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8Ball & MJG (formed in 1991) are a American hip-hop duo who rose to prominence in the nineties following their 1993 debut album “Comin’ Out Hard”, hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Comprised of two Ridgeway Middle School attendees, Premmro Smith and Marion Jermaine Goodwin, a.k.a. 8Ball and MJG, the pair first met in 1984. The duo’s debut release together was the underground record “Listen to the Lyrics” in 1991, after which 8Ball and MJG signed with the independent label Suave Records. An official debut arrived in 1993 going by the name “Comin’ Out Hard”, a record that proved both a critical and commercial success and served to signficantly increase the pair’s national exposure.
The following year the duo issued their sophomore album “On the Outside Looking In”, followed in 1995 by “On Top of the World”. Both records earned rave reviews from the critical press, cementing 8Ball and MJG’s position as seminal pioneers of Southern Rap, with the latter album peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. In 1996 the duo contributed the track “Listen to Me Now” to the Red Hot Organisation’s “America Is Dying Slowly” compilation alongside acts like Wu-Tang Clan, Common, Biz Markie and Chubb Rock. Rising to No. 10 on the Billboard 200, 8Ball and MJG’s subsequent album “In Our Lifetime, Vol. 1” (1999) once again found favour among critics and proved to be their last release on Suave Records.
Following the move to Diddy’s Bad Boy Records, complete with widespread promotion and distribution, the group enjoyed their greatest success to date with the album “Living Legends” in 2004. The No. 3 charting album, featuring the likes of Twista and Diddy, spawned the singles “You Don’t Want Drama” and “Straight Cadillac Pimpin’”. In collaboration with fellow Tennessee-based hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG appeared on the group’s hit single “Stay Fly” in 2005, which later peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Three years later the duo issued their seventh studio album, “Ridin High”, with guest contributions from The Notorious B.I.G., Big Pun, Project Pat, and Three 6 Mafia. Aided by the single “Relax and Take Notes”, the record proved another popular release charting at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. The duo subsequently signed with T.I.’s Grand Hustle label who issued the group’s eighth full-length album “Ten Toes Down” in May 2010. As well as releasing music together however, 8Ball and MJG have also released strings of albums as solo artists. From 1998 to 2012 8Ball released eight full-length albums, including a pair of split albums with Devius and E.D.I, in which time MJG released five solo albums.