Three 6 Mafia
The first crew to put Memphis on the rap map, Three 6 Mafia busted onto the national scene with their rowdy crossover hit "Tear Da Club Up" in 1996. Originally known as the Triple 6 Mafia, their blend of hypnotic yet hype production and over-the-top lyrical attacks soon endeared them to the nation at large. They continued to drop independent albums throughout the late '90s, and in 2000 scored another huge hit with their classic codeine-endorsing single "Sippin' on Some Syrup." In 2001 they ventured into film with the epic crime-life movie Choices. They returned in 2003 with Da Unbreakables and had their best Billboard debut two years later with Most Known Unknown. In 2005, they co-wrote "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" for the movie Hustle and Flow. The song was performed by the film's star, Terence Howard, and would earn the group their first Oscar. When Howard declined to perform the song at the 2006 ceremony, Three 6 Mafia became the first rap group on an Oscar stage. "You know what? I think it just got a little easier out here for a pimp," Oscar host Jon Stewart joked after their performance.