Three 6 Mafia (formerly Triple Six Mafia) is an Academy Award winning American rap group originating from Memphis, Tennessee. Formed in 1991 by DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, and Juicy J, they shortly thereafter recruited fellow Memphian rappers Koopsta Knicca, Gangsta Boo, and Crunchy Black. The group also frequently collaborates with Project Pat (the brother of Juicy J). Their 2005 song "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" won Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards.
The group released their debut underground album Mystic Stylez in 1995 through Prophet Entertainment, a record label they created but have since relinquished control over. Their musical style?which initially featured dark, menacing beats with equally gritty lyrics?has since moved to a more mainstream sound. The group has also had numerous lineup changes, and now consists only of original members DJ Paul and Juicy J, It is unknown if Lord Infamous is back with the group on a full-time basis. Nonetheless, they have cultivated a sizeable and diverse cult following that has only increased since their Oscar win. DJ Paul's new solo album Scale-A-Ton was released May 5, 2009, Juicy J's Solo Album Hustle Till I Die was released June 16, 2009. Their latest album entitled Laws of Power is due out , 2010.
The group started in 1991 in Memphis with DJ Paul (Paul Beauregard), Juicy J (Jordan Houston) and Lord Infamous (Ricky Dunigan). The original name for the hip hop group was "Backyard Posse", followed shortly after by "Triple Six Mafia" and originally did "horrorcore" music. The group formed through release of many EPs from their own record company with Nick Scarfo, Prophet Entertainment, later launching their own label, Hypnotize Minds Records; during their early career, they also propelled the careers of several other rappers. Eventually added before the release of Mystic Stylez were rappers Koopsta Knicca (Robert Cooper), Gangsta Boo (Lola Mitchell), and Crunchy Black (Darnell Carlton).
Evolving slowly but steadily over the years, Three 6 Mafia began as an exploitative, horror-themed underground hardcore rap sensation ("666 Mafia," get it?) yet went on to enjoy relatively mainstream success years later, eventually winning an Oscar and scoring some major hits. The Memphis, TN, group's membership varied from album to album, with the one constant being the duo of Juicy J and DJ Paul, who are producers as well as rappers. Other notable Mafia affiliates at one time or another include Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca, La' Chat, Project Pat, Killa Klan Kaze, and Indo G. The production acumen of Juicy and Paul also brought about a number of side projects (Tear da Club Up Thugs, Hypnotize Camp Posse, Da Headbussaz) and independent label ventures; the guys initially did business as Prophet Entertainment, later as Hypnotize Minds, working out deals with Relativity Records, Loud Records, and Columbia -- all in turn.
At this point in the group's evolution, having signed to a major label and having scored an admirable hit single, group leaders DJ Paul and Juicy J began extending their brand. They started by releasing group member solo albums (Gangsta Boo, Koopsta Knicca), non-group member solo albums (Killa Klan Kaze) and also compilation-styled albums (Tear Da Club Up Thugs, Hypnotize Camp Posse, Da Headbussaz, and Prophet Posse). Around this time, they also released collections of tracks from earlier years (Underground Vol. 1: (1991-1994), Underground Vol. 2: Club Memphis, Underground Vol. 3: Kings of Memphis).
Academy Award win
On March 5, 2006, Three 6 Mafia made history as they became the first black music group to win an Academy Award for Best Song (the first black artist to do so was Isaac Hayes for Theme from Shaft in 1971) and also became the first hip-hop artists to ever perform at the ceremony. The group was nominated for the song "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" from the Hustle & Flow soundtrack.
Three 6 Mafia were credited by their real names, Jordan Houston (Juicy J) and Paul Beauregard (DJ Paul), along with group member Darnell Carlton (Crunchy Black), and label mate Cedric Duane Coleman (Frayser Boy), although host Jon Stewart did refer to them as "Three 6 Mafia" after their victory, saying "To recap, Three 6 Mafia: 1. Martin Scorsese: 0." Scorsese would finally receive his own Oscar, for Best Director, the following year.
