They have a string of gold and platinum singles and albums. They were the first rap group to win an Oscar and to perform at the prestigious Academy Awards ceremony. They had their own hit MTV reality TV show. But for Three 6 Mafia, it has always been about the music.So it’s fitting that the Memphis rap powerhouse’s fifth major-label release, the astonishing The Last 2 Walk, extends its flawless track record and demonstrates that the group remains among rap’s premier outfits.
Three 6 Mafia masterminds Juicy J and DJ Paul drench the high-octane collection with the type of bone-crushing lyricism and searing, addictive production that have become hallmarks of their material for the last decade-plus.After experiencing a number of line-up changes through the years, the group is finally pared down to only its essential members. “We’re the last two dudes to walk, DJ Paul and Juicy J,” Juicy J explains, hence the album title. “We’ve been putting it down since day one. In this business, you’ve got to be focused and a lot of people aren’t focused.
A lot of rappers come and go, because it isn’t easy. I understand what all artists go through, and that’s the main thing that keeps us going -- the grind and staying focused.”Produced primarily by Juicy J and DJ Paul, The Last 2 Walk contains the type of mesmerizing soundscapes that have made them in-demand producers for such platinum acts as Ludacris, Chingy and Young Buck, as well as their own artists Project Pat and Lil Wyte.Lead single “I’d Rather” kicks the campaign off with a sexually-charged vibe as Juicy J and DJ Paul flow over raucous drums and frantic keyboards about their sexual desires.
“You’ve got spring break and summertime coming up,” DJ Paul says. “Spring break is a highly sexual time of year. It’s a good song to be played at the spring break and into the summer because it’s something everybody can relate to, except virgins -- and even then, they’re curious.”Three 6 Mafia keeps the focus on the ladies with a high-powered “Lolli Lolli (Pop That Body).” This fast-paced future club anthem features Project Pat and Hypnotize Minds’ new artist Yung D. The song’s aim: to get women dancing. “On Three 6 Mafia albums, we always try to put at least one song on there for the girls,” DJ Paul says. “It’s something they can dance to and shake their booties to. You want the girls to be happy.”That is certainly true, but Three 6 Mafia’s earned their stripes and hood status in large part to the “get buck” style of rap that they helped popularize. It’s a crunk-like style of music that hits hard in the clubs and features rowdy chants and frenetic beats that is on full display with The Last 2 Walk songs “Weed Blow Pills,” “Trap Boom” and “Get Ya Robbed.”The group then gets smooth on “That’s Right,” which features Akon, and “Hood Star,” with Lyfe Jennings.