I remember having a conversation on Facebook a few months back. Word had gotten out that DJ Paul was getting Three 6 Mafia back together. Whoa!!!!
At first I was VERY skeptical. I mean, Three 6 Mafia as WE know it hasn't been rockin' a COMPLETE unit since 2000-2001. Hypnotize Mindz had a CRAZY lineup over the years going as far back as their Prophet Posse days: Kingpin Skinny Pimp, Gangsta Blac, K-Rock, T-Tock, MC Mack, Scanman, Playa Fly, La Chat, Project Pat, Lil Chrome, Lil Wyte, Frayser Boy and many many many more.
[pic above, The Original Backyard Posse a.k.a Prophet Posse: (front row l-r) Playa Fly, Lord Infamous, DJ Paul, Crunchy Black. (in bandana) Koopsta Knicca. (with arm up in the background) Gangsta Blac]
[pic above, Triple 6 Mafia aka Three 6 Mafia: (bottow row l-r) Koopsta Knicca, DJ Paul, Lord Infamous (top row l-r) Gangsta Boo, Crunchy Black, Juicy J]
Three 6 Mafia being a group with an extended tenure in the rap game has had its ups and downs. Aside from selling over 30 million records as a unit, they have had personal disagreements that changed the lineup many times over the last decade and a half.
The changes really started around the group's first platinum album, When The Smoke Clears. The collective had released many solo and group albums that were critically acclaimed and are considered Southern Rap classics. But this album was the album that changed EVERYTHING with the hits "Sippin On Some Sizzup" feat. UGK and "Who Run It".
But as many success stories goes, allegations of mismanagment of money & song credits began to become too much to bear. Some members started to look for greener pastures elsewhere.
At that time, Gangsta Boo changed her name to Lady Boo and was rumored to start doing gospel rap. Koopsta Knicca went independent for a minute but after a few videos on Joe Gotti's infamous local public access program UGTV, Koopsta went in on EVERYBODY from Three 6 Mafia on 2 different occasions HERE and HERE. Unfortunately after those interviews, Koopsta was accused & charged of a robbery of the same guys that appeared in the UGTV videos with him. He did a short stint in jail.
Now, that left Lord Infamous and Crunchy Black who soldiered through Three 6's following releases, Da Unbreakables & Most Known Unknowns. After Da Unbreakables, Lord Infamous kinda..left. His departure wasn't explained at the time but it was discovered that Lord suffered a heart attack during that time & a stroke.
After Most Known Unknowns and Three 6's subsequent Oscar win, Crunchy Black left the group soon after. During the time when other members left, Crunchy spoke out of the same UGTV program that Koopsta Knicca did years earlier HERE and HERE. But he ended up having the same fate. A few years after he left the group, he was shot in Las Vegas. He survived the shooting.
DJ Paul & Juicy, being the last 2 left eventually went their separate ways when the Last 2 Walk album dropped and Sony/Columbia dragged their feet to release the unreleased album titled Laws Of Power.
So, as a fan...I was definitely excited with the Da Mafia 6ix reunion, even if it was a quasi-reunion (sans Juicy J). Three 6 Mafia's new incarnation was good as it was gonna get especially seeing all the changes that happened over the years. Even with Juicy J's meteoric rise and subsequent affiliation with Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang imprint, I still knew it was a win for Memphis. This group was together for 20 years.
Shoot, the Temptations broke up and got back together again. The Jacksons even recorded again after Michael blew up. The Supremes...well they...well you get the picture. This is kinda what happens to groups alot of times.
In November 2013 after a slew of in-studio videos, tweets and interviews, Da Mafia 6ix's mixtape The 6ix Commandments was released. The internets were set ablaze. Memphis Flyer even said, " ...this is a solid release from one of rap music's most prolific, trendsetting and prosperous groups." Everything was going great for the new incarnation of Three 6 Mafia. Especially with the lead single, "Go Hard" feat. Yelawolf. It sounded like 1994 Triple 6 Mafia mane.
Unfortanately, one of the founding members of Three 6 Mafia, Lord Infamous died on December 20, 2013. Lord Infamous a.k.a The Scarecrow was definitely the heart of Three 6 Mafia and all of the members stated that even during their times of petty in-fighting, Infamous ALWAYS stayed neutral. It was because of Infamous' great rapport with most of the group members that was the catalyst for Da Mafia 6ix as it is.
Even Juicy J tweeted:
R.I.P. lord Infamous
— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) December 21, 2013
Thx you for your prayers , I'm very hurt, can't believe it's true
— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) December 22, 2013
Lil Wayne (who was featured on the classic record, "Playa Why U Hatin' (Hypnotize Cash Money)")
R.I.P. Lord Infamous. One of the best of us.
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) December 24, 2013
R.I.P. To Lord Infamous of Three Six Mafia. You'll B Missed Homie!!!! Much Love!!!! Respect
— Young Bleed (@YoungBleed_) December 23, 2013
RIP Lord Infamous
— Violent J & 2 Dope (@icp) December 22, 2013
No words can explain how i'm feeling rite now R.I.P. Lord Infamous
— IG:Frayserbizzle (@FrayserBoy) December 21, 2013
— Bun B (@BunBTrillOG) December 21, 2013
He gave us the name #Triple6Mafia he was a pioneer, he was a god, he was my friend. RIP Ricky "Lord Infamous" Dunnigan
— LIL WYTE New ® KOM (@Lil_Wyte_) December 21, 2013
I would assume with THIS much history, hopefully in 2014 will be the resurgence of one of the most influential groups in Hip-Hop ever. Lord Infamous, who at times seem to be uncredited with the slowed-down, sing-songy, tougue-twisting style that became synomous with Memphis rappers and other major label acts like Bone Thugs N Harmony, Nelly and even Twista will be remembered as his legacy is carried on.
The South as a region seems to lose its BEST artists in the last months of the year (October, November, December) like Pimp C, DJ Screw, Soulja Slim and now Lord Infamous. It's crazy but just know that we witnessed one the greatest rappers to come from the region.
Now, let's take a trip back to the classics of Da' Mafia 6ix NKA Three 6 Mafia AND Lord Infamous:
LONG LIVE THE MAFIA & R.I.P TO RICKY "LORD INFAMOUS" DUNIGAN!!!!!