Sunday Swim Presented by the Lake Review, Episode 8: Three 6 Mafia, “Mystic Stylez”
Sunday Swim is a weekly guest column written by The Lake Review for Sound Over Time, covering classic records that you need to hear if you haven’t already. Follow the Lake Review on Instagram @thelakereview.
Growing up on so many different genres of music has had a major impact on me and who I am. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself revisiting artists and albums I was once too young to relate to and understand. One group of artists that have worked their way into my life is Three 6 Mafia. Memories of their haunting beats and the hits that dominated radio waves during the 90s and 2000s, Three 6 Mafia was unlike any hip-hop group i ever heard. Their ability to make rap sound like the most chilling horror movie is what attracted me to their music especially my love for the horror genre of film.
Three 6 Mafia’s debut album, Mystic Stylez, released in 1995, was their first true offering to the mainstream as a group. Originally known as the Backyard Posse consisting of DJ Paul, Juicy J, and DJ Paul’s older brother, the late great Lord Infamous. After releasing many EPs and the addition of more members including female members, La Chat and Gangsta Boo. The album was recorded in their hometown of Memphis and was recorded on a 16 track reel to reel tape. According to Juicy J, there’s no real memory of making the album. They just went in, got high and drunk and made music. During this time, the group were heavily inspired by NWA, Geto Boys, extreme metal band Venom, and more.
Described as horrorcore by many critics, it is so much more than that. With an album filled with samples from Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Rick James, George Clinton, and more, the album is a beautiful yet haunting ride which truly highlights the abilities from one of the greatest production duos of all time, Juicy J and DJ Paul. With excellent production and literal breathtaking verses from Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca, Gangsta Boo and many more members, this album has everything a true fan of music would enjoy.
An project surrounded by controversy due to the feud with Ohio rap group, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and them not able to get their horror themed music onto radio which resulted in the laid back sound heard on songs like Da Summa, Long Nite, Back Against Da Wall and more is considered an essential southern rap album by many. With a plethora of albums, mixtapes and solo projects and an Academy award for their work on the music from Hustle & Flow, Three 6 Mafia and their influence is still evident today among artists flows, production and even subject matter. It wouldn’t even be a stretch to say that Three 6 Mafia is one of the many forefathers for the “trap” genre of hip-hop that has dominated charts and radio for over ten years now. Without Three 6 Mafia, we wouldn’t have a lot of the producers and artists that have been heavily inspired by the group from Memphis who took the world by storm.
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