Published Mar 21, 2018Before cementing himself in rap lore through solo work and as a member of Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J began his career as DJing in Memphis as a teenager. Now, the rapper has shared the unusual way he learned the tricks necessary to work the decks, showing those starting out that isn't about the equipment you have, so much as how you use it.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, the rap vet was asked about the "murky, waterlogged, cassette sound" of his earlier work. After explaining how he had used a 4-track tape recorder to track vocals and drums for his early releases, he then recalled how he honed his DJing skills with toy turntable and some MacGyver-esque ingenuity:
You know, when I first started DJing, when I first started learning how to scratch and mix, I used to use ... I used to have a bread wrapper. You ever seen like a bread wrapper, you know, like on the Wonder Bread? You'd get the [twist tie] and it's in metal. That was for my needle, because I didn't have no money to get a needle, so I took a bread wrapper and made a needle out of it. … I had a Fisher Price turntable somebody gave me and I just kind of made a needle out of the metal part. I … bended it and bended it until … I broke a piece off and I made a little small needle out of it. … I had a couple of old records, and that's how I learned how to scratch. It's crazy, right?
Elsewhere in the interview, Juicy talks about the resurgent popularity of the delightfully crude "Slob on My Knob," a song of his that is experiencing a resurgence through interpolation on singles from stars like A$AP Ferg, G-Eazy and Future. Written and recorded with a 4-track recorder when he was in 11th grade, the song was first a hit with his club audience:
I was DJing at this club every Sunday night. The club was called Excalibur. I played the song one time, I came back the next week and I was – you know, back in the day they had crates of records. I walked into the club, and loading my crates of records up, getting ready to DJ. And people was coming in the club and they was like, "Yo, yo, yo, Juicy, man, play that song you played last week!" And I was like, "What? What song?" They were like, "Slob on the Knob!' I was like, "You like that shit?" They were like, "Yeah, man. We love that shit." So, I played it for the second time in the club and the whole club went crazy that night. I had to play it like five times that night.
The song's popularity hit home for Juicy when he left the United States on tour and saw the impact overseas firsthand:
I went to Japan. It was like around 2008, and I did the song, and … they went nuts. I was like, "Maaan ... This song probably gonna be around forever." I know people in the States know about the song, but I was just, like, way over in Japan they know the words to "Slob on the Knob." It just fucked me up, you know what I'm saying? I'm in Japan and people knowin' who I am. I was walking down the street to go into McDonalds, and they walked up to me like, "Yo, Juicy J!" And I was like, "Y'all know who I am? Damn."
Juicy J recently appeared on Rae Sremmurd's single "Powerglide," while also making a cameo in the song's video. He released his Rubba Band Business LP late last year, following it up with the surprise mixtape Shutdafukup in January.
You can read the rapper's entire conversation with Rolling Stone here. Watch a clip of Juicy J's scratching skill in action below.