Three 6 Mafia secured its place in hip-hop history and the annals of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences when “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp,” from the highly acclaimed “Hustle & Flow,” took home the Best Achievement In Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song) Oscar statue on Sunday, March 5, 2006.
The Academy Award win was the most visible of a long series of triumphs for Three 6 Mafia. That year’s Best Song Oscar also represented a major victory for hip-hop itself as the groundbreaking art form, as represented by Three 6 Mafia, broke out of the underground to achieve bona fide recognition from the mainstream. That same year, Three 6 Mafia was presented with the Key to The City of Memphis by Mayor Willie W. Herenton, the city’s first African-American mayor and became the first rap performers to be given a “Note on Beale Street,” the Memphis equivalent of a star on Hollywood Boulevard.
Originally released in late 2005, Most Known Unknown, the last major label release from Three 6 Mafia prior to Last To Walk, was singled out as “one of the year’s best hip-hop albums,” by Kelefa Sanneh in a “Critic’s Choice” review in The New York Times. The RIAA platinum-certified Most Known Unknown entered the Billboard Top 200 album sales chart at #3 while also debuting at #1 on both the R&B Album Sales and the Rap Album Sales charts.
Most Known Unknown once again upped the ante on Three 6 Mafia, whose previous album, the RIAA Gold-certified Da Unbreakables, debuted at #4 on the Top 200 in 2003 and the Rap album sales chart at #1. Da Unbreakables became the #1 best-selling album in Birmingham, Chattanooga, Jackson, Knoxville, Little Rock, Memphis, Mobile, Nashville, and Paducah.
Garnering a cult-like following since their humble beginnings peddling TDK mix tapes, the Memphis, Tennessee-based Three 6 Mafia personify the essence of Down South Hip-Hop. With an ever-growing string of gold and platinum accomplishments, the group has never lost its core connection to the pulse of the underground. Three 6 Mafia has had a series of successful recordings dating back to 1995 and the group’s initial releases: the first independent release, Smoked Out, Loced Out, the first full-length album, Mystic Stylez (which sold more than 200,000 copies), and the Live By Your Rep EP.
Three 6 Mafia scored its first major label success in 1997 with Chapter 2: World Domination (Relativity), which sold more than 800,000 copies. The group claimed gold status on the destructive lead single, “Tear Da Club Up.” Even more success came with the follow-up album, When The Smoke Clears, in 2000. That album debuted at #6 on Billboard’s Top 200 album sales chart, and has sold well over one million copies. As if musical success weren’t enough, the group moved into the video realm, releasing the Choices DVD and Choices soundtrack album in 2001. The Choices DVD has sold more than 100,000 units (which is platinum status for home DVDs/videos). A well-received follow-up DVD, Choices II: The Set-Up, was released in March 2005.
Three 6 Mafia starred in the MTV reality show “Adventures In Hollyhood.”