Monday, March 20, 2006

It's Hard Out Here for Three 6 Mafia

They've been excoriated on websites and blogs for the last couple of weeks for bringing down the Black race after winning an Oscar for Best Song with their vulgar hit "Hard Out Here for a Pimp." A number of bloggers (me included) jumped up and down on our soapboxes about how The Academy was mocking us by recognizing our most base and vulgar artforms with Oscar nominations and statuettes. Well, the following story kind of brings it home for me. Now, I'll have to plead ignorance, because I'd never heard of Three 6 Mafia until the Oscars a few weeks ago. Apparently, they don't only rap about being a pimp, but they also rap about other uplifting topics: a rap about "starting a riot" has gotten them into trouble. Natalie Finn filed the following story for E! Online:
Three 6 Mafia, you just won an Oscar, where are you going now?

How about, um, Pittsburgh.

The rap group is heading to the Steel City after getting slapped with a lawsuit from a fan who claims he was beaten up at an Aug. 26, 2003 concert during a performance of the song "Let's Start a Riot."

Ramone Williams, who was 19 at the time of the alleged attack, is suing Three 6 Mafia's individual members--Jordan "Juicy J" Houston, Paul "DJ Paul" Beauregard and Cedric Coleman--the group as a whole and the concert venue. Williams says that members of the audience took the song too seriously, and by the time it ended, he had been thrown to the ground, hit with a chair, stomped on and kicked in the face, leaving him with a fractured jaw.

Two other rappers, Robert "Koopsta Knicca" Cooper and Darnell "Crunchy Black" Carlton, are also named in the complaint. They were the ones who actually performed "Let's Start a Riot" that night.

The lawsuit, filed in July, states that both Three 6 Mafia and the Rock Jungle Night Club in Pittsburgh (which is no longer in business) neglected to warn concertgoers about the possibility of violence that evening, or to protect them when fists--and feet--allegedly started flying.

In a twist of hindsight, Williams is also claiming that the club should not have permitted him--an underage customer--to go in at all.

James E. Pasquale, Williams' attorney, was quoted in the Friday edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Three 6 Mafia have been ordered to give depositions and that he expects the defendants to appear in Pittsburgh by the end of April.

The Memphis-based rappers are being represented by Pittsburgh attorney John E. Hall, who told reporters that the group denies all of Williams' accusations.

A trial could begin by November, per the Post-Gazette.

Up until now Three 6 Mafia have only been guilty of inciting Academy members to vote for them. Their Hustle and Flow anthem, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," snagged the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards earlier this month, prompting host Jon Stewart to remark, "I think it just got a little bit easier out there for a pimp."

Personally, it appears to me that Mr. Williams is trying to cash in on the group's recent upsurge in fame (the Hustle & Flow soundtrack shot up 70 spots on the Billboard 200 album chart). But when you rap about pimpin' ho's and startin' riots, someone may get caught up in your version of reality and may decide to get compensation when your illicit illusions lead to a fractured jaw or a knot upside their head!


crazyone said...

Anyone who knows anything about the 3 6 Mafia knows that when certain songs are played you either get away from the action or get into it. If you hear “Tear da Club Up” or “Hit A Mutha” you need to just quickly make your way to the sidelines.

plez... said...

Oh, OK. I'll keep that in mind the next time I "loose my mind" and go to a Three 6 Mafia concert.