Bonnaroo Artist | Three 6 Mafia
Bonnaroo History | Newbie
Stage & Time | Friday | Which Stage | 7:45-8:45pm
Like we’ve been doing for many years now, we’re making it our mission to help you get acquainted with many of our favorite acts from Bonnaroo‘s 2023 lineup. After roaring back to life last summer, after two years off due to Covid and weather, this year marks Bonnaroo’s 20th installment (and 22nd anniversary), boasting not only another great and varied lineup, but also more changes and improvements then we’ve seen in years, with more flexibility in ticketing and camping, a reimagined “Outeroo” campground area, new activations, and further new ways to Roo. Back once again in its usual June 15-18 timeframe, we’re counting down the days until another great weekend on the farm.
As we dig through the entire schedule, we’ll highlight a spread of performers spanning across genres and stages, big and small, new and old, to bring you some of the most interesting, lesser-known, and most highly-recommended among this year’s crop of artists. And as our time at ‘Roo approaches, we’ll also be bringing you some special features and full list-style daily lineup guides, to help you plan your weekend ahead of the fest. While these previews won’t span every artist, and might omit some more obvious must-see acts, we hope they’ll serve as a way to help you navigate Bonnaroo’s gargantuan lineup, and to make the most of your busy weekend at the fest!
Grab your tickets right here if you haven’t already, and read on for our Bonnaroo Artist Spotlight!
While plenty of great hip hop has come out of Tennessee over the decades, no other artist has been as commercially successful or as hugely influential as Memphis icons Three 6 Mafia. Formed in 1991 while still teens, and while the gangsta rap scene was still in its early days, the group originally adopted a more horrorcore rap style, a subgenre which they helped popularize, and has remained a part of their sound, as, over the years, they delved more into southern hip hop, gangsta rap, and crunk rap, all of which formed a sound which became known as “Memphis hip hop,” a style in which Three 6 Mafia remain the most famous example (despite some of their peers getting a start a few years earlier, in the ’80s). Initially a trio of DJ Paul, his nephew Lord Infamous, and Juicy J, by 1995 debut studio album Mystic Stylez, the group had settled into their classic six-person lineup, rounded out by Koopsta Knicca, Gangsta Boo, and Crunchy Black. Paul and Juicy J have been the only remaining members for the last 15 years, and Infamous, Koopsta, and most recently Gangsta Boo have all since passed away, after departing the outfit (at their height, Three 6 Mafia also counted many more members like Project Pat among their extended “posse,” though never officially in the group). By the late ’90s, they had become certifiable hip hop stars, and with 2000 fourth album When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1, Three 6 Mafia notched their first platinum album, catapulting them into the mainstream. They continued to dominate throughout the ’00s, dropping gigantic tunes like “Stay Fly,” and becoming the first hip hop group to ever win an Academy Award for their Hustle & Flow theme, “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp,” also becoming the first hip hop group to perform at the Oscars ceremony. And, during the MTV reality boom of the 2000s, they even had their own reality show, Adventures in Hollyhood, for a short time. By 2012, however, four years after their most recent LP Last to Walk, the group, at that point a duo, had run its logical course, as Juicy J and DJ Paul went on a hiatus to pursue solo career. They reunited once more in 2019, though Covid cut short their initial reunion tour plans. Back at it again, they’ve hinted at new music, but so far have stuck only to performances. A natural fit for Tennessee’s most prominent fest, it’s a bit surprising that the legendary Three 6 Mafia are only now playing ‘Roo for the first time, but they’re sure to go down as one of this year’s biggest highlights!
WATCH | “Stay Fly” (Official Video)
LISTEN | “Sippin on Some Syrup” (feat. UTK)