DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, and Juicy J are the formed the Triple 6 Mafia in 1991 and were grinding for years before their indie first album, and expanded team roster, debuted in 1995. Mystic Stylez was part of the whole horrorcore style of rap favored by Insane Clown Posse, Geto Boys, some members of Wu Tang and a bunch of other, lesser-known rappers—it was dark and cruel and gritty, and it has largely faded away. In the year 2000, after more lineup changes and a name change, the band landed with Columbia Records and scored their first platinum album: When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1. This was the warm up to Most Known Unknown, another platinum plate that featured the best single of their careers: Stay Fly.
Stay Fly was the group’s foray into crunk, and their mix of gangsta themes with a mainstream sound led them to score the film Hustle and Flow (which was the predecessor to the TV show Empire), for which they became the first rap band to win a grammy (for It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp). It was also the second rap song to win an Oscar.
Stay Fly also featured rap duo 8Ball & MJG and Young Buck and G-Unit’s Young Buck. It was originally called “Stay High,” but they changed it so they could get on the radio. It makes more sense with the original title.
There’s no way you can hear this song and not have it stick in your skull. Go ahead, try. I dare you.
Further listening: The whole Most Known Unknown album is pretty good, but my fave is “Hard Out Here For A Pimp.”