LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - What do you do after becoming the first African-American rap group to win an Academy Award for best song? If you’re Three 6 Mafia, you stay focused on what brought you to the game in the first place: music.
Fresh off their first European tour, Three 6 Mafia members Jordan “Juicy J” Houston and “DJ Paul” Beauregard are anxious to spread the word stateside about their latest studio album, “The Last 2 Walk.” The Hypnotize Minds/Columbia Records project bows June 24.
The album’s title is a reference to the group’s remaining two members.
“We’re the last two dudes to walk,” Juicy J said of the former six-member Memphis group that became an indie force in the early ‘90s. “We’ve managed to stay true to our plan: making good music and building our label/production company. We are the two people who saw the dream. We’ll never stop doing our thing.”
“We’re grateful for the Oscar (for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow”),” DJ Paul said during a visit to Billboard’s Los Angeles office. “But we polished it, put it on the shelf and went back to the same frame of mind we’ve had the last 18 years.”
“It’s time for us to shake hands, throw back with the locals and make new friends as we promote this album,” Juicy J said. “We had to get back to the main thing: music and our fans.”
Right now, the fan base is building around the pair’s high-energy dance single “Lolli Lolli (Pop That Body).” Featuring Project Pat, the song’s co-producer Superpower and Hypnotize Minds artist Yung D, the song is No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart this week.
“It’s a different single for us,” DJ Paul said. “But all of our singles have been different. We put out various songs over the last year (including “Doe Boy Fresh,” “Like Money” and recent street single “I’d Rather”), trying to make sure we got the right one. This is our fastest-growing song in Three 6 Mafia history.”
Sparking the “Lolli” momentum was the pair’s guest stint on an episode of the CBS drama “Numb3rs,” which aired May 9. Preceding “Numb3rs” was the act’s 2007 Ashton Kutcher-produced MTV reality show, “Adventures in Hollyhood.” Both members agree that acting is easier than appearing in a reality show.
“It’s not as easy as people think,” Juicy J said. “From 6 a.m. to 12. a.m., the cameras are right there. It’s not about ‘Action!’ and then ‘Cut!’ But there’s not a second season of ‘Hollyhood’ because we wanted to get back on this music road.”