Three 6 Mafia Brings Its Reunion Tour to the Agora Next Week
Memphis-based hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia made its bones through underground mixtapes but would soon find itself creating a sound and laying the groundwork for a style that would eventually be copied and cloned by many others as it rose to fame.
Members of the group include Juicy J, Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, Koopsta Knicca, Lord Infamous and DJ Paul, and some of Three 6 Mafia’s biggest hits are “Stay Fly,” “Sippin on Some Sizzurp,” “Who Run It,” “Tear da Club Up 97” and “Ridin’ Spinners.”
“To be honest with you, we was before our time,” DJ Paul says over the phone about the group’s ability to remain relevant for such a long period of time. “We were talking about drugs and getting crunk and fighting in the club and crazy stuff that no one was talking about. So when we came out talking about it, we were so far ahead of our time that no record labels wanted to sign us. Radio stations didn’t want to play it and this and that.”
Undeterred, the group decided to seek alternate ways to break into an industry that wasn’t yet quite receptive to hip-hop that wasn’t from New York or out on the West Coast.
“We put our own money behind it,” he recalls. “We put up $4500 and put the music out ourselves and it blew up. We believed in it. It was so far ahead of its time and now it’s just catching onto the masses.”
Three 6 Mafia’s music has sold nearly six million albums to date. Two of their albums, When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 and Most Known Unknown, have been certified platinum.
“We sold millions of records on our own, and now, the young kids done got ahold to it, and it’s brand new to them,” Paul says. “These young kids grew up with the more laid-back friendly rap that was going on in the mid-to-late 2000s. Now, they’re in their late teens and early twenties and starting to hear about the aggressive rap that we did. They’re going back to it like, ‘Holy crap. This is the fun stuff.'”