Three 6 Mafia vs. 8Ball & MJG -- still keepin' it real for Memphis

The Village Voice has a double feature on two of Memphis' longest-running, most successful rap acts, Three 6 Mafia and 8ball & MJG. The two groups -- the former from North Memphis, the latter from Orange Mound -- emerged from the same nascent rap scene in the early '90s, and they have collaborated a few times over the years, but they have always seemed to be flip sides of the same coin: Three 6 with their ominous tracks and primal flows, 8ball & MJG with a smoother, funkier sound. In the past few years, their fortunes diverged somewhat: Three 6 won an Oscar for their work on the "Hustle & Flow" soundtrack and landed a couple of reality-TV gigs, while 8ball & MJG drifted a bit while signed to Sean Combs' Bad Boy label. Now both acts are poised to release new albums -- Three 6 even lined up a guest appearance by global rave DJ Tiesto, and 8ball & MJG are now signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle imprint.

For the initiated, the most intriguing part of the article might be 8ball's implication (to put it lightly) that Three 6 has sold out.

"It's just my opinion, but after the Oscar, they weren't the same," he says. "Even their hood stuff don't sound like that Three 6 Mafia that took over Memphis, after we kicked the door open. I think people's music changes with their surroundings, sometimes."

Juicy J of Three 6, who counts 8ball & MJG as mentors, bristled at the suggestion.

"If someone said, 'If you do this song, you can make 10 to 15 to 20 million dollars,' would you be like, 'Nah, I'm gonna just chill with my hardcore fan base and nickel and dime here and there'?"

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  • About Links to Memphis

Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.