Following years of rivalry in their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee (as two of very few DJs and rappers in the city to have any real talent at the time), the duo who would perform as the 'Triple 6 Mafia' before adopting the less off-putting name of Three 6 Mafia would make their debut in 1995 with "Mystic Stylez". Composed primarily of DJ Paul and Juicy J, the two both produce the whole thing and rap it out (with a little help from some friends and family where the vocals are concerned), in order to showcase their distinctive Horrorcore style, a style that would be used by other dark Hip Hop acts such as Necro, the Insane Clown Posse and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (would receive some attention here). The Horrorcore sub-genre in Hip Hop is focused upon over-the-top violence and demonic themes to set their work apart from others who were in the game at the time.
1. "The Beginning" (Intro)
2. "Break The Law '95"
After a cold introduction, we see that things move right on as the act come out with a raw joint and a track that I saw as a pretty significant one as we see how on it we get the first signs of the Dirty South club scene where Hip Hop is concerned as they show how the Memphis Buck sound is and just how well it went on to act as the foundations to Crunk in Atlanta later on in this decade. It's a raw one and sets the thing off nicely.
3. "Da Summer"
Moving it on a little bit, we see that on this one they come out with a joint that has them calming things down significantly as they bring out a little something that has them ensuring that they are able to show that's there variety in what they do and that they are capable of some rather nice commercial-friendly work to balance-out things (when you consider just how raw some parts of the album are).
4. "Live By Yo' Rep"
They quickly wish to establish exactly who they are and what they represent as they get into this one and perform a concept track where we hear just how ruthless they are. On it, we have them joined by a few others to come out with a diss track directed towards Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It's a killer track and shows just how inventive they get when talking of what they wish to do to enemies when you catch them in a certain mood.
5. "In The Game"
Another straight killer piece on the record, we see that on this one we have Three 6 recruiting Gangsta Boo (a female MC seen to ride with the crew on many occasions). It's nice to see her make way for a different twist to the record and set things up nicely for the two main rappers. We see that Juicy J's approach to delivering the raps hasn't changed at all since the mid-nineties and over 15 years into his career it still seems to do the jb for him as he goes in like only he can.
6. "Now I'm High" (Part 3)
Clearly a sequel to a track that they recorded earlier on in their career (on the mixtape circuit) we find that here they do a great job at creating a suitable atmosphere as they slow down the pace for some weed rhymes where they just get loose with it and calm down all the sorts of things that we've heard throughout the rest of the album. It's a big one from them and it fits right in with the mix of things.
7. "Long Night"
This was one of my favourites from the album and much of my liking for it comes from the way that they track is composed. It's just too much as we see just how well the Juice Mna nd DJ Paul have managed to come out with a funky set to make for the perfect setting for the likes of Lord Infamous and others who wish to come out with flows which resemble those of the first pimp rapper Too $hort back in the late eighties.
8. "Sweet Robbery" (Part 2)
Another follow-up piece to old music that they did as 'Triple 6 Mafia', we see that on this one it sounds as if the music had been influenced much more by their former musical direction where the music was much darker and they had less problems coming up with the most shocking material that they could possibly think-up. It's a nice one here, but I can see why some really wouldn't want to hear this kind of thing.
9. "Back Against The Wall" (Part 2)
Opening this one up with "My name is the scarecrow," you can tell that this type of Rap was from a whole different era, and I felt that it was great to see not only how the act have progressed, but also who the Hip Hop world has moved on from days where now it's much harder to come out with anything that sounds all that original (to those who have heard all the passing phases of a genre over 30 years deep). From it they come out with another smooth Dirty South killer.
10. "F**kin' With Dis Click"
With this one we have them taking on intimidation tactics to do their thing as they bring out a track that has them ripping out some cold rhymes where they flow more about the sorts of thing that they are prepared to do if they have any problems. Here we have them taking on a hardcore Horrorcore style and I felt that made for some effective material, but things only designed for few who are likely to enjoy its darkness.
11. "All Or Nothin'"
For this one we have another funk jam that I felt fitted right in here as we see that they come out with another joint that it designed to take the edge off tracks such as the last one to show that they are capable of some more general Rap for the time. It may not sound as professional-sounding as those from the East Coast or West Coast from this time, but they make the most out of what they have available to them.
12. "Gotta Touch 'Em" (Part 2)
Here we get even more of that raw Buck material as we see that they are trying to show just how well their music (which takes 'Gangsta Rap' to a whole different level) has them able to come up with material that would discourage any from wanting to mess with them. It's another big one on the album and as it slaps away we see that they come out with more quality Rap music that has them displaying an innovative style.
13. "Tear The Club Up, The Real"
A track they would later revisit as they found more of a following (outside Memphis) we see that here we get the sort of thing that had for the first developments towards Crunk. On it, we get the Buck chants which you could have expected to get from a crowd in the club atmosphere where this type of material was played. It makes for some killer stuff that I can't imagine fans of Crunk will be able to take themselves away from (if they can get down with the history of it).
14. "Big Bizness" (Lude)
15. "Mystic Stylez"
After a short, West Coast-influenced one, we see that here we get a track that has them exhibiting their Horrorcore style to the best of their ability. I thought that it was great to see just how well they managed to perform such material that would have put-off many, but they do it in a way that makes it sound appealing. We have an all-star Prophet Posse line-up here and so it stands out on the album.
16. "Porno Movie"
They end the album with this one as we see that they come out with a track that seems to be there as just a little piece to round the album off. Sampling a little Michael Jackson, here we have an explicit track and one that you have to say sounds as if it was just a development towards later things that they would bring in to many of their later albums. It's not the best here, but it's a nice way to close it off.
Although this album really isn't for many, I thought that it was a good one to just see exactly where Three 6 Mafia came from and to see the amazing transitions they've made over the years to come from such ruthless Rap to Euro-Dance-styled stuff by 2009 and beyond. There's lots to like about it if you're into this kind of thing, and although I can't say I really am, the way they do it made me enjoy it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Break da Law "95"
4 Live by Yo Rep (Bone Dis)
5 In da Game
6 Now I'm Hi, Pt.3
7 Long Nite
8 Sweet Robbery, Pt. 2
9 Back Against da Wall
10 Fuckin Witdis Click
11 All or Nothin
12 Gotta Touch 'Em, Pt. 2
13 Tear da Club Up
14 Big Bizness [Screwed]
15 Mystic Stylez
16 Porno Movie