On this day in Hip Hop history, infamous Memphis underground legends Three 6 Mafia release their fourth studio album When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1. Ironically peaking at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart, this project brought Three 6 Mafia that much closer to penetrating the mainstream with their unique style of horrorcore Hip Hop. To follow the theme of the previous two albums, this album’s title continues on the post-apocalyptic theme that can be translated to the groups (successful) attempt to take over the mainstream Hip Hop industry insinuating that “when the smoke clears” Three 6 Mafia will still be around standing strong.
One of the attributes that set this album apart from anything Three 6 has put out in the past is the number of features that come with it. UGK, Insane Clown Posse, Big Gipp, Mr. Serv-On, Fiend, and Twiztid all made appearances on the project. This album also toted some of Three Six Mafia’s most popular and recognizable tracks including “Sippin’ On Some Sizzurp” and “I’m So Hi” which both grew to be staples of underground rap history.
Commercially, this album opened the door for Three 6 Mafia to ensure their place among some of the titans of the era. Selling 1,000,000 copies in the year of its release, When The Smoke Clears allowed the group to have the following they needed for their forthcoming film Choices to be as successful as it was.
Following this album, Three 6 Mafia bloomed on the rap scene going on to release six more highly successful albums as well two films and an Oscar for their work on the Hustle and Flow soundtrack making them the only rap group to receive the award.