Three 6 Mafia
|Origin||Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.|
Lord Infamous (deceased)
Koopsta Knicca (deceased)
Three 6 Mafia (formerly known as Triple Six Mafia) was an American hip hop group formed in 1991 in Memphis, Tennessee. Their style has been variously described as Southern hip hop, crunk, hardcore rap, horrorcore and gangsta rap. In 2006 the group won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards for their song "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" from the movie Hustle & Flow. The group released their debut album Mystic Stylez in 1995 through Prophet Entertainment, a record label they co-created but later relinquished control of in favor of a new label that they also created but had full ownership and control of, Hypnotize Minds. Their musical style--which initially featured dark, menacing beats with equally gritty lyrics--gradually moved to a less dark style. Two of their albums are RIAA-certified Platinum: When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 (2000) and Most Known Unknown (2005), the latter featured their well-known single "Stay Fly", which itself achieved 2x Multi-Platinum (Double Platinum) RIAA certification status. The group's final studio album, Last 2 Walk, was released in 2008. The group last recorded in 2012. Three 6 Mafia's worldwide album sales stand at 5.5 million as of 2016. The group is widely considered as being the main influence of early horrorcore, "crunk" music of the 2000s, and the sound of modern underground hip-hop.
The group started in 1991 in Texas with DJ Paul (Paul Beauregard), Juicy J (Jordan Houston), and Lord Infamous (Ricky Dunigan). The original name for the dark hip hop group was "Backyard Posse". The group formed through the release of numerous EPs from their own record company with Nick Scarfo, Prophet Entertainment, which were sold around Memphis and the Mid-South. Later DJ Paul and Juicy J formed their own label, Hypnotize Minds Records. During their early career, they also propelled the careers of several other rappers. Eventually added to the group before the release of the group's debut studio album, Mystic Stylez in 1995 were rappers Koopsta Knicca (Robert Cooper), Gangsta Boo (Lola Mitchell), and Crunchy Black (Darnell Carlton).
The group expanded and helped start the careers of notable Mafia affiliates, including Project Pat, Frayser Boy, La Chat, Lil Wyte, T-Rock, Gangsta Blac, Kingpin Skinny Pimp, M.C. Mack, Scan Man & among others. The production acumen of Juicy and Paul also brought about a number of Three 6 Mafia side projects such as Tear da Club Up Thugs, which released one album, CrazyNDaLazDayz, Hypnotize Camp Posse and Da Headbussaz as well as independent label ventures.
In 1997, the group signed a record deal At this point in the group's evolution, having signed to a major label, group leaders DJ Paul and Juicy J began extending their brand. They started by releasing solo albums by their label affiliates such as, Can It Be? by Gangsta Blac, Ghetty Green, Murderers & Robbers, Mista Don't Play: Everythangs Workin' and Layin' da Smack Down by Project Pat, Doubt Me Now, Phinally Phamous, The One and Only and The Bad Influence by Lil Wyte, Angel Dust by Indo G, Gone On That Bay & Me Being Me by Frayser Boy, and compilation-styled albums such as collections of tracks from earlier years (Underground Vol. 1: (1991-1994), Underground Vol. 2: Club Memphis & Underground Vol. 3: Kings of Memphis among other projects). Three 6 Mafia also originally coined the term "Crunk" as a description of their sound.
In 2006, Three 6 Mafia became the first hip-hop group to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song with "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" (which they co-wrote with Frayser Boy) as one of the theme songs for Hustle & Flow. They were also the first hip-hop artists to ever perform at the ceremony, which they did with Hustle & Flow actress Taraji P. Henson reprising her chorus. It was the second hip-hop song (and the first crunk/Dirty South song) to win an Oscar, after Eminem's "Lose Yourself" in 2002 from his film 8 Mile, and only one other hip-hop song since then has won an Oscar - Common and John Legend's "Glory" (from Selma) in 2015. Right before presenter Queen Latifah announced that they had won, she chuckled and sang the refrain from the song. The energy from Houston, Carlton, Coleman, and Beauregard's presence and acceptance speech was infectious, causing that year's Oscar host Jon Stewart to quip "How come they're the most excited people here tonight? Why is that? They're thrilled! They're thrilled!.... That's how you accept an Oscar!"
On June 7, 2006, Sony announced the departure of original Triple 6 Mafia member Crunchy Black. He stated his reason for departing was to make a solo album that DJ Paul and Juicy J had allegedly put off for years, with most of the material being used for "Most Known Unknown". Crunchy also complained he was being financially cheated by Paul and Juicy. Thereafter Three 6 Mafia consisted just of remaining members DJ Paul and Juicy J.
The two producers of the group had their own reality show, Adventures in Hollyhood, on MTV. The show focused on the pair balancing fun and studio work after their Oscar win. Associate rappers Project Pat & Lil Wyte along with hometown friends Big Triece & Computer co-starred. The show premiered on April 5, 2007 on MTV & was not renewed for a second season.
After leaving Three 6 Mafia a number of years prior, Lord Infamous was featured on DJ Paul's second solo album Scale-A-Ton, which was released on May 5, 2009. Lord Infamous was featured on 8 tracks. Juicy J's second solo album Hustle Till I Die was released on June 16, 2009. The album featured his brother and frequent collaborator Project Pat and other rappers such as V-Slash,Gucci Mane,Webbie and Gorilla Zoe.
Three 6 Mafia released their ninth and last studio album Last 2 Walk on June 24, 2008, after multiple delays. The album featured collaborations with Project Pat, Lil Wyte, Akon, Good Charlotte, Lyfe Jennings and UGK.
In 2011, DJ Paul and Juicy J starred in VH1's cooking show Famous Food together with seven other celebrities and eventually won first place. In an interview, published in July 2011 DJ Paul cleared up some controversy from the show, involving Ashley Dupre best known from the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal.
By the end of 2012, Juicy J had moved completely away from Three 6 Mafia to focus on his solo career. During this time he released a number of solo mixtapes such as Rubba Band Business and Blue Dream & Lean. He also frequently collaborated with rapper Wiz Khalifa, appearing on a number of his mixtapes. In December 2011, Juicy J confirmed that he was the newest member of Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang imprint - as an A&R and one-third owner of the imprint.
After a number of mixtapes, DJ Paul released his third solo studio album A Person of Interest on October 22, 2012. He announced that the album was a mix of gangsta rap and crunk music, with it also incorporating influences from dubstep and electronic dance music. The album featured past collaborators Lil Wyte and Gucci Mane, and also came with a bonus DVD including a self-titled short movie, music videos and behind the scenes footage. On November 26, 2013, DJ Paul released Volume 16: The Original Masters, a remaster of his 1994 mixtape 4 Da Summer of '94, on iTunes. After releasing a series of singles, including the chart topping "Bandz a Make Her Dance" which featured 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, Juicy J released his third solo studio album Stay Trippy under Taylor Gang Records, Kemosabe Records and Columbia Records on August 27, 2013. Juicy J has since stated that he would still "love to" participate in a Three 6 Mafia album in the future.
In 2013, it was announced that five of the six original members of Three 6 Mafia - DJ Paul, Crunchy Black, Koopsta Knicca, Lord Infamous and Gangsta Boo - were reuniting to form a new group, to be known as Da Mafia 6ix, with plans to release an album which was scheduled for a March 2014 release. At the time of the formation of Da Mafia 6ix, DJ Paul clarified that the collective was "not a Three 6 Mafia reunion" and described it as "a totally new group". Recording began in Las Vegas in late 2013. On November 12, 2013, Da Mafia 6ix released their first mixtape 6iX Commandments. The tape was almost entirely produced by DJ Paul and featured Yelawolf, 8Ball & MJG, Krayzie Bone, Bizzy Bone, SpaceGhostPurrp and HCP affiliates Lil Wyte, Skinny Pimp and La Chat, among others.Juicy J and Project Pat also appeared as surprise guests on the posse song "Body Parts", being credited just as "& more" in the track listing. The mixtape was supported by the lead single "Go Hard" featuring Yelawolf. The mixtape also received a retail release and debuted at number 34 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The group is managed by DJ Paul's management team, TBA Worldwide.
On December 21, 2013, founding group member Lord Infamous died of a heart attack in his sleep at his mother's home in Memphis. Gangsta Boo would leave the group in May 2014. DJ Paul explained it saying, "It was what we thought was going to be best for everybody. It just happened. Nobody forced nobody. It was a gut feeling." The reunited group's debut album, Watch What U Wish..., featured the three remaining members of the group as well as Lord Infamous, who appeared on a handful of tracks through several verses he had recorded prior to his death. The album was released on March 17, 2015.
|2006||Academy Awards||Best Original Song||"It's Hard out Here for a Pimp"||Won|
|BET Awards||Best Group||Three 6 Mafia||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Hip-Hop Video||"Stay Fly"||Nominated|
|2007||BET Awards||Best Group||Three 6 Mafia||Nominated|
|2008||American Music Awards||Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Band, Duo or Group||Three 6 Mafia||Won|
|2009||BET Awards||Best Group||Three 6 Mafia||Nominated|
|2010||International Dance Music Awards||Best Hip Hop Dance Track||"Feel It"||Nominated|
|2012||Memphis Music Hall of Fame||Inductee||Three 6 Mafia||Won|