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Most Known Unknown

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Album Review

As with practically every successive Three 6 Mafia album, Most Known Unknown is more of the same, executed a little bit better than before. That means a parade of first-rate productions by Juicy J and DJ Paul, the group's primary members, and plenty of street-level rhymes of the most hardcore variety. "Stay Fly" stands out — not only amid the rest of the album, but amid the entire Three 6 catalog — with its propulsive intensity and crafty hook. Juicy and Paul sample an old Willie Hutch song here, and the result is striking. Sure, Three 6 has always had a knack for roof-raisers like this, going back to similarly styled anthems like "Tear da Club Up" and "Hit a Muthafucka," but none have had such crossover potential. Features by Eightball, MJG, and Young Buck — who are also from Memphis — make the song even more dizzying, as the verses come quickly and hit hard. Nothing else on Most Known Unknown comes close to matching the excellence of "Stay Fly," unfortunately, though there are plenty of good songs here. "Swervin'" and "When I Pull Up at the Club" are two such instances, while "Side 2 Side" shows off Juicy and Paul's ability to import concurrent trends, in this case the "we-don't-dance dance" of Terror Squad's "Lean Back." And of course, you'll find all kinds of gratuitous profanity, sex talk, and drug references, along with over-the-top showboating aggression — everything that has come to be expected from Three 6. Clocking in at 20-plus songs in roughly 80 minutes Most Known Unknown is indeed more of the same, plus a little extra quality, so if you're a fan, you won't be disappointed. On the other hand, if you're new to the group, likely introduced to them via "Stay Fly," you should expect over-the-top hardcore Southern rap. The beats are all done in-house and are the main draw. The rapping is not bad, though what the guys lack in technique and invention, they compensate for with lyrical excess. Three 6 Mafia is the hardcore of the hardcore, and not for the faint of heart.


Formed: Memphis, TN

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Evolving slowly but steadily over the years, Three 6 Mafia began as an exploitative, horror-themed underground hardcore rap sensation ("666 Mafia," get it?) yet went on to enjoy relatively mainstream success years later, eventually winning an Oscar and scoring some major hits. The Memphis, TN, group's membership varied from album to album, with the one constant being the duo of Juicy J and DJ Paul, who are producers as well as rappers. Other notable Mafia affiliates at one time or another include...
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Most Known Unknown, Three 6 Mafia
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