Three 6 Mafia - Biography
Three 6 Mafia began as a gruesome horrorcore rap act but slowly, and over many line-up changes, went on to achieve mainstream popularity, even winning an Oscar — the first rap act to do so. Over the years they’ve featured many affiliates with the only constants being rappers/producers Juicy J and DJ Paul.
Paul “DJ Paul” Beauregard was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1977 and is the half-brother of Ricky “Lord Infamous” Dunigan, who was born November 17th, 1975. Jordan Michael "Juicy J" Houston was born on April 5th, 1975, and is the younger brother of rapper Patrick "Project Pat" Houston. DJ Paul, Lord Infamous and Juicy J formed Backyard Posse in 1991. They changed their name to Triple 6 Mafia (a reference to the “number of the beast”) and touched upon Satanism, the occult, serial killing, suicide and other grizzly subjects albeit over booming beats and with disorienting, hypnotic results. They recorded several EPs through their own label, Prophet Entertainment. Some of their early recordings were later compiled and released as Underground Vol. 1 - 1991-1994 (1999 Smoked Out Records). Their debut, Smoked out Loced Out (Prophet Records) and Lord Infamous’s solo Lord of Terror (Prophet) were both released in 1994. A Bone Thugs-N-Harmony diss, Live By Yo Rep (B.O.N.E. Diss) EP (1995 Prophet) was followed by Mystic Stylez (1995 Prophet Records), their first full-length as Three-6 Mafia. Their last self-released album was Da End (1996 Prophet).
In 1997, Three 6 Mafia signed a distribution deal with Relativity, who released Chpt 2: "World Domination" (1997), which in many ways, proved to be the end of their first chapter. It was their first Gold record. Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 (2000 Loud) dropped most of their early darkness and provided them with their first Platinum, largely on account of the massive, drank anthem, “Sippin' On Some Syrup.” Kingz Of Memphis Underground Vol. 3 (2000) was released on their own Smoked Out Music the same year as they released Hypnotize Camp Posse (2000 Hynotize Minds), a compilation for which Juicy J and DJ Paul made all the beats but featured other rappers from their posse including Crunchy Black, Killa Klan, Koopsta Knicca, La’ Chat, T-Rock as well as Pastor Troy.
In 2001, Three Six Mafia made their first film, Choices — The Movie (Relativity), about an ex-con and the choices he makes in order to get his life back on track. They also released a score, Choices - The Album (2001 Loud Records). After sometime members Gangsta Boo and Koopsta Knicca left to go solo, Three 6 signed to Columbia, who released Da Unbreakables (2003). It was their most polished release yet, but the single “Ridin Spinners” provided them only with a minor hit. Another film, Choices II - the Setup (2005 Sony) was packaged with its score and sold over 400,000 copies.
Their next album, Most Known Unknown (2005 Hypnotize Minds), began with a brilliant, epic montage of their underground hits that provided the point of the album’s title, reminding the underground fans of just how many hits they’d had. The follow-up track, “Stay Fly,” provided them with their first pop hit and introduced them to the mainstream, taking the album to double Platinum status. “Poppin' My Collar” gave them another hit. Lord Infamous was conspicuously absent, as he was incarcerated.
The trio of Crunchy Black, DJ Paul and Juicy J wrote “Hard out There for a Pimp” for the film Hustle & Flow, winning them a surprising Oscar which resulted in their performing at the Academy Awards. On June 7, 2006, Sony announced the departure of Crunchy Black who reportedly split to go solo. Due to his arrests, Sony prevented Lord Infamous from rejoining Three 6 and he released his solo The Man, The Myth, The Legacy (2007) on Oarfin.In 2007, the remaining two starred on an MTV reality show, Adventures in Hollyhood. The disappointing Last 2 Walk (2008 Hypnotize Minds) was pushed back for over a year. Lead single “I’d Rather” failed to excite audiences and the appearance on the album of tween idol/guyliner models, Good Charlotte, was a profoundly embarrassing deal-breaker. Meanwhile, Lord Infamous was still keeping it hood and was charged with domestic assault and bodily harm against one of his brothers.
DJ Paul released a solo album, Scale-A-Ton (2009 Scale-A-Ton), as did Juicy J, with Hustle Till I Die (2009 Hypnotize Minds). Their latest album entitled Laws of Power was set for release in January then was pushed back to June 29, 2010, it is now currently delayed. It was initially scheduled for release on November 10, 2009; it was then pushed back to a date in March, but was pushed back again. In June 2010, Lord Infamous suffered a heart attack and stroke.