8 Ball and MJG are a U.S. Southern Hip-hop duo from Memphis, Tennessee.
8 Ball & MJG may have never made a significant impact nationally during their rise to fame in the 1990s, yet they indeed made an incredible impact throughout the South. The two began on the Southern underground circuit, where they peddled their tapes in such major markets as Memphis, Houston, and Atlanta. After a few years of this, 8 Ball & MJG helped launch Suave House Records in 1993 and attract a pair of national distribution deals soon afterward. By the end of the ’90s, just as the Dirty South movement broke nationally, the duo issued their final Suave House album, In Our Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1999), and declared themselves Southern rap pioneers.
8 Ball (Premro Smith) and MJG (Marlon Jermaine Goodwin) grew up in the rough Orange Mound area of Memphis and met at Ridgeway Junior High in 1984. They shared a passion for hip-hop, which hadn’t yet made a strong impact in the South, and soon formed a partnership. After years of mixtape work, later re-released on the Lyrics of a Pimp (1997) and Memphis Under World (2000) compilations, the two started Suave House Records with CEO Tony Draper. The label released Eightball MJG’s debut full-length, Comin’ Out Hard (1993), was produced entirely by the duo and popularized by the song “Armed Robbery,” and which gained them a cult following.
Each successive year brought with it a new album: On the Outside Looking In (1994) and On Top of the World (1995), the latter distributed nationally by Relativity. These releases continued to expand the duo’s reach throughout the South, so much so that Universal Records offered Draper a lucrative distribution deal in 1997 for Suave House. Eightball & MJG afterward released a pair of solo albums—Lost (1997) and No More Glory (1998), respectively—and went on to record In Our Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1999). The album brought a degree of national success and recognition.
Eightball & MJG parted ways with Suave House in 1999 and maintained a relatively low profile for a few years until they signed with P Diddy’s Bad Boy label in 2002, recording an album for Jcor (Space Age 4 Eva ) and scoring a widespread club hit (“Buck Bounce”) in the meantime. Their first album for Bad Boy Living Legends went Gold on the back of the single “You Don’t Want Drama”.
They recently collaborated with Three 6 Mafia on the 2005 hit “Stay Fly.”