It should be obvious how much respect we have for the Atlanta-based production trio of Rico Wade, Ray Murray, and Patrick "Sleepy" Brown based on our list of "The 25 Greatest Organized Noize Songs Of All Time" earlier this week. From classics for Dungeon Family affiliates Outkast and Goodie Mob to pop smashes for TLC and En Vogue, their soulful, trunk-rattling music shaped Southern rap and influenced an entire generation of youngsters to pick up a pen and write rhymes. Complex dialed up one of Atlanta's newest lyrical monsters in the making, Pill, to get his thoughts on the legendary ONP crew. Read on for his memories of everything from hearing their music in the 'hood to smoking with Ray Murray during the making of Stankonia...
As Told To Toshitaka Kondo
"I probably was in third or fourth grade. You had to be stupid, dumb, blind, or crazy to not know who the Dungeon Family was. Outkast, Goodie Mob, that whole movement was so monumental for Atlanta—and for the South, period. People would come through in the projects beating they shit. Niggas would be bumpin' it in they rides and that's when I first really heard it; I ain't have no money to buy CDs or even a tape back then. [Outkast] was very influential to me—I loved them from the first time I heard 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.' Then I started hearing that Goodie Mob shit like 'Soul Food.' I loved Goodie 'cause they was on some different shit, the same way Outkast was. It was so fresh and new, and that beat was bangin'! It just came in so right with the taps, the 808s, the different chords. Everything just synched up well, that shit was so catchy. 'Soul Food' was so reminiscent of how we did it in the South, going to your grandmother's or auntie's house. Then they named all the soul food spots in the A, and I was like, 'Damn, these some real cats.' They was really in the 'hood and knew what was going on; everybody identified with them. [Organized Noize] had that 808 kickin'. Some shit that was gonna knock the tag off the trunk when you turn it up loud. [Laughs.] Everybody down there had that beat in the trunk. Organized Noize are staples in hip-hop. They gave Outkast that sound that they got. The sounds, the instrumentation of the samples, the different horns—everything about the tracks were great to me.
"I used to smoke with Ray Murray back in the day when I used to be in the studio with Outkast during Stankonia. I was like 18. This was '02, before Speakerboxxx/The Love Below came out. Aquemini and Stankonia were two studios right across the street from each other. That was kind of downtown, West Sidish, like off the North Side. I didn't even know who [Ray] was. I just thought he was a cool cat who smoked a lotta weed. I still remember one time, before niggas was talkin' about kush in '02, he had some. I was like, "What the fuck is this?" I remember he gave me some to take home and I almost bust my chest on the back porch at my sister's house. I smoked a whole blunt and was like, 'Oh man, Ray got some of that shit!' That shit looked like a baby Christmas tree. Finally, someone was like, 'You don't know who that is? That's Ray Murