Between 1991-2001, Three 6 Mafia carved their own lane within hip-hop by meshing the sounds of gangster rap, Memphis soul, deep, dark 808s, haunting keys, and horror movie samples.
The origins of the group, first dubbed the Backyard Posse, began in 1991 with South Memphis brothers DJ Paul and the late Lord Infamous as a rap duo dubbed The Serial Killaz, drawing inspiration from their fascination with real life and fictional murderers, the occult, and N.W.A. They, with North Memphis DJ/producer Juicy J gained local notoriety in Memphis by selling their homemade mixtapes in school and performing in clubs across the city and in ‘93, they came together to form Triple 6 Mafia.
Three 6 Mafia’s hyper-violent, shocking, and disturbing lyricism softened as the group became more mainstream, but they never strayed too far from their horrorcore roots, especially in DJ Paul and Juicy J’s sound as producers. So, in the spirit of Halloween, we’ve put together 20 of the creepiest, menacing, and ghastly Three 6 Mafia songs of all time.
Three 6 Mafia, "Favorite Scary Movie" (1998)
A deep cut from the often overlooked, yet timeless compilation album, Body Parts, DJ Paul, Juicy J, Lord Infamous, & Koopsta Knicca collectively murdered the chilling track as if the beat was Drew Barrymore in the famous opener from Scream (which was sampled). “Favorite Scary Movie” not only highlights their lyrical growth and chemistry since the early 90s, but it contains the group’s second most shocking and violent lyrical imagery on wax with bars like, “I shall fulfill your every desire / Tied up to my bed made off hot barbed wire / Demons dance to the chants of the ritual / Black magic wicked Voodoo." And while horrorcore was drying up around this time, Three 6 Mafia showed that gruesome murder and mayhem with creative, immersive production and high quality lyricism still makes for a bloody good time.
Koopsta Knicca, "Slippin" (1995)
Koopsta Knicca served as a more melodic, slicker, and mystifying counterpart to Lord Infamous’ more aggressive, violent, and heavy-handed style, which helped the group further stand out. His solo cut, “Slippin” from the Live By Your Rep EP (a product of Memphis’ notorious feud with Bone Thugs & Harmony) would showcase his skills as a proverbial nightmare on the mic. While his bars were indeed solid, what “Slippin’” showed the most was his signature, low and eerie delivery that raises both the creepy and gangsta factors together.
Three 6 Mafia, "Fuckin Wit Dis Click" (1995)
On Three 6 Mafia’s debut album Mystic Stylez, the group pushed many creative boundaries between crunk, southern soul/blues, and horrorcore. On menacing “Fuckin’ With Dis Click," the group practically destroyed said boundary, providing the most shocking and disturbing performance on anything prior to and since 1995. One by one, group members delivered horrific verses with dizzying lines from Lord Infamous like, “Slit wrists with needles in my fists / And amidst', thy cliques of tricks/ No I'm not a Christian.”
Three 6 Mafia, "Mindstate" (2000)
During Three 6’s breakout moment in the hip-hop mainstream after their game-changing fourth album Sixty 6, Sixty 1: When The Smoke Clears made them the first rap group from Memphis with a platinum-selling album, they began their first wave of introducing newer fans to their greatest underground hits from between 1991 and 1994. At the tail end came their most polished series of unreleased gems, Underground Vol. 3 Kings of Memphis featuring the startling closer, “Mindstate.” Gangsta Boo sets the dark and commanding tone with her opening verse while Lord Infamous and DJ Paul come through with their cult-like, chanting hook, proclaiming to the world that “Triple Six is my mindstate.” The song’s sinister vibes will put you in an evil mood for sure.
Three 6 Mafia, "Anyone Out There" (1997)
While Three 6 Mafia as a unit were never known for their storytelling, Lord Infamous was an underrated scribe with street tales, and gruesome exploits, from the stuff of nightmares. His intriguing solo cut from their album Chpt. 2 World Domination has Lord take us through an unsetting tale of a him hatching a grand plot to escape from an insane asylum after savagely murdering an entire family. It all goes awry for him and his accomplice as he awakens in a ditch, waiting for janitor to dig him out, but was suddenly murdered and dumped in the same ditch, leaving him buried alive. “Anyone Out There” highlights the group’s range from their unique styles of lyricism, making this one of their most haunting compelling tracks ever. See if the bloodcurdling scratches mixed with screams make your skin crawl.
Three 6 Mafia f. Project Pat & Ludacris, "Dis Bitch, Dat Hoe" (2001)
Leave it to DJ Paul & Juicy J to make a song about pimpin’ sound like the theme of the final act of a slasher film set in Memphis — why Three 6 never made a horror film, we'll never know. Their intimidating and haunting production finds Project Pat and Ludacris deliver some of their most nimble verses while Crunchy Black’s opening lines from “Tongue Ring” are sampled as the hook.
Like his performance in the movie Choices, Big Pat really steals the scene on “Dis Bitch, Dat Hoe” with his fun, bouncy flows matched with a menacing delivery, painting the picture of the meanest Gorilla Pimp in the M-Town. This is a ghoulish Three 6 cut that deserves a revisit, along with their equally impressive Luda & DTP collab, “Go 2 Sleep.”
DJ Paul, “Sweet Robbery Pt. 1” (1994)
It can be argued that most of DJ Paul’s most impressive and scariest work came between 1991 and 1996. “Sweet Robbery Pt. 1” in particular is not for the easily disturbed or squeamish, even by ‘90s hip-hop standards. In graphic and immersive detail, Paul sets up a very violent armed robbery, turned murder, of a local drug dealer with the help of Crunchy Black, Lord Infamous, and Koopsta Knicca (none delivered verses, but appeared during the closing skit). Paul's gory rhymes tests the stomachs of even the most hardened rap fans with lines like “Pick up the baby that's smelling like shit / Throw his lil ass in the washing machine," while impressing with “One angel called up and said (You know you're wrong) / But one demon came along and said (Shoot that tone!) / But yo the devil got the advantage cause I'm full of da weed / He said stang on them bitches like a bumblebee.”
Tear Da Club Up Thugs, "I’m Losing It” (1999)
Three 6’s founding members DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, and Juicy J returned in 1999 as the Tear Da Club Up Thugs: the purest manifestation and evolution of the hyper-aggressive and horror-fueled sound that made them stars in the first place. Backed by samples from The Usual Suspects, Lord, the self-proclaimed Kaiser Soze, takes us on a psychological journey as he's in a losing battle with his mind against the devil. It's a wild and compelling tale from the darkest imagination of Lord Infamous that will deeply resonate, long after the song ends.
Killa Klan Kaze, "Be A Witness" (1995)
The original trio of Scanman, MC Mack, and K-Rock served as counterparts to Three 6 Mafia, but stood out as more consistent and impressive lyricists in their own right. And the group showcases their stark differences on the gloomy, yet gangsta track, “Be A Witness”. The low-key Bone Thugs diss grabbed listeners by the earlobes and dragged them through a terrifying soundscape of suspense and pure terror. The group's bone shattering (no pun intended), verses are also quite dynamic, proving that Three 6 weren't the only group hold the M-Town down.
Three 6 Mafia f. Kingpin Skinny Pimp & Playa Fly, “Live By Yo Rep” (1995)
It's known that the Memphis rap scene to this day is littered with beefs and grudges, but one thing for sure is when out-of-towners disrespect the M-Town, those individuals soon become an entire legion, especially after Bone Thugs called Memphis a “bunk ass town” and accused them of stealing their style in a VIBE interview. And while rappers like Tommy Wright III, Skinny Pimp, and Killa Klan Kaze all came through with diss tracks, Three 6 Mafia famously defended Memphis rap proudly with the gory, “Live By Yo Rep.” Each member, including Prophet Posse affiliates Skinny Pimp and Playa Fly hopped on the track, delivered stellar verses that accused Bone Thug of stealing their styles while threatening to torture them in the most ungodly ways possible.
DJ Paul & Juicy J f. Gangsta Boo & Crunchy Black , “I Thought You Knew” (1995)
In a rare collab with Crunchy Black that would be later remixed on her second album Enquiring Minds *69, Gangsta Boo is at her most menacing on “I Thought You Knew." She spits plenty of tough talk over DJ Paul & Juicy J’s dark, evil beat.
DJ Paul & Lord Infamous, "Da Scarecrow" (1991)
Long before the 6-double-6 was formed, Paul and Lord broke out locally as The Serial Killaz. And while their very first tape shows a clear influence from N.W.A., the extreme shock factor on The Serial Killaz mixtape is legendary nightmare fuel. The duo takes a page from John Carpenter as we listen to the birth (and infamy) of Lord’s alter ego “The Scarecrow.” The two tell a gruesome tale of a night filled with horrific murders throughout Memphis. The samples from the original Halloween film enhances the all-too-creepy storytelling, making this one of the more underrated horror songs in hip hop.
