May 5, 2012


Hometown Heroes Three 6 Mafia Rule Day 1 of Beale St. Music Festival

Aubree Lennon for Fuse
Aubree Lennon for Fuse

There aren't too many Oscar-winning artists who take to a stage and chant "ass and titties" and later suggest women "slob on my knob like corn on the cob." But then again, Three 6 Mafia are a group unlike any other. 

Those who went to the first night of Memphis' Beale St. Music Festival 2012 could choose from an eclectic lineup of acts—everyone from ethereal soul siren Florence Welch (+ the Machine) to speed metal gods Megadeth to Southern rockers My Morning Jacket. But the most entertaining and memorable set of Friday, May 5 came from the city's own Three 6 Mafia. 

Looking out on the Mississippi River and a sea of raucous fans, Juicy J and DJ Paul took Memphis on a generous tour of their 21 music-making years. And even most of the fans looked like they would have been potty-training when Three 6 Mafia was forged in 1991, they still knew every single word. 

A few songs into their set, Three 6 asked which ladies wanted to dance onstage with them. That announcement went through the crowd like electricity. Two seconds later, dozens of girls were hoisted into the air on the shoulders of boyfriends. 

There was one avid fan in particular who stood out to me. Just 20 minutes earlier she was slumped over the fence separating the crowd and the audience, looking as if staying conscious was a laborious task. She picked up a bit when Three 6 Mafia hit the stage, but once they asked for dancing volunteers, it was as if her body switched to an emergency backup power system. She sprang into action, pushing her guy down so that she could get on his shoulders immediately. 

Once up, she gesticulated wildly to the crew to make sure she was one of the girls they chose. Sure enough, her efforts paid off—thanks to, well, let's just say a flash of inspiration on her part—and a minute later she was shaking it onstage with Memphis' Mafia. 

 The volunteer dance troupe performed above and beyond the call of booty duty. Some of the rump-shaking volunteers looked like they studied under the tutelage of New Orleans Queen Diva Big Freedia—they were truly operating at a pro level. 

The whole set was a total blast. I don't know if I'd say it was "better" than the performances from the aforementioned My Morning Jacket, Florence or Megadeth, but ultimately, no one looked happier than those kids at Three 6 Mafia's show. And what more can you ask for but to come back from a music fest feeling Doe Boy Fresh

For Fuse's Top 10 Moments of the first day of Beale St. Music Festival—from North Mississippi Allstars to Lupe Fiasco to Evanescence—head over here. And check out our Beale St. Music Fest gallery right here.