It may sound repetitive.
And there’s a reason for that.
To go from a place where there was no rappers known outside of a ten mile radius, to people the world over credit you with giving your city a “sound” that’s an honor.
Telling the history of Hip-Hop without giving people their due is a travesty and does an injustice to the Black youth culture that’s exploded all over the world.
Prior to DJ Paul, DJ Spanish Fly, DJ Squeeky, and Juicy J (among others), Memphis was known for Graceland, Elvis, Stax, and all of that. Not to mention, Three 6 Mafia had been making music for almost a decade before most Americans knew of them (shout out to “Ridin’ Spinners”).
DJ Paul was DJing since the so-called Golden Era of Rap, making mixtapes in the traditional sense of the word. Eventually, he would intersperse local MCs in, and, as he learned to produce, his mixes became equal parts hits, equal parts original songs from his group the Serial Killaz.
Initially DJ Paul rented studio time, but the first thing any producer worth their salt knows is, studio time is expensive. You’re better off buying your own. And that’s what Paul did. He dominated the south side of Memphis, Juicy J, ran the North. When they came together, Three 6 Mafia was born. The group would be a part of the wave of Southern rappers that changed the direction of the music forever.
But the real kicker was when Three 6 Mafia did the unthinkable.
They’re by no means the first to write a Rap song for a movie but they are the first Rap group to perform in front of the Academy Awards crowd.
Now that…that put Memphis on the map. Many of the people watching the Oscars never heard of DJ Paul nem, and DJ Paul had to Google what an Oscar was. But after they performed “It’s Hard Out There For a Pimp” AND won the Oscar for Best Original song, everyone was hella familiar with each other then. And no one would forget the Memphis rap scene again…or Three 6 Mafia.