On "Sauce," the third track of Justin Timberlake's just-released Man in the Woods, the pop superstar cedes the spotlight, letting a collaborator give a lesson in rhetoric. A philosophical gem comes courtesy of 21-year-old Gordon Terry, star of viral video clip explaining the difference between "the juice" and "the sauce" – a slang term popularized by rapper Gucci Mane.
"Juice is temporary," he explains in the video, sampled at the beginning of Timberlake's "Sauce." "You could say that just 'cause you got a nice car or something, like, 'Aw, man, he got the juice' ... it's something that kind of comes and goes. But the sauce: Sauce is forever."
Terry's friend recorded the video while the two were working at a Best Buy in Indiana. The viral success of the clip spurred Terry to move to San Diego where he is focusing on building his career as a social media influencer. "It feels like a movie," he says. "Someone is writing my life right now, and I'm loving it." Terry spoke with Rolling Stone about how he ended up on Man in the Woods and why Timberlake has the sauce.
What's the difference between the Juice and the Sauce?— @Gino_Russ ➡️ @BeGinoRuss (@BeGinoRuss) June 29, 2017
"The sauce is foreva✨" pic.twitter.com/tCGfkp69ds
How did you initially go viral?
My friend Luke, who recorded the video, he was talking and I was like, "Hey man, I've watched you grow up a little bit. … You had the juice, I think you might have the sauce now." He got out of a bad relationship and he was flourishing. He wasn't buying gifts for someone that doesn't appreciate him. I was like, Look at you glowing out here! You ain't got pimples no more. Your bank account's fat. Your grades are right! You're moving to the sauce. You got that untouchable aura around you right now.
He didn't understand what I was saying, so I had to educate him real quickly and let him know the difference between the juice and the sauce. He thought that was hilarious, so he said, "Let me go ahead and record this, and I'm gonna show my dad and let him know the difference." I was explaining it to another co-worker at the same time as he was recording it so he could show his dad.
He keeps that video posted on his Twitter and his Instagram. Unfortunately the Twitter count reset. It was at like 10 million views. Now it's at two million. So I don't know what the real number is. But an hour after he posted it, it had 300 to 400 retweets, and by the time we woke up, it was in the 10,000s. It was literally overnight, because we did it at work – we almost got fired for it – and once we got off, he posted it.
Why did you almost get fired?
We were on the clock in our uniforms on video, which is extremely against the rules. But we had a really slow store. … Management called down and were like, "You can't have employees doing this, they signed a waiver, we're supposed to fire them." But Best Buy was cool enough at the time to let it slide. Every time that video was posted, the replies were like, "Of course he works at Best Buy, only the smartest and nicest people work there." It brought them a lot of really good light. I'm not saying I made Best Buy a bunch of money, I'm just saying their stock went up 26 cents that night.
What kind of offers were you getting for the video?
I had a bunch of companies trying to purchase the video outright. A bunch of the offers I felt disrespected by. I'm an amateur video person, but art is more than a number or a price. If someone hits me up like, "I'll post your video on my website for 50 bucks and you just give me all the rights to the video for the rest of your life," I'm gonna say no. I'd rather not sell the video and have it then take your 50 bucks that's gonna be gone. That's not even juice. That's water, dawg.
When did you find out you were going to be sampled by Justin Timberlake?
I'm not gonna lie, the last few months have been the longest months of my life. I want to say we found out end of summer, middle of fall. We had the wait through fall; now we're deep into winter. I've been clawing my hair out – the anticipation is killing me. I kind of reminds me of those guys from YouTube, the 4YallEntertainment guys in Canada who got sampled by Drake [on "Madiba Riddim"]. They had to chill the whole time, and once it came out they dropped their Vlog of them playing it. I'm doing the same thing. I'm in Cali, so the actual album will be released at 9 here. I'm going to be turnt, driving around listening to my voice.
Did a lawyer from Timberlake's camp reach out to you?
They tracked me down. When I say they tracked me down – I didn't have any information up on my Twitter, my Instagram. It just said Indiana, but it didn't say Terra Haute. The only thing I can think is they went to my Twitter, saw it said Indiana, called the call center and tried to find out my employee number or store location. They called my manager, and he hit me up like, "This guy from a record company, the president, is looking for you." I'm like, "huh?" Shout out to Andre Person from Tennman Records. He's like, "Justin loves the clip, he wants to use it on the song." I said, "I don't know who you are, but stop playing on my phone." You're talking about me being on a Timberlake song. That's unreal.
How did he convince you he was real?
I did not believe it until my checking account believed it. We worked out a wonderful deal. I didn't give over the whole thing. That video means a lot to me. It's something I can have the rest of my life – talk to my kids, my grandkids: Hey, this person you probably don't listen to because you're one year old, I know them.
Have you heard the song that contains the sample?
Nope. I really want to wait until the song comes out. Videotape me unwrapping it, finding my name, going, "Oh this is my song," skipping all the songs and going straight to mine because I'm selfish. I'll give the album a good listen after I listen to my song about 30 times.
Did Andre tell you how Justin found the video?
As I understand it, they were in the studio and they were well into the song. While they were chilling, somebody saw the video on their phone. I don't know who it was in the room. But they were like, bro, this is literally perfect. We need to find this person. They said it took them about two or three days. That's how I know it's important – that they really want it. They took their time out, like, hey man, your job for the next couple days is to find where this person lives and call him.
Are you a JT fan?
Am I a JT fan?! Do I have ears? Justin Timberlake is excellent. I think he's incredibly underrated. This is his fourth solo studio album – how do you have that much behind you with only four albums? He's been making music since I was a baby. I'm only 21; born in '96. He's been making music for as long as I can remember and he's still relevant with such a low amount of work. He's like the pop André 3000.
We have to ask: Does JT have the sauce?
Of course he has the sauce. The sauce is the intangibles. It's the things you can't take away from someone. Like an education. My parents always stressed you have to get an education because can't nobody take that from you. That's the sauce. He has the sauce. No one can be out this long doing only this many songs and still sell out arenas and not have the sauce.