Three 6 Mafia

Three 6 Mafia

Do you think Tipper Gore ever loses sleep at night over the success of Three 6 Mafia? The Memphis-based rap group centered on rapper-producers DJ Paul and Juicy J (and a constantly rotating cast of other rappers) have been making surreal hardcore records since the early '90s. And though these rapper-producers have worked in relative obscurity for the majority of their careers, they have become recognized as an influential force in Southern hip-hop. And they have the rare distinction of being a rap group with an Academy Award and a (short-lived) reality TV show. And Tipper thought "Darling Nikki" was something!

The group's earliest works were dubby, bass-heavy explorations that culminated in their "debut" album, 1995's Mystic Stylez. The album is often described as "horrorcore" because of its emphasis on fantastic ideas of violence. The group received increased exposure in the mid- to late-'90s through wider distribution and side projects. 1997's Chapter 2: World Domination sold 800,000 copies, and 2000's When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 went platinum. Several singles, like "Tear Da Club Up '97" and "Sippin' On Some Syrup," received moderate radio and video rotation.


As the group's exposure broadened, so did their music. Three 6 capitalized on the burgeoning interest in the South with their relatively mainstream records Da Unbreakables, in 2003, and Most Known Unknown, in 2005. The latter spawned the hits, "Stay Fly" and "Poppin' My Collar." Shortly after, the group received a flood of mainstream attention with their Academy Award-winning song "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" from the movie Hustle & Flow.

Fresh off their Oscar, the group was tapped to tape a reality show Adventures in Hollyhood, which aired briefly in 2007. The group released another album, Last 2 Walk, in 2008, and are scheduled to release Laws Of Power in 2010. All this time, the group has undergone a number of line-up changes. However, the core of DJ Paul and Juicy J have remained constant. And the two seem content taking another step toward mainstream pop music as the album features a clubby collaboration with Tiësto, Sean Kingston and Flo-Rida called "Feel It." All this, and the group is still called Three 6 Mafia. Amen.  ~Dan Nishimoto

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