Memphis native Jordan Houston, better known as producer and rapper Juicy J, knows he’s had an unusually huge career. “Rappers don’t really last this long,” he says. “Most careers might be two or three years, and that’s pretty much it. But I’m the Jay Z of the South.”
Most rappers also don’t have an Oscar. Juicy J won one in 2006 as a member of Three 6 Mafia for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from Hustle & Flow. That was the pinnacle, but also a turning point.
“We had hits [already], but we were still an underground group, so it was a gift and a curse,” he says. “We were doing so many shows and making so much money ... it kinda f*cked everything up. My brother Project Pat pulled me out of it, helped me [realize] it never goes away from the music. When I went solo, I told myself I’d never go back to losing that again.”
J released his debut solo album, Stay Trippy, in 2013 and just this month launched his Rubba Band Business tour, which will bring him to Brooklyn Bowl Friday night and to Light Nightclub for an after-show gig.
“I’ve actually had a spot in Vegas for a couple years,” he says. “It’s cheaper. You can live like a king. It’s a party city, but you can chill out if you want, or you can turn up 24 hours a day. You can wake up at 5 a.m. and go to a club. That’s the first step to heaven.”
J, who has already teamed with Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake, says he’d like to collaborate with Eminem, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Adele and Taylor Swift. “Also those greats—Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross. I’ve got a song for Diana Ross right now. My manager thinks I’m crazy, but it could be something classic.” Juicy J at Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq Promenade and at Light at Mandalay Bay, January 27.