Today in Hip-Hop: Three 6 Mafia Win Oscar for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” at 2006 Academy Awards
On this day, March 5, in hip-hop history...
2006: A group of Memphis hip-hop pioneers make history, twice over.
Hustle & Flow is a 2005 film about a Memphis pimp who wanted to pursue a rap career, and Three 6 Mafia contributed to its soundtrack with the song "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp." Both the track and the movie blew up, cruising into Oscar nominations. The actual night of the Oscars would prove to be legendary, as Three 6 Mafia broke new ground for hip-hop's place at award shows.
"It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" had grown so immense that Three 6 Mafia were set to perform it at the 78th Academy Awards, which took place in 2006. In the film, Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson perform the song; Howard wasn't interested in recreating it for the Oscars, so Three 6 did the rapping and let Henson handle the chorus. This performance was the first of it's kind, as a hip-hop group had never been given the honor of taking their craft to the Academy Awards stage.
Having barely recovered from the high of such a big moment, Three 6 Mafia's true moment in the sun was just minutes away. "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" was nominated for a Best Original Song Award, but surely had the odds stacked against them. The other nominees were "In The Deep" from the hugely popular film Crash, and "Travelin' Thru" from the movie Transamerica, written and performed by country legend Dolly Parton; two much more traditional songs than Three 6's offering. In addition to that, a hip-hop group has never won a Best Original Song Oscar.
None of that mattered, as Three 6 Mafia won, and accepted their award with pride. In one night, they became the first hip-hop group to perform at the Oscars and the first rap crew to win a Best Original Song award.
It is hard out here for a pimp, but Three 6 Mafia made it look easy.
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