Cheers @furryfan - glad you’re enjoying it!
My fairly limited understanding of Memphis rap at the time is that it mainly centred around a few producers who all had various squadrons of rappers attached to them. Think the distinctive Memphis production sound started in the late 80s with a DJ called Spanish Fly, but he seems to be a bit of a Kool Herc type character, and it was producers like DJ Squeaky, DJ Sound, Tommy Wright III and the Triple 6 Mafia guys (DJ Paul and Juicy J) who really defined the sound, along with the multitude of rappers who brought the horrorcore / murder / heavy weed smoking themes. I’m sure this is far from the whole story though, and there would be plenty of artists who existed outside of this.
As for tape recommends, my knowledge is pretty skewed towards the Triple 6 Mafia side of things. I never actually made it to Memphis and got all of my tapes via a friend (shout out to Brad!) when he went home to visit his folks. I’m pretty sure that the guy he bought them off was affiliated with Triple 6 in some way, and they were beefing with a lot of the other Memphis crews at the time, so it was hard to get other tapes.
Of the early Triple 6 stuff (i.e. pre Mystic Stylez), would recommend starting with Smoked Out, Loced Out which is a good overview. DJ Paul also released loads of tapes with various different rappers, and other core members like Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca and Gangsta Blac also put out solo tapes produced by DJ Paul. Skinny Pimp (or Kingpin Skinny Pimp) was affiliated with Triple 6 (and appeared on Mystic Stylez), but also had his own crew called Gimisum Family. DJ Paul produced some of their tapes too, and Skinny handled production on others. The main Gimisum Crew were called Skimask Troopaz.
The other main producer that I know about is DJ Sound, who specialised in a more stripped back sound, but also worked with a very talented crew of rappers.
Tommy Wright you obviously know about already, but he was also in a group called 10 Wanted Men that are worth checking, and his crew member Lil Ramsey is cool too.
Blackout (obviously) is the other producer that I really like. His main crew are called Playa Posse, and he also produced albums by individual members.
There are a bunch of other producers that I haven’t really checked out in detail, but there are loads of blogs written by people who have probably forgotten more about Memphis hip-hop than I will ever know, if you want to dig deeper. Memphis hip-hop seems to be really popular on teh internets.
Some of my favourites:-
Triple 6 Mafia - Smoked Out, Loced Out
Lord Infamous - Lord Of Terror / Come With Me To Hell
Koopsta Knicca - The Devil’s Playground
Skinny Pimp - Greatest Hits
Gimisum Family - Gimisum Dungeon
Lil Gin - Shake Junt
Skimask Troopaz - Underground Tape
Big Hill - Management
DJ Sound - Volume 10: Hatred
DJ Sound - Volume 11: Broken Halo (sometimes credited to Frayser Click)
Nigga Creep - Demons Takin’ Over Me
MC Money & Gangsta Gold - Da Hard Ov Frayser
Player 1 & Bloody Bones - Crime Rate Sky High
Tommy Wright III:
All solo stuff, plus
Ten Wanted Men - Wanted Dead Or Alive
Lil Ramsey - Goin’ Undercover
Blackout - Dreamworld
Playa Posse - Bigger And Better Things
Snubnoze - Solo Tape
Guice - Ashes Off My Blunt
Lil Terror - It’s Whatever