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Together with production partner Juicy J, DJ Paul played an important role in the South's rise to prominence within the once East and West Coast-dominated rap industry. Behind the duo's leadership, Three 6 Mafia rose from an underground phenomenon in Memphis to a nationally recognized rap empire, landing themselves an Academy Award before spinning off numerous solo albums for the collective's many members in the mid- to late '90s. Like his production partner, DJ Paul specialized in dark, eerie tracks driven by bass-heavy beats and haunting sounds. He also raps as a member of Three 6 Mafia and contributes rhymes to most of the albums he produces for such artists as Project Pat, Gangsta Boo, La Chat, and Tear da Club Up Thugs. Moreover, DJ Paul ventured into filmmaking with Choices (2001), a straight-to-video film starring most of the Three 6 Mafia collective. Juicy J (born Jordan Houston) and DJ Paul (Paul Beauregard) first came together at the dawn of the '90s, when they worked as DJs in the Memphis area. The two soon began producing their own tracks and invited numerous Memphis rappers to rap over the beats. They released the resulting tracks locally as Triple 6 Mafia; years later these recordings would resurface as re-releases. In 1995, the loose collective changed its name to Three 6 Mafia and self-released its debut album, Mystic Stylez. The album became an underground success, and Three 6 Mafia, in turn, signed a distribution deal with Relativity for its Hypnotized Minds imprint. Throughout the late '90s, Juicy J and DJ Paul produced numerous albums a year for Hypnotized Minds and capitalized on the lucrative distribution deal. By the end of the decade, the two producers extended their brand and helmed an empire, culminating with their commercial breakthrough album, When the Smoke Clears (2000), which debuted at number six on Billboard's album chart. His first solo album, Underground 16: For da Summa, landed in 2002; then in 2006 Paul, Juicy J, and Crunchy Black won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from the film Hustle & Flow. After Three 6 Mafia released the 2008 album Last 2 Walk, the group took a break. Paul released the solo album Scale-A-Ton in 2009; then in 2012 he released A Person of Interest, an LP that was hip-hop-based but incorporated some dance and dubstep. Paul, Lord Infamous, Crunchy Black, Koopsta Knicca, and Gangsta Boo reunited in 2014 as Da Mafia 6ix, and by the end of the year they collaborated with the Insane Clown Posse on the album Reindeer Games, which was released by ICP's Psychopathic imprint. One year later the label released Paul's solo album Master of Evil, which featured guest appearances from Violent J, Yelawolf, and Lil Wyte. ~ Jason Birchmeier