EWA100 - #62. Three 6 Mafia - Sippin' On Some Syrup

#62: Three Six Mafia (feat. U.G.K.) - Sippin' On Some Syrup (Loud. 2000. From the LP When The Smoke Clears)

Mike Dikk: I know I shouldn’t tell you my tricks of the trade, but I only get by with this writing shit because I can get extreme and absurd when it comes to writing about stuff I hate, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, I tend to over embellish and verbally fellate something I really enjoy. With that off my chest, I have no problem telling you that “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” was the most important rap single of the 21st Century.
I was familiar with Three 6 before this single, but I wasn’t in love with them or anything. I bought the CD once I heard they had a song celebrating the recreational use of codeine. I read an article years earlier in The Source about kids in Texas ghettos getting crazy with the syrup. I tried it myself shortly after that article and heartily approved. Once I read a review of the single in The Source, I knew I had to have it. Of course, it lived up to all expectations and then some. Three 6 has made writing songs about drugs into a bonafide art form. This single and the rest of the album would eternally change the way I felt about southern rap music and what drugs I indulged in to get my swerve on.
That’s not the reason it’s the most important rap single of the 21st Century though. I don’t think anyone, even Three 6 Mafia themselves, expected this record to go platinum. The song got very little airplay up north, but a lot of people up here still bought it. I heard it played in cars from its release until well after the follow-up LP came out. The song had serious lasting power, even with its questionable subject matter. I don’t know how it is in the south, but it’s still not a real common thing for people up here to get high off of cough syrup. DJ Paul and Juicy J are production geniuses though, and that’s all it takes.
When The Smoke Clears was their first real major label debut, and if it had failed, I highly doubt they would have had a chance to release The Unbreakables with major label backing. Again, another Three 6 record with an amazing lead single that got very little airplay. It sold more than When the Smoke Clears and basically opened the doors for the initial wave of Lil Young rappers and to an extent a newfound interest in U.G.K. It wasn’t until The Most Unknown Unknowns that they got yet ANOTHER amazing lead single, but this time with a whole shitload of airplay. Of course, by this time, there was already a gigantic swarm of popular southern rappers, so to the novice hip hop listener, it may have seemed like these Three 6 Mafia guys came out of nowhere, but they basically paved the way for whatever horrible fucking music your little sister is grinding her crotch onto some sketchy guy to. Oh yeah, they also won an Oscar. It was like their worst song ever, but they still won an Oscar.
To sum up, without “Sippin’ on Some Syrup”, Paul Wall would still be some goofy looking dude playing Super Nintendo in his mom’s basement and Chamillionaire would just be an ugly man born from an immigrant family, and Slim Thug would be working at a car wash. God bless you, Three 6 Mafia. You’ve brought so much beautiful music into my headphones that we can all forget all the stinky sacks of shit you inadvertently let invade our television sets and mainstream payola consumed radio stations. You are the only music group I would ask for an autograph and me and a few friends of mine contemplated getting the date you won the Oscar tattooed inside our lips, but we ultimately bitched out. The thought was still there though.

Raven Mack: No doubt. The Oscars are like this big over-hyped nonsense that I think only homosexuals and Star magazine subscribers actually care about, and I've never watched it... seriously ever. Except that year when Three Six was on there. This was the group that was called Triple-Six Mafia and did crazy shit over weird beats that were like Spacemen 3 got born in the projects in Memphis. This was the group that did the too-hype song about tearing up the club, literally. They flashed gold grills before it became "grilles" because motherfuckers love to misspell thangs. And undoubtedly, through this song, they popularized drinking cough syrup. We called it robocopping, because usually you'd drink Robitussin, and I guess we never thought to add it to soda because usually you'd just drink a bottle of syrup along with a forty and it'd induce great mild hallucinations. There's all that talk about how it rots your mind and shit like that, but fuck, life rots your mind in a slow death manner anyways. You might as well beat the general soul suck of everyday life to the punch, take away their pleasure of having their foot up your ass all day long forever.
So yeah, I half-paid attention to the Oscars that one night, just to see Three Six on major TV, never thinking they'd win. I mean there was a song about transsexuals by Dolly Parton or something, and that seems far more up the liberal alley of your average Judeo-Scientologist Hollywoodian. Except somebody forgot to make them people know that Three Six does songs about child support and drinks codeine out of baby bottles.
It's made me think two disparate things, the success of Juicy J and DJ Paul. One, it could be a sign of the American Dream not being the smoke and mirror deception I've always tried to convince myself it is, to justify my own lack of success in life and make it seem like the chips are stacked against me from the get-go. But on the other hand, there's a steady stream of former members of Three Six who have beefs and bad feelings towards Juicy J and DJ Paul, so perhaps they're no different than the Jewish dudes who owned R&B labels in the '60s, and DJ Paul and Juicy J have just ripped off a steady stream of creative people and made fat stacks of bank account interest statements off of them.
Either way, the whole Three Six Mafia story aside, this is seriously one of the greatest songs ever, and easily the absolute best song about doing drugs that hip hop has ever made. And the beat is still one of the all-time best. DJ Paul and Juicy J don't get the credit for their beats they should, probably because they've got like a thousand beats and will give them to absolutely anybody who'll sign a cashier's check for one. It's not like they're high artists saving up certain beats for some masterpiece of an endeavor. They whip 'em out, throw it together, and ship it to the distributors. But like Mike said, every CD has a crazy first single. None like this though.
On the off chance you are a sheltered non-rap fan white person reading this because of how you came upon this list (more likely in the zine format than the internet dork format), you owe it to yourself to get into Three Six, starting with this song. When it is summertime hot, cooling down on a Friday night and you've got a few extra dollars floating in your pocket after buying money orders for the electric and water bill, and the phone's not past due, and you just want to get FUCKED UP and slouch all over on the porch by the end of the night, they can be your perfect soundtrack.

Download: Three 6 Mafia - Sippin' on Some Syrup

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