Three 6 Mafia won the Oscar for Best Original Song that year & people still talk about DJ Paul giving Clooney a shout-out.
If you would’ve told Three 6 Mafia that they would go down in history as the first Rap group to secure a win at the Academy Awards for Best Original Song, they would be hard-pressed to believe it. The Memphis crew knew they were destined for great things, but snagging an Oscar wasn’t something anyone in the Rap industry could have imagined for the collective. In 2006, Three 6 Mafia took home their statues for their “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” song from Hustle & Flow, and recently, DJ Paul caught up with Variety to reflect on the mindblowing moment in music and film history.
“It was fifteen years ago, and I still don’t believe it,” said Paul. A standout moment from their Oscars speech came from Paul who shouted out as many names as he could, including actor George Clooney. The rapper beamed as he called Clooney one of his favorite people, and all these years later, Paul is offering up an explanation.
Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty Images
“They seated me next to George Clooney at the Oscar luncheon at the Beverly Hilton before the show,” said Paul. “He was the reason why I got all these tattoos — I was sitting at home watching one night watching ‘From Dusk Till Dawn,’ which is one of my favorite movies, and I saw all these tattoos that he had. I immediately called my boys and we went to the tattoo shop at like one in the morning and I tried to mimic his tattoos. But then I looked at George and he didn’t even have tattoos! I told him that whole story, he was laughing. He was really cool.”
As they were on stage performing “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” Three Six Mafia was admittedly terrified to see an audience filled with familiar famous faces that don’t necessarily reflect their fan base. DJ Paul recalled looking out and seeing Nicole Kidman, but when he panned over and spotted someone else, it eased his troubles.
“When I looked in the front row and Jamie Foxx gave us a thumbs-up, I was like, we must be doing something right. It was super cool.” HipHopDX shared a clip of the group’s acceptance speech and DJ Paul jumped in their comments to once again explain away his Clooney reference. “Cause he’s my favorite actor & i got my tattoos cause of the character he played on #dusktilldawn but the kicker was when i had the Oscar luncheon with him & we sat at the same table,” wrote Paul. “He showed hella love and gave me great advice #mafia.”
Check out the moment the group won back in 2006 below.