date for Da Mafia 6ix’s upcoming album “Watch What U Wish.” The new release date is March 3, 2015.
Watch What U Wish will feature Lord Infamous, Crunchy Black, Koopsta Knicca, La Chat, Fiend and more. You can read the full DJ Paul interview below.
DJ Paul admits with a laugh that he’s a bit of a pack-rat. Up until recently, he had the same 4-track recorder he used to record music with leading up to the release of Three 6 Mafia’s 1995 debut Mystic Stylez. It wasn’t until this past year that he was compelled to replace the machine, scoping one out on Ebay after his old one broke while revisiting more than 20-year-old vocals recorded by his recently deceased brother Lord Infamous. Still, the fact that he’s even got those original 4-track recordings — and many of the masters from a more than two decades long career — is a testament to his careful approach.
Since the inception of Da Mafia 6ix,a second-act for one of hip-hop’s most iconic southern groups, the collective has been whittled down to a trio. Just over a year ago, Paul’s brother and original group co-founder, Lord Infamous, suddenly passed away at the age of 40. Then, in May, Paul announced that group member Gangsta Boo had gone solo before the release of their latest mixtape.
Originally, Da Mafia 6ix, which now is made of DJ Paul himself, Koopsta Knicca, and Crunchy Black, planned to release their album on Halloween, a fitting tribute to their horrorcore roots. Instead, the album was delayed but Paul kept true to his word and gave fans another mixtape in the meantime.
Now, speaking with Arena, Paul speaks on the latest group mixtape, announces the release date for the new album calledWatch What U Wish, and reflects on an industry full of as many rappers as fans.
Arena: Now that you’re home, is this downtime or are you working on the album?
DJ Paul: I’m working on the album. You know, we just got off this tour. Did a few dates. Now working on the album and some remixes.
Arena: Earlier this year, you had planned on releasing the album this Halloween, and then you ended up releasing the mixtape to tide fans over. What’s the reception from the mixtape been like?
DJ Paul: Oh man, they love it. One of the main things they loved on that was how I had Lord Infamous still on there, and how we maintain the old sound, the horrorcore. They love how I brought back one of my old flows on this Hear Sum Evil intro song. I used an old DJ Paul flow, what they call ‘Da Killaman’ flow ’cause that was my name back then. That video drops tomorrow. That’s the song with the original flow on it. Everybody I talked to so far loved the mixtape man. They ready for that album.
Arena: I wanted to ask about Lord Infamous and his vocals being used on the album. You just mentioned that the fans appreciated hearing him on the mixtape. How are you working with his vocals? What kind of material do you have to work with?
DJ Paul: Well, there’s two ways I did it. One, he recorded a lot of songs when we originally went in the studio and did the 6ix Commandments mixtape, so we was recording stuff for the album as well as the mixtape. He recorded a lot of stuff that I had on there, so I’m using some of those vocals ’cause they’re still the original songs that he recorded on. But, I also did something real cool where I went back and took a lot of his super old vocals from like 4-track tapes, like songs that we recorded when was in high-school and before Mystic Stylez and all of that stuff. I took some of those vocals and re-EQ’ed them, made them sound cool, and put them on a couple songs. So people like that. That was real cool.
So what I did was I redid a song that me and him had a long [time] ago that was called “Liquor And Da Bud.” It was a hot song back in the day, we talking about the early ’90s. So I already did it and called it “Liquor And Da Drugz,” and I put his old verse from “Liquor And Da Bud” off the 4-track tape into the Pro Tools and re-EQ’ed it. Everybody liked it, they was like, “This cool as fuck.”
Arena: Did you have the foresight back then to hold on to those recordings? I know a lot of artists would have lost that stuff when their mom moved houses or something like that. How did you have that stuff around?
DJ Paul: Well, everybody that knows me — like family — knows that I’m a packrat. I don’t get rid of nothing. I still got toys from when I was a kid. So important stuff like that, I got all that. I got all our old masters from Three 6 Mafia to stuff before that, the 4-tracks. Only thing I had a problem with was I had to find another 4-track. I still had the same 4-track player from when I was a kid, from like 1989. But, when I was making the Volume 16, ’cause every now and then I re-release remastered versions of our old tapes, so I remastered my biggest tape, which was called Volume 16, everybody know about it, yellow tape.
Maybe like a year ago I remixed it, re-released it. When I was making it, soon as I put in like the fourth cassette tape to play, when I was getting ready to remaster, the 4-track snapped and just stopped playing. I was like, “Holy shit!” It stopped playing. So I found this place that could fix it, but he wanted like $400 to fix it. Then he said it’s gonna take like two or three months to get to it. He was the only person around that still works on cassette players. I was like, “Aw, that’s some bullshit.”
