Tear Da Club Up Thugs Biography

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Let's say there's no sound, and you're watching Tear Da Club Up Thugs perform. You see partygoers jumping up and down. Bodies are being passed around a moshpit. Slam dancing?

You'd swear that young black kids had taken to rock.

But you'd be wrong--very wrong. If you could hear a quick pulse of the throbbing hip-hop beats servicing the party, then you'd know that this is 100% hip-hop, echoing the old Def Jam sound--a la Run DMC, LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys.

Tear Da Club Up Thugs' DJ Juicy J and DJ Paul admit to being influenced by the early sound of acts on Russell Simmons's pioneering rap label. "It's not intentional, though," Juicy J says of the '80s-ish vibe of their music. "In Memphis, that's just the sound, period."

DJ Juicy J, DJ Paul and Lord Infamous--the Memphis club DJs behind the area's popular acts Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Boo (the crew's only female rapper, who's also guested on projects by Foxy Brown, Krayzie Bone, Charli Baltimore and Eightball) and Indo G--named this specially created group after one of Three 6 Mafia's hit records. "We used to call ourselves the Tear Da Club Up Thugs," offers Juicy J. "We used to shout it on songs. We were f--king around one day and said, 'Let's make an album,' and so far people have been liking it."

The subject of tearing up clubs has been an issue for some time. Three 6 Mafia named a 1996 single after that phrase, and when the group signed with Relativity Records in 1997, they recorded an updated version. The song caught so much attention that acts like Fat Joe, Keith

Murray and Noreaga referenced it in their own songs.

"We love it," says Juicy of such recognition. "The first time we heard it, we went crazy. It's the coolest shout-out, especially from a New York rapper."

Noreaga's shout-out turned into an appearance on an upcoming Tear Da Club Up Thugs project. The underground MC behind 1998's erratic hit "Super Thug" recorded "It You In It Represent It" for Tear Da Club Up Thugs affiliate Project Pat, whose album is slated for a spring release. The Thugs, who have always rapped and DJ'ed, even produced a song for Noreaga that with appear on either the New York artist's forthcoming album or a compilation from his Thugged Out crew.

"We came up here," Juicy J excitedly explains about working with Noreaga, "and kicked it all night before we got into the studio."

Signing with Relativity Records helped the rest of the hip-hop community discover what Memphis heads had known for years. "People was loving our sh-t before," Juicy stresses, "but we was getting emphasis in Chattanooga and Nashville. But we knew that if we ever got a nationwide distribution deal, it could come through for us." Things came through in the form of the gold-certified Chapter 2: World Domination, Three 6 Mafia's first release for Relativity.

Before the Relativity deal, Three 6 Mafia was known for dissing Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on 1995's "Live By Yo Rep," recording controversial content some described to be Satanic, and delivering fiery live performances.

Arguing who was first to present singsong-style rapid rhymes is less of an issue today, and Juicy J maintains that the group does not worship Satan ("No, we are not devil-worshipers!" he exclaims). But their emphasis on tearing up the clubs is still firmly in place.

Maintaining a humble disposition, Juicy says bringing new flavor to the hip-hop scene is a major part of their appeal. "It was something new for their ears," Juicy speculates about the hip-hop community's acceptance of Thugs' music. "It's something like they never heard before. My niggas like to get wild and crazy."

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