Three 6 Mafia rapper Crunchy Black talks with MemphisRap.com about his upcoming solo project entitled "Money Ain't Nuttin 2 Play Wit" which features rapper Trick Daddy, KC (from K-Ci & JoJo of Jodeci), Ying Yang Twins and his own Hard Hittaz Money Gang artists; reflects on Three 6 Mafia - from leaving the group to reuniting as Da Mafia 6ix; talks on leaving Memphis for the Sin City, Las Vegas and much more.
Crunchy Black, born Darnell Carlton from Memphis, TN, is one of the original members of the Oscar-winning rap group Three 6 Mafia, known for his rugged style and his dancing "G-Walking."
With Billboard chart-topping solo albums like "On My Own" and "From Me To You," it's been years since Crunchy has dropped a solo release, Three 6 fans have definitely anticipated another Crunchy solo.
Well, from a 2012 shooting where Crunchy Black was shot in the face to an arrest and legal troubles, Crunchy Black says he has a whole new motivation than what he had before and is ready to 'come harder'.
Check out Crunchy Black's interview with MemphisRap.com as the rapper offers raw, uncut facts on his life, his career with Three 6 Mafia and as a solo artist, building his label and more:
MemphisRap.com: What's up Crunchy, we were glad to learn you're returning back with new music. What's it been like recording this solo project?
Crunchy Black: Been recording my project "Money Ain't Nuttin 2 Play Wit" since I left 3 6 Mafia after winning the Oscar.
MemphisRap.com: We know you've been through this and that, but you seem to be using everything as motivation even incidents like the 2012 shooting (by the way, glad to know you recovered well) and even the more recent arrest incident. Is this the case, is it all motivation?
Crunchy Black: Nothing but motivation, and Haters are my biggest motivation, it just makes me want to go harder and push life to the limits.
MemphisRap.com: What else inspired this return?
Crunchy Black: Always taught my kids it's never over until you say it's over, got to always keep it moving especially in the kind of business I'm in. I always knew that we, 3 6 Mafia, would get back together again. I'm ready to be a boss to my own situation that's why I wanted to start my own label - I mean what else can I do in this game -- 3 6 won Oscars and went platinum a few times as well as gold, so I'm ready to put my artists out and do my solo thing.
MemphisRap.com: So the new solo project is entitled Money Ain't Nothing 2 Play Wit, what inspired that title?
Crunchy Black: One night me and my artist Homey G were just talking s**t on the phone and out of a conversation we had about niggas playing wit your money - and that's just something you can't play with, a man's money - so that's how we came up with the album title. I left Paul at 1st for the same s**t and Paul is still doin the same s**t - playing with a mutha fuckin money - so I decided to do my own s**t so I don't have to deal with that no more.
MemphisRap.com: You're dropping this new solo behind Da Mafia 6ix project "Watch What U Wish," which just dropped on the 17th. You're definitely putting in work, do you feel it's more about 'working hard' or 'working smart' in this business or is it equal?
Crunchy Black: It's equal if you work smart then you will work hard and if you work hard then you will work smart, I learned from one of the best - Dj Paul and Juicy J always had us working hard and it always paid off.
MemphisRap.com: Speaking on Da Mafia 6ix, Three 6 Mafia fans were definitely excited to hear when it was announced the group was getting back together. What was your initial reaction when you were contacted about getting back together with the crew and how did that come about? We were told the late Lord Infamous contacted everyone (RIP Infamous).
Crunchy Black: Lord and Koopsta Knicca was still hanging together, Lord Infamous went to Dj Paul and me and Paul were already hanging together so they decided let's give it another run. I told them if Paul didn't call me personally I wasn't coming back. It's only one Paul and Juicy J - if them two boys weren't boss then what the f**k were they? Bosses.
MemphisRap.com: We heard the recording all took place in Vegas. Is that right?
Crunchy Black: It actually started in Memphis, that's when I did collabs with KC from Jodeci and Ying Yang Twins in my in-house studio, Big Bruh Robbin I recorded in Vegas.
MemphisRap.com: When did you make the move to Vegas and what prompted the move, why Vegas?
