The Art of Organized Noize

The Art of Organized Noize

I became privy of a potential awesome documentary when I was sent this link by one of my compadres (word to Face).


I was all in after just seeing the title of the trailer.


aka The Reason The South Won….I’ll get back to that later.

But first, who COULDN’T get excited about a documentary about possibly the most influential hip hop producers/musicians (and they were that, trust me) to ever come from the South? As a young, impressionable teen growing up in inner city DC, most of my friends that listened to hip hop listened to what laymen would call “gangster rap”. Reality Rap is another word used by folks who didn’t grow up in that lifestyle but it seemed more aptly accepted by folks.

In 1994, I was a junior at Oxon Hill High School. All my friends were either huge East Coast rap fans (Biggie, Nas, Black Moon, Wu Tang etc), “Wesside Rydas” (2Pac, Death Row, Spice 1, MC Ehit etc) or Geto Boys fans. That was basically the jist of the “mainstream hood” fan base. I was one that listened to much more than that. I listened to a lot of backpack rap. I gave everything a chance, but not much was coming from the South besides Geto Boys and Rap-A-Lot Records….so I thought.

One day, while watchin The Jukebox Network one faithful day, a special, life changing video caught my eye…

I was confused at first…

“Atlanta?!?! Really??”

I liked the song… shit, but one thing that I thought was REALLY cool, is that the one kid is wearing an Atlanta Braves baseball jersey! The sports junkie I am, gravitated to JUST that and voila, I became an Outkast fan.

It was different but not because of the soul-infused hook, but how it was done¬†with a hip hop feel to it. It became a smash hit “around the way”. I used to get so siced when people would choose the video on Jukebox or it played on Rap City. Anyhoo, towards the end of my junior year, Outkast would release their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and man, did this album blow hip hop heads away. It was what we were looking for in DC. We aren’t “Northern” enough to be included with all the NYC hip hop stuff and we aren’t on the West Coast. We have our own lingo, our own fashion sense and these boys from ATL had their own as well. Their style and rhythm reminded me of ourselves in a sense.

The album would become heavy rotation in cars, house parties and smoke sessions throughout the city and stamp Outkast as a force for years to come. The conductors of that sound that would engulf the American hip hop scene for years to come would be the production trio of Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown better known as Organized Noize.

If you are a fan such as myself, you know most of the story already. Organized Noize was formed in Atlanta and Rico Wade’s basement at his mother’s house would become the hub where The Dungeon Family was born. The Dungeon was just that, a small cramped ass basement where “as many as 15 boys” would spend all day and night crafting masterful music for us to eventually enjoy. Throughout the years, the unit would obviously experience the highest of highs (producing the TLC smash hit single “Waterfalls”) and the lowest of lows (eventual breakup). It wouldn’t be a must-watch documentary if there wasn’t a halt to their successes.

The film also has great anecdotal moments from the likes of Big Boy and Andre 3000 of Outkast; Ceelo, Gipp and T-Mo of the criminally underrated Goodie Mobb; Bad Boy Records owner Sean Combs; L.A. Reid and Pebbles, Future Hendrix and countless others.

It’s been so long since the “How long with southern rap hold the mantle?” in hip hop that there isn’t even a question anymore. Without Organized Noize there is no Master P, Cash Money/Lil Wayne, T.I., 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Future Hendrix and countless others who should owe their careers to these 3 men.

I highly recommend any fan of hip hop to check this documentary out on Netflix….watch for the hook!

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