So I went on Ebay and saw one person that was selling the exact same 4-track player that I had. I was like, “Holy shit!” So I went on there and put a bid on it and nobody else bid back. He wanted like $30 for it. So I put in there like $31.50. A few days went by and I set my timer to wake me up the morning of the bid ending, and I looked and somebody had put in $32. They was trying to beat me right quick, over 50 cents. So I was like, “Holy shit.” I was like, “I can’t lose this. This is worth too much money.” I went in there and I put in $100. (Laughs) I went way up and the other bidder never went back after that. And then I got it. So once I got the 4-track I got all those vocals ’cause I still got every single tape.
Arena: So I guess fans can thank Ebay then for the Lord Infamous vocals on the album?
DJ Paul: Exactly. (Laughs) I’m a big Ebay customer, man. I be on Ebay at three or four in the morning.
Arena: Next year will be the 20th anniversary of actually, so maybe it’s fitting that the new album comes out next year. When are you planning on the release and what can fans expect?
DJ Paul: We gon’ bring it out on March 3rd. 3/3/15. Trying to figure out how to bring it out on the 6th, but it’s not on a Tuesday so I don’t know if we gon’ be able to make that happen. But definitely something will be coming out on March 3rd, 2015. It’ll be the album, Watch What U Wish. It’s gon’ be killer. It’s gon’ be better than all the mixtapes. It’s gon’ be great. They gon’ love it.
Arena: You mentioned maintaining that horrorcore sound. Where do you think that sound is at in 2014?
DJ Paul: Yeah, the whole album won’t be horrorcore because a lot of people [are] not into that. We still do it because that’s what we fans of. We love the scary music and our loyal fans do. So the loyal fans come first, and then everybody else comes second. We gotta do it for them. It won’t be [too] horrorcore’d out. It’ll be more like what we always do on Three 6 Mafia albums, ao it’ll be some songs on there about getting high, some songs about slangin, some songs about bangin’, some songs on there about women. The usual Three 6 subjects.
Arena: Another recent development since the last time we spoke was that Gangsta Boo parted ways with the group. You’ve spoken about that in other interviews and from everything I’ve read it seems like it was very amicable. Was that just artistic differences, her wanting to do her own thing?
DJ Paul: Well, basically what happens was, yeah, we just both kind of figured it would be best if we just separate. We still cool. I talked to her the other day. But it was just, Gangsta Boo had been with the group since 14 or 13 years ago or something. Just over the years, everybody just changed so much. So once we got back together, the group was cool, everybody was cool, everything was cool and everybody was in sync. But once we got on that tour bus and everybody started living together for like three months straight, man, that’ll run you crazy. We just saw that we was different from back in the days. It was just best that we let her do her solo thing and we continue the group with just the three of us.
Arena: To switch gears slightly and talk about the actual music industry. I wonder how you feel about the news that Billboard will soon account for album streams in their Top 200 charts? For you personally, on the business side, how have you encountered the streaming side of the industry these days?
DJ Paul: We still get paid off our digital stuff … it was back in the day, that first dude, Napster. He was killing everybody. Now with the company that the government made, it helps us get paid for the online stuff. What’s the name of the company? Soundexchange. Soundexchange was created by the government, and they help us and they pay us, not just off of sales, but different plays, streaming, and online stuff we wasn’t get paid off of at first … so that’s pretty cool.
Arena: I think you’re connecting with younger fans as well, so I wonder if that would have been even possible without the Internet and the streaming culture currently in place.
DJ Paul: You know what? The online, the way the industry is now, with all the social media, it makes it seem like it’s so easy and this and that. To be honest with you, it’s actually harder. It makes it harder on an entertainer than easier. It just seems easier ’cause it’s the way things are done. Back in the day, people thought a push-button phone was easier than a touch-screen phone, but now everybody loves touch screens. You just gotta roll with it or get rolled over.
People these days think it’s easy ’cause you could grab Twitter or Instagram and reach out to a million people with the push of a button real easy. But, to be honest with you, the industry was better when you had to buy advertisements in a magazine. Even though it was expensive, it cost a lot, but it just kept it better because it kept the ones out the way that didn’t need to be in the way. Now everybody is a musician, everybody is a singer. Now you don’t have nobody to sell records to because everybody is trying to sell a record. (Laughs) Everybody’s a rapper and a beatmaker these days because the drum machines these days make the beats for you.
Arena: Have you adopted newer technologies for your own production?
DJ Paul: Well the drum machines these days make the music for you so you don’t even have to make it, pretty much. But I’m still the old school. I still like using my old school [machines], that’s why my sound stays the same and the fans be like, “Oh, man, it sounds like the old shit. The bass hitting. The beat hitting. How you do that?” That’s ’cause I still use my old equipment. I got all the new drum machines and all that as well, but when I use it, I set mine up to work the old school way so I could keep it different from the new cats. I like a lot of the new cats out there but I just like the old school, funk sounds.