Crunchy Black: 2 or 3 years after winning the Oscar, I moved to Vegas to be around the stars. I wanted to be around the same kind of people as me. I'm interested in getting the attention of a major label as well as distribution for my label Hard Hittaz Money Gang. I figured if I'm gonna get shot for this s**t, I must go out getting to this money.
MemphisRap.com: We hear DJ Paul is out there now also. Were you one of the first from the group to make the move to Vegas?
Crunchy Black: Yes I was, Paul was going back and forth when they did the reality show and now Paul has a house in Vegas.
MemphisRap.com: Quick questions - what's the biggest difference between Vegas and the hometown (Memphis) and also what's the most similar between the two cities, if any?
Crunchy Black: Vegas is cool I love the lights, cameras, action out here and Memphis is like watching the 1st 48, lol. The westside of Vegas and northside of Memphis may be a lil similar.
MemphisRap.com: OK, bringing the conversation back to your new music, the new project is dropping off your label, Hard Hittaz Money Gang (HHMG), right?
Crunchy Black: Right, mutha fuckin HHMG!
MemphisRap.com: We saw some time ago you had your daughter Ladee Pooh on the label and we know you signed a new group - Steady Grindin - to the label, how many artists are on the label's roster?
Crunchy Black: Yes my daughter Ladee Pooh is on my label, Steady Grindin & Sho Shott both from Atlanta, Homey G from Fla, and I have one in Vegas, but he doesn't have faith in what I'm doing, lol, sooo... that's about it for starters.
MemphisRap.com: We saw from the Money Ain't Nothing 2 Play Wit album cover that the album features Steady Grindin, Sho Shott, Homey G, Lozan, Ying Yang Twins, KC (from K-Ci & JoJo of Jodeci) and Trick Daddy. Any other features like from the Three-6 crew like Paul or Koopsta Knicca or someone else?
Crunchy Black: Well Koop is cool as a fool we known each other for a long time. Paul need to see what I'm building, Lil Wyte is the only one that has been rocking, but stay tuned never know who else might end up on this project - and I'm calling out my black people right now stop stealing music and start supporting your favorite artist(s).
MemphisRap.com: The song "Push'em Like Weight" featuring Steady Grindin & Sho Shott that appeared online, is that the first official single?
Crunchy Black: That is the 1st single that we just threw out there to let folks know we are working and Crunchy mutha fucking Black is still in the kitchen cooking up this certified dope. It's also an introduction to some of the artists - I have to give them some shine too. Steady Grindin & Shott was supposed to drop 1st, but the labels are trying to see what Crunchy can do on his own so there you have it.
MemphisRap.com: Compared to your previous solo releases like "On My Own" and "From Me to You," what is it that fans who bought those albums can expect from your new "Money Ain't Nothing 2 Play Wit" project?
Crunchy Black: This mixtape solo project I'm bringing back the realest music, it's gonna be dedicated to my niggas and or bitches that rob and steal, it's not for the ladies or the dope boys.
MemphisRap.com: We know there is something on there for the jookers and Memphis jookin fans, right?
Crunchy Black: Yup like a mutha fucka, jookin is my s**t, but we robbin and stealing right fuckin now.
MemphisRap.com: Well we're definitely excited and we know the fans will be too, is there anything we didn't cover that you'd like the fans (or haters, lol) to know?
Crunchy Black: I want to let my fans know that I fucks wit them cause they be fucking wit me hard and the haters can go kill they mutha fuckin self. Also just to clear the air I never got kicked out of 3 6 Mafia I left, so don't get it fucked up. Everybody was asking for a Crunchy Black solo project so I'm gonna give it to them, I wanted my group Steady Grindin & Sho Shott to drop 1st - these fools are fia wit it - City Of Godz, which I'm also on, is dropping soon. I put together "Crunch Time" and "Stay Real" which is a double disk with a screwed version, I'm only doing this for the people, they say I talk to much s**t, but they still want a Crunchy Black album. Also a City Of Godz Tour is being put together now, so any booking agencies or club promoters get at me to get your city a show because me and my label are coming and we are coming strong, we gonna lay the game down! Lol.