On June 7, 2006, Sony officially acknowledged the departure of original Three 6 Mafia member, Crunchy Black. He stated his reason for departure 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. Thereafter Three 6 Mafia consisted just of remaining members DJ Paul and Juicy J.
The two producers of the group now have their own reality show, Adventures in Hollyhood, on MTV. The show focuses on what it's like to be a member of the Three 6 Mafia, balancing the increased fame after their Oscar win while attempting to stay true to their loyal fans. The show premiered on April 5, 2007 at 10 p.m. Eastern time on MTV.
The group made an appearance in Jackass Number Two, where they offered to pay Dave England $200 if he would eat horse feces. England did so, and the group paid up.
In December 2006, Three 6 Mafia contributed the song "It's a Fight" to the soundtrack of the movie Rocky Balboa. Also, in 2006, DJ Paul was reported to have had a steamy relationship with infamous Orlando FL artist Kim Murdah.
Three 6 Mafia are featured in Justin Timberlake's "Chop Me Up"- FutureSex/LoveSounds, along with record producer/singer/ rapper Timbaland.
Three 6 Mafia have released their newest album, Last 2 Walk, which was released on June 24, 2008. Three 6 Mafia has stated, that there will be three "undated" new movies coming out,under the Hypnotize Film Production which are: Choices 3: The Return of Big Pat, Hollyhood The Movie and Streets of Memphis.
DJ Paul and Juicy J appeared in the May 9th, 2008 episode of the CBS television series "Numb3rs," which revolves around the murder of a rapper. The group also performed "Lolli Lolli (Pop That Body)" on the show.
Three 6 Mafia is featured on the song "You've Got Me Now" by Korean pop sensation Seven on his U.S.-debut album coming summer 2009.
DJ Paul and Juicy J both went on the TV game show 1 vs. 100 (US Game Show) as mob members. They got eliminated quite quickly.
World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Mark Henry uses their song "Somebody's Gonna Get It" as his entrance theme and can be seen on Monday Night Raw. Performed at a UCI event called Shoctoberfest.
As of early 2009, Lord Infamous was featured on DJ Paul's new solo album Scale-A-Ton. DJ Paul's Scale-A-Ton Album was released On May 5 2009. Lord Infamous was featured on 8 tracks. Juicy J's Hustle Till I Die album was released on June 16. Three 6 Mafia began work on the Laws of Power album in May 2009, that's coming out January 26, 2010.
The group now has their own Youtube pages, DJ Paul's being "djpaulkomtv" and Juicy J's being "juicyjcomic". The group regularly posts information about their new albums on the pages and they have posted many videos of their tour in Germany where they have been to places such as; Mainz, Nuremburg, Passau, Weinheim, Wildeshausen, Stuttgart and Gollhofen.
Satanic imagery controversy
Three 6 Mafia's name hatopic of controversy as some contend that their name refers to the Number of the Beast (supported by their former name "Triple Six Mafia"). They are known to have mentioned the occult in song topics and this, with their name, has potentially affected their amount of television and radio play (until their success with "Stay Fly"). In their first full length horrorcore LP, Mystic Stylez, the groups references to the occult reached its climax. The most notable example of the group's occult references can be found in the song "Fuckin wit Dis Click." Lord Infamous states "No I'm not a Christian," and DJ Paul's verse is filled with allegedly Satanic lyrics, such as "I'm on a cross, Lucifer, please cut me free," and "A mind for murder but the barrel couldn't tell you half about this antichrist; Look into my eyes tell me what you see; The demonic man about scarecrowism; Saints can you feel me." Also on the track "Murder On My Mind," the distorted voice of DJ Paul identifies "Lucifer" as "the leader of the Three 6 Mafia." However the group has never claimed to worship Satan, and in their acceptance speech at the 2006 Academy Awards group member Juicy J thanked Jesus for their nomination and win for Best Song in a motion picture. Also in the beginning of their song "Easily Executed" Juicy J says "To everbody that be saying Triple Six Mafia Devil Worshipers... You Wrong My Nig." The name's meaning is attributed to the fact that "it started with three people in the group, ended up with six; Three 6 Mafia" according to an interview with Juicy J. Three 6 Mafia also released a song called, "When God Calls Timeout" rapped by their famous member Lord Infamous, which talks about the day that the Christians believe to be the day that Jesus comes back to earth.