Three 6 Mafia, "Destruction Terror” (1996)
By 1995, the group’s sound was solidified by a fusion of their distinct crunk style with horrorcore and classic blues and soul samples. And while menacing sounding tunes like “Break Da Law ‘95” and the original “Tear Da Club Up” are iconic and groundbreaking in their own way, the more polished, lyrical, and eerier “Destruction Terror” unleash the group at their most unholy.
DJ Paul & Lord Infamous, “Serial Killaz” (1991)
“Serial Killers” just might be the most frightening song on DJ Paul and Lord Infamous’ The Serial Killaz mixtape because of its gritty, lo-fi horrorcore sound, horror flick samples, and the duo’s grisley lyrical descriptions of their butchered victims who traveled into a cornfield. While similar to “The Scarecrow,” “Serial Killers” amplifies the scares by replicating the more frantic, scarier vibes of horror films combined with the darkness of Memphis in the beat and verses. One could even say that it is in the same fashion as when Wu-Tang often brought us into a hip-hop dojo in Staten Island on Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Either way, the duo creeps us all out inside their lyrical house of horrors on the song.
Three 6 Mafia f. Killa Klan Kaze, M-Child, Gangsta Blac, and Indo-G, “Body Parts” (1996)
The first installment of their “Body Parts” series showcases the entire Prophet Posse at their most fearsome. Each of them let their lyrical fangs loose across the sinister church organs with 808s as the Prophet Posse made a monsterous statement, declaring that each of them serve as the body parts of one unit, and, If they catch you, especially on Halloween, they’ll kill you, rob you, beat you, then dump your body parts into their trunk. Of all of their explosive posse cuts, this one is among the hardest they’ve ever done.
DJ Paul & Lord Infamous, “187 Invitation” (1994)
Paul & Lord’s Come With Me To Hell mixtape is a huge cult classic among die-hard Three 6 Mafia fans as it is a more mature, focused improvement on their first projects. And this is also the point where Lord starts to get in his bag creatively as he creepily shows off the range of his vocal delivery on the chilling, “187 Invitation.”
Three 6 Mafia f. Playa Fly, “Now I’m Hi Pt. 3” (1995)
Halloween is the perfect time to get stoned to this song. The airy, ghost-like production over the sample from 1994’s “Smoked Out, Loced Out” brings you to a dark, netherworld filled with bud smoke while Fly, Boo, and Lord nimbly ride the beat together.
Triple Six Mafia f. La Chat, “Body Full Of Bullet Holes” (1994)
This brooding, lo-fi hit was one of their unreleased joints from their rare tape, 3-6 Feet Underground: The Unreleased Demon. It’s a gloomy melody that features a surprisingly solid lead from Crunchy Black alongside Juicy J as they both trade bars about stashing their dead opps in their “stash spots.” It’s perfect for those long walks home trick or treating, of course. What makes “Body Full of Bullet Holes” even more special is La Chat’s verse as this was one of her very first appearances with Three 6 Mafia. Her stronger and more gritter approach, albeit a much softer voice at the time, made her a compatible contrast to Gangsta Boo.
Three 6 Mafia f. Pastor Troy, "44 Killers" (2000)
As the electrifying intro track to Three 6 Mafia’s career defining When The Smoke Clears, “44 Killers” set the rowdy tone for the rest of the album. Pastor Troy’s roaring ad-libs in the background makes the song a dark, hype, boot-stomper of an intro. A special honorable mention goes to the intro on their fifth album, “They Bout To Find Yo Body” is worth a look as well.
Three 6 Mafia, “Sleep” (2000)
Three 6 Mafia perfected the art sampling themes and scenes from horror movies and flipping Jim Manzie’s “Sleep Baby Sleep” from Sleepstalker is no exception. The dreamy, infectious beat lures the listener in as if The Sandman, or worse, was presenting them with everything they could ever desire — especially with the 808s and haunting chorus. But, the Mafia 6 comes to slay with their elaborate verses in tandem with one another, plotting another armed robbery. “Sleep” is one of their more atmospheric songs that will mesmerize you.