Good googly moogly Project Pat loves New York City. Unlike some Southern acts — namely Lil Wayne and Riff Raff — who have expressed a disdain for NYC, the hood renowned Mista Don’t Play is not among their ranks. That’s why the original Three 6 Mafia man finds himself on the island of Manhattan in the dead of the winter giving his fans a healthy fix of that Cheez N Dope. We caught up with the the Pat about what he, Juicy J, and the rest of the members of Three 6 have been up to of late. Vintage Pat, he had a lot to tell and didn’t hold back.
Some rappers have voiced their dislike for New York. How do you like NYC?
Man, I love New York. I always did. I like New Yorkers too. NYC man, that’s the home of the hustlers. There’s money to be made up here. You can’t hate that.
As a southerner the cold weather isn’t a buzz kill though?
The weather and shit man… that’s just a motivator. You gotta get your hustle up. Too much nice weather kills your hunger sometimes. It cost to live up [here]. You gotta make more money. New Yorkers been on they hustle.
A lot of heads don’t know this but Juicy J is your younger brother. Did you teach him to rap/produce and is your relationship with him still intact?
Yeah that’s right we’re a year apart. But nah no way… J always was into rapping. He influenced me to rap. He was making money off CDs and tapes and I jumped in to hustle some with him. He was the first person I made some rap dollars with and he’s still my favorite person to hustle with. Our relationship is intact. That’s my brother… we’re as close as ever.
Some [people] don’t know but Juicy was full backbone, brains, business, everything of Three 6. It shows, that’s why he still going. He has passion. He was up in the studio when everyone was high and unfocused. I was focused but I got locked up but I still sold a million records.
How’s it feel seeing him be such a success?
It’s a blessing seeing him do his thing. He’s on his hustle hard. I do things to stay afloat money wise. He’s different though. It’s his dream to be doing what he’s doing. For a long time that’s all he wanted to do. I ain’t really on it like him. Nobody is. If there’s money to get I’m gonna get it but he’s just on it.
What about you? You’re still going pretty strong yourself. What are you working on right now?
We’re working on Mista Don’t Play 2 and a Cheez & Dope 2 with DJ Smallz. Then we’re going on tour. We tour a lot. This go ’round it’s the Trippy Tour. It’s like a rebirth. We doin’ it all over again. Just staying active and hustling.
See also: Live: At Westway, Three 6 Mafia Turn a Former Strip Club Into a Fight Club
My favorite one of your songs is “Raised In The Projects.” What were your projects called and what was the most important thing you learned growing up there?
Cypress Gardens. Mainly it just kept me motivated to escape poverty. And once you escape it to stay good. When you look back and see how far you’ve come and say “I could never go back to that struggle,” it keeps you humble and hungry so it keeps you motivated to be on your business.
Can you recount some memories of growing up in the projects?
Junkies used to be knocking on me and Juicy’s bedroom window all night. This guy who lived near us would hustle dope. We caught on to what he was doing. As soon as he would fall off and have no re up they’d be knocking on my window. My moms would be like, “Why people comin’ to the window all hours of the night?” Thing is we didn’t have that much work. We were just kids really. The junkies would get mad though. Like, “We need that!” I remember some junkies broke the window and it was cold as shit in our room for awhile. My moms would think they was trying to break in so she put bars on all the windows. Actually, that’s where the song “Burglar Bars” came from.
Which one of your albums is your favorite?
Mista Don’t Play is definitely my favorite.
Because it sold a million [laughs].
How did going platinum change your life?
Just meant more money upfront which allowed me to buy the house I’m in right this second. I made a lot of money of [that album]. Crazy thing is I was locked up when it came out in 2001. Seven months later it was platinum. When I got out it was over a million copies sold and made Top 5 in the Top 200 on Billboard.
What were some other life altering factors in your life?
My three boys. I can’t let them go the route I went. So I gotta be cooler than their friends. So they know, “My daddy is what’s cool.” I can tell them whats cool because I always know about the the stuff they on as far as styles and slang before them.
When they get around me they see I’m doing it but it takes work. I make sure they understand the work ethic it takes, not just the cool stuff. I tell them they gotta do their school work so they can own a label and not be just a rapper. I encourage them to work your plan and it helps them seeing a success story. Lot of black dudes ain’t got no fathers. That’s a one way route to jail, gangs or just living broke or out here being a junkie. Having a daddy makes a big difference.
How come we haven’t seen a Three 6 Mafia album in so long? What’s up with Paul?
Paul doing his thing. He ain’t on it like Juicy but he do his thing. The whole situation was business. Some other people got false feelings about somethings but the majority of Three 6 left on they own. It wasn’t about money it was about they wanted to be bigger than the business. Drugs played into it, too. Dudes lost money over they drug use, they get mad, get to making excuses… They lost out. So they pointing fingers at Juicy J. But Juicy made them niggas millionaires at one point in their lives but they lost focus. Salute to all of them though. They just need a song and you can pop back out. Just get your song. This the game we in. You can point fingers and cry or go rob a bank and get money since you rapping like you street. We don’t take nothing lightly with money on the table. We’re not dozing. Nah, we finna stay focused. Not trying to be pointing fingers. We got bills to pay. Got car notes, house notes, hoe notes…
Yeah, hoe notes.
Project Pat performs tomorrow night at Santos Party House, 2/26
Get tickets here: electriccircus.splashthat.com