Their 2005 single, "Stay Fly," was also referenced in the argument of Three 6 Mafia's satanic "shoutouts" for the high pitched, almost female voice, in the background at the beginning of the song. The voice was assumed, by at least some, to be saying "You're My God, "You're My King" You're My Father". Some also thought it repeatedly said "Lucifer". However, the track was actually derived from the classic song "Tell Me Why Has Our Love Turned Cold" by funk/soul singer, Willie Hutch. The actual track says "You're my pride, you're my dream, you're my dar-ling."
Juicy J and DJ Paul recently conducted an interview with Chris Loos in which they were again asked about allegations regarding the "Stay Fly"'s lyrical content, with Juicy J maintaining that Three 6 Mafia were not devil worshippers, mentioning that his father is a preacher - also referenced in the song "Father Houston" - and that if he ever did worship Satan, his father would "kill him". Although all of these Satanic controversies have been spread surrounding the group, it is widely believed amongst true fans and people close to the group that when the group did have dark lyrics, it has never been involved in actual Satanic worship, and its image has grown more and more healthy and has had a lack of any real Satanic references for almost 10 years now. Most of the lyrical content referencing evil, or dark powers, came from members Lord Infamous and Koopsta Knicca (who, on his solo albums, tells his story of dabbling with Satanic beliefs), and since these two are virtually unseen with the group anymore, it is likely the rumors of devil worship will subside.
Dispute with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
While many will argue the origin of the original dispute with the group, the initial beef was spurred when Bone referred to the entire city of Memphis as a "bunk ass town" in the February 1995 edition of Vibe Magazine. This infuriated not only Three 6 Mafia but other local rappers and citizens in Memphis.
As a form of retaliation; several Memphis artists struck back lyrically and musically. Tommy Wright III recorded and released "Thuggish Ruggish Busters", while Kingpin Skinny Pimp, Lord Infamous, and Koopsta Knicca recorded a song called "Lay It Down", where Kingpin Skinny Pimp says "So fuck you Bone, biting our fuckin' style".
On the 1995 EP Live by Yo Rep, Three 6 Mafia accused Bone Thugs-n-Harmony of stealing its style (a mix of quasi-harmonic rapping and blatant references to the occult). Three 6 Mafia several small but blatent rebuttals in songs like Last Man Standing where DJ says, "The Last Man Standin'll never be part of the B.O.N.E", and the Killa Klan give several remarks on the song "Be A Witness". A rebuttal from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony came on the track "All Original" and "U Ain't Bone" as well as making a few remarks about them on "Look into My Eyes" on their album, The Art of War, that speaks critically of Three 6 Mafia. Bone continued to insult them on the song "Notorious Thugs", with The Notorious B.I.G..
The dispute is over now. Krayzie Bone has been featured on a Project Pat album Ghetty Green on the song Up There and in the video for Lil Jon's "I Don't Give A Fuck", you can see Juicy J, DJ Paul, and La Chat standing next to Krayzie Bone as he begins his verse. DJ Paul & Juicy J have also produced a song for Bone called "We Workin" for their latest album Strength & Loyalty, however it did not make the final cut for the album.
Dispute with Crunchy Black
According to an article in Ozone Magazine, Crunchy Black said that half of the songs used for Three 6 Mafia's album Most Known Unknown were originally for his album and he was not getting paid for it. He stated that he had to pay for his own travel and hotel expenses, he was not allowed to go into business meetings with his lawyer, and that Three 6 Mafia was behind shady business practices with his money. Crunchy Black's debut solo album from Three 6 Mafia entitled On My Own was released on September 19, 2006 Crunchy said this was not his album. Crunchy's second solo album From Me to U was put out without his permission. Crunchy is not signed to any record label right now but is in talks with a few.