Three 6 Mafia, originally known as Triple 6 Mafia, is an American hip hop group originally from Memphis, Tennessee, signed to Sony Music Entertainment under the Columbia Records imprint. The group was formed by DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, and Juicy J in 1991 and was at first known as Triple 6 Mafia. During the group's earlier years they were known as Backyard Posse before becoming known as Triple 6 Mafia and often worked with members of the Prophet Posse and the Gimisum Family. Koopsta Knicca joined the group in 1994. Crunchy Black was at first added to the group as a dancer in 1995 and Gangsta Boo became a full member of the group after the release of the debut album Mystic Stylez.
The group released their debut album Mystic Stylez in 1995 through Prophet Entertainment, a record label they created but have since relinquished control of. Their musical style—which initially featured dark, menacing beats with equally gritty lyrics—has since moved to a less dark style. The group has also had numerous lineup changes, and now (due to contract disputes) performs under the group name of Da Mafia 6ix. Two of their albums are RIAA-rated 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 is said to have kick-started their rise to fame and the mainstream. The group's worldwide album sales stand at 5.5 million. 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. Three 6 Mafia have been described as horrorcore, crunk and gangsta rap.
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 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 before the release of Mystic Stylez, rappers Koopsta Knicca (Robert Cooper), Gangsta Boo (Lola Mitchell), and Crunchy Black (Darnell Carlton) joined the group. Many artists over the years ended up leaving the label over money disputes.
The group expanded and help 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, Chrome, BoogieMane & Al Kapone among others. The production acumen of Juicy and Paul also brought about a number of side projects such as Tear da Club Up Thugs, Hypnotize Camp Posse and Da Headbussaz as well as independent label ventures.
At this point in the group's evolution, having signed to a major label (SONY), 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 Six Mafia also originally coined the term "Crunk" as a description of their Southern type 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! The They're thrilled!.... That's how you accept an Oscar!"
Events after Academy Award win
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 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.
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 is 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.
From 2009 through 2012, Juicy J 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 releasing a series of singles, including the chart topping "Bandz a Make Her Dance" which features 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 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.
Da Mafia 6ix
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 as Da Mafia 6ix, with plans to release an album which was scheduled for a March 2014 release. 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, Tennessee. Gangsta Boo would also 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 album, Watch What U Wish..., was released on March 17, 2015. On October 9, 2015, group member Koopsta Knicca died of a brain aneurysm. On June 26, 2016 it was announced that Juicy J would be rejoining Three 6 Mafia at the 2016 Gathering Of The Juggalos.
- DJ Paul (1991—2011, 2013–present)
- Juicy J (1991—2011; 2016—present)
- Crunchy Black (1995–2006, 2013—present)
- Lord Infamous (1991–2005, 2013; died 2013)
- Koopsta Knicca (1994–2000, 2013–2015; died 2015)
- Gangsta Boo (1995–2001, 2013–2014)
- Mystic Stylez (1995)
- Chapter 1: The End (1996)
- Chapter 2: World Domination (1997)
- When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 (2000)
- Choices: The Album (2001)
- Da Unbreakables (2003)
- Choices II: The Setup (2005)
- Most Known Unknown (2005)
- Last 2 Walk (2008)
- Watch What U Wish... (as Da Mafia 6ix) (2015)
- Choices: The Movie (2001)
- Hustle & Flow (2005) "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" is the official song to the movie.
- Jackass 2 (2006) They made an appearance within the movie, where they paid Dave England $200 to eat horse dung.
- Rocky Balboa (2006) – "It's a Fight" is on the official soundtrack to the movie.
- Jackass 2.5 (2007)
- The Campaign (2012) "Azz and Tittiez"
- Clean Up Men (2005)
- Jackass (2002)
- Wildboyz Deep South (Ep. 307) (2005)
- Flavor of Love (2006)
- MTV's Jamie Kennedy's Blowin' Up (2006) – episode was banned due to controversy after the first time it aired
- The Simple Life (2006)
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006) – episode: "Pilot" – musical guest on the fictional sketch comedy show within Studio 60
- WWE Friday Night SmackDown (2006) – performed Some Bodies Gonna Get It (a song they made for WWE Wrestler Mark Henry from the album WWE Wreckless Intent) live when Mark Henry wrestled Chris Benoit in May 2006, Henry continues to use the song as his entrance music
- Entourage (2006) – in the episode entitled "What about Bob?"
- My Super Sweet 16 (2006) Three 6 Mafia was the musical performance at the party
- 1 vs. 100 (2006)
- Criss Angel Mindfreak (2006) – episode: "Celebrity Séance"
- Wrestling Society X (2007) – episode #2
- Rob & Big (2006) – Three 6 Mafia rapped at a party on episode 1 of season 1
- Wild 'n Out (2007) – Spring Break edition
- Mind of Mencia (2007) – Season 3, Episode 2
- Adventures in Hollyhood (2007)
- Beauty and the east side west (2007) episode 2 DJ Paul and Juicy J are judges in a rapping contest between the geeks
- Numb3rs (2008) Juicy J and DJ Paul perform "Lolli Lolli (Pop That Body)" on the CBS drama
- Punk'd (2006) Juicy J sets up DJ Paul
- The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2008) Juicy J and DJ Paul perform "Lolli Lolli (Pop That Body)"
- The Andy Milonakis Show (2007)
- Paris Hilton's My New BFF (season 2) (2009) episode: "Learn From Your Mistakes" Three 6 Mafia interviewed Paris Hilton's Potential BFF's
- The Mo'Nique Show (2010) Three 6 Mafia performs "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp"
- Los Twiins (2010) Episode 04
- Choices: The Movie (2001)
- Choices II: The Setup (2005)
- Clean Up Men (2005)
- Ultimate Video Collection (2006)
Original television series
- Saint's Row – "Who I Iz"
- NFL Street – "Who Gives a Fuck Where You From (Radio Edit)"
- Fight Night Round 4 – "Shove It (Three 6 Mafia Remix)" (Santogold featuring Project Pat)
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, WWE '12, WWE '13, WWE 2K14, WWE 2K15 and WWE 2K16 for Mark Henry's theme music – "Some Bodies Gonna Get It"
Awards and nominations
|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|
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. [+]