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Tacos and Ta-Tas with Project Pat

We talk to the legendary Memphis rapper about his classics and get behind the scenes of Three 6 Mafia's 'Hollyhood'.
March 4, 2013, 6:30pm

All photos by Rocky Li.

Deductive reasoning tells me my first time hearing Project Pat was probably Three 6 Mafia’s “Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp,” though my earliest memories of Pattuh are seeing the music video for “Chickenhead” on Rap City and hearing “Break Da Law 2001” on Funkmaster Flex’s 60 Minutes of Funk, Vol. 4. I don’t remember which of these happened first, but I what I do know is that shortly after, I got my hands on Mista Don’t Play: Everythang’s Workin’, and it blew my fucking mind. I’d never heard anyone rap like Project Pat before, who bent lyrics by way of a roller coaster ride of inflections over nightmare-inducing production from Juicy J and DJ Paul. Anyway, Project Pat headlined Santos Party House last week, and I met him at the newly opened Snack Drago taco spot in Brooklyn a few hours beforehand. He came into the interview on something of a dour note (he wasn’t hungry, for one, and I made him come to Brooklyn, for two), but he couldn’t help but soften up when he realized I knew every single thing about him. There were a lot of questions I planned on asking but somehow we just kind of ended up watching Adventures in Hollyhood on my laptop.

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Noisey: Pat, how did you learn to rap so good?
Project Pat: The Hypnotized Minds thing was all Juicy’s dream. He brought me in to be a part of it and I saw the money so I came along, but I remember Juicy was always pushing me. Telling me “Do something so that when you come on, they’ll know it’s you.” I used to have this little CD with all these nursery rhymes on it, actually there was two of these nursery rhyme CDs. So I would listen to the melody of the nursery rhymes and replace the words in it with street words. That’s really how I started to rap. I’d swap the little kids words out and put street words in there with the same melody. I used to do that a lot.

How did the second verse of “Chickenhead” get written?
I wrote it. I wrote Chat’s part, but Paul was the one who told me “Why don’t you write something where you and her are going back and forth”. So I wrote it. Let me tell you something. I was just walking up behind this girl going over to my cousins house. And she just… I don’t know man. Her hair was just fucked up and she was just all fucked up. And I was like “You’re just a chicken.” I was messing with her saying “Bawk Bawk”, and that’s how I made the song up. Went to the studio a day or two later and Juicy made the beat and we recorded the song. I knew it was a good song, but I didn’t know it was gonna sell no million copies. I didn’t know none of that. You could have never told me that. I just made some music.

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And when did it go Platinum?
It went platinum in like seven months. I was locked up actually when it went platinum.

For…
I was locked up for the gun. I had been on parole and then I got sent back for like five months and by the time I got out it had already gone Platinum.

That’s wild. Pat, I wanted to ask you about Adventures in Hollyhood.
That’s cool. Let’s do it. You can ask me anything.

I really enjoyed that show but I have a couple of problems with it and they actually involve you. In the show’s opening sequence, you’re labeled as the “protégé.” When the show aired you had already had a platinum album. Did you take exception to that label?
[Laughs] Yeah, it was just… I don’t know. The guy who was writing the show at the time was just like “Oh we’ll just say Pat’s the protégé.” I mean they couldn’t say I was an assistant like Triece or Computer so they were just like “We’ll call him the protégé.” That’s all that was.

What are Triece and Computer up to these days?
After the show, this is funny, you’re gonna laugh about this. Computer got like a real hard underground Vegas buzz for being a host at different clubs. And Triece, I don’t know where Triece at. That I don’t know.

Did you like “What You Starin’ At?”
[Laughs] I know what you’re talking about. “Raised in the Projects” came out way before that. You crazy. With the show, I’m gonna be honest with you, 85% of it was real. There was a lot of stuff that they didn’t show. Like when Triece pissed in Jennifer Love Hewitt’s mother’s yard, he really did that. He really peed in that girl’s momma yard. What happened was, he really got fucked up. So they followed him around in the neighborhood and he was so fucking fucked up. I don’t know if they showed it in the episode but they found him and he was laid out in someone’s bushes.

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What about the wars with Triece and Computer or Lil Wyte and Computer?
That was fake…that was fake as hell right there. Well actually, Computer wouldn’t know about this stuff. He didn’t know that it was staged and Wyte was gonna throw the water in his face or whatever he did. So it was real. Triece and Computer, they did have a problem, but it wasn’t on the show. They was having problems.

What about Sugarfoot slapping Triece. Real or staged?
Oh that was real. They didn’t even know that camera was in there. You didn’t see all of that. It got so explicit in there, nobody wanted to see it. Real talk. I’m serious. But that was real. Triece wasn’t getting any pussy so that’s why Juicy flew her out. [Triece] was really surprised too. All that shit was real. That was real shit. Him and her are still together I think.

You guys should really do another show…
I’mma tell you why this show got cancelled. This is some real business. The show got cancelled because of a situation with a lawyer, a dude that we know who was kind of…that way. And the person who like owned the show, he was like that way, and they was like messin’ with each other. Then the lawyer dude started messin’ with somebody that was working on the show behind the scenes. You know…we’re out in LA at this point…it’s kind of…they do their thing. And nothing against their thing. But when the guy that had hooked the lawyer up with the show had seen that he was messin’ with somebody else, this is real shit, dude cancelled the show. We had the highest rating on MTV. We was number 1, and the dude did not care. He cut him off and that’s what did it. Juicy was so mad man. We were finna get paid and it just cut us all off. It wasn’t even about us. The dude was cool with us, everybody was cool with us, it was just that guy that set up the situation. Good dude lawyer wise… Jewish dude, ice cold. But yeah they cancelled the show. That show was fun as hell, man, we should. It could really work.

Neil Martinez-Belkin's favorite rapper is Project Pat. He's on Twitter - @Neil_MB

Find Rocky at his blog Third Looks.