Three 6 Mafia started in 1991 with two brothers, DJ Paul and Lord Infamous who chose to collaborate with Juicy J under the name Triple 6 Mafia. The hip hop group formed through release of many EPs off of their own record company Prophet Entertainment (Later renamed Hypnotize Minds Records). During their early career, they also were able to propel the careers of several other rappers.
In 1995, the group released its first official album, Mystic Stylez. It had recorded this album by using the profits from its highly successful underground tape Smoked Out, Loced Out. This was followed by the Live by Yo Rep EP, which took lyrical jabs at Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and their second album Chapter 1: Da End.
In 1997, they were signed to Relativity Records where they released the first major record release Chapter 2: World Domination. During this time, they were able to develop their technical style to gain some attention from major hip hop audiences with the single “Tear Da Club Up '97”. At this point in the group’s evolution, having signed to a major label and having scored an admirable hit single, group leaders Juicy J and DJ Paul began extending their brand by releasing group member solo albums (Gangsta Boo, Koopsta Knicca), non-group member solo albums (Project Pat, the Kaze, etc.), and, also ,compilation-styled albums (Tear Da Club Up Thugs, Hypnotize Camp Posse, Da Headbussaz, and Prophet Posse). Around this time, they also released collections of tracks from earlier years (Underground Vol. 1: 1991-1994, Underground Vol. 2: Club Memphis, Underground Vol. 3: Kings of Memphis).
In 2000, the official Three 6 Mafia follow-up to the Chapter 2 album, When the Smoke Clears, was released. With the success of the lead single, "Sippin’ on Some Syrup" in a few non-Southern markets, The album debuted at number six on Billboard’s album charts. It received no MTV and little national radio rotation. This is the year Koopsta Knicca left the group. They, later, began work on the direct-to-video film Choices: The Movie and affiliated solo albums. Choices and its accompanying soundtrack (Choices: The Album) were released in 2001. Gangsta Boo left the group this same year.
The year of 2002 saw two solo releases from the group's two super producers. One from DJ Paul called Underground Vol.16 For Da Summa and one called Chronicles of the Juice Man by Juicy J. In 2003, Three 6 Mafia released the album Da Unbreakables, which features collaborations with Lil' Flip, Pimp C (from UGK), Lil' Wyte, Frayser Boy, and Project Pat. The album produced the hit "Ridin' Spinnaz," which featured Lil' Flip.
In 2005, Three 6 Mafia released their follow up direct-to-video, Choices II: The Set-up, and their highly anticipated album Most Known Unknown. It was notable that Lord Infamous was missing from this album. The generally accepted reason was that he had been incarcerated; however, Three 6 Mafia claimed he was on "holiday.” Recently, he has officially returned to Three 6 Mafia. The album includes the hit "Stay Fly," featuring Young Buck, 8-Ball, and MJG. They, also, worked on the movie, Hustle and Flow, which would lead them to an award and released a greatest hits album Most Known Hits.
On June 7th 2006, Sony officially acknowledged the departure of original Three 6 Mafia member, Crunchy Black. He stated his reason for departure was to make a solo album that DJ Paul and Juicy J had put off for years.Story
Their name has been a topic of controversy because of some people's belief that their name refers to the Mark of the Beast. They are known to have mentioned the occult in song topics and this, with their name, has potentially affected their amount of television and radio play (until their success with "Stay Fly"). They have never claimed to worship Satan and claim to be Christians. The name's meaning is attributed to "it started with three people in the group, ended up with six, Three 6 Mafia" according to an interview with Juicy J. The group is now at 3 members again with Lord Infamous in jail and Project Pat filling in.
On the 1995 single "Live By Yo Rep", the group had accused a Cleveland group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony of stealing its style (a mix of quasi-harmonic rapping and blatant references to the occult). A rebuttal from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony came on the track "All Original" on their album Art of War that speaks critical remarks against Triple 6 Mafia. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony paid insult to Three 6 Mafia on the song "Notorious Thugs" with The Notorious B.I.G..
The group also was able to make a number of other enemies with former members such as Playa Fly, Gangsta Blac, T-Rock and Kingpin Skinny Pimp. They also lost several members such as Koopsta Knicca left due to a monetary dispute, while La Chat and Gangsta Boo are currently pursuing solo careers. Gangsta Boo was rumored to have converted to a more conservative form of Christianity, changing her name to Lady Boo, feeling that "Gangsta" was no way to express her beliefs, but she switched back to Gangsta Boo and began rapping with her old style shortly after her departure.
On March 5, 2006, Three 6 Mafia made history as they became the first African-American hip-hop group to win an Academy Award for Best Song and also became the first hip-hop artists to ever perform at the ceremony. The group was nominated for the song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from the Hustle & Flow soundtrack. This marked only the second time that a hip-hop act was nominated following Eminem. The Oscar-winning members of Three 6 Mafia were credited by their real names, Jordan Houston (Juicy J) and Paul Beauregard (DJ Paul), along with Cedric Duane Coleman (Frayser Boy), although host Jon Stewart did refer to them as Three 6 Mafia after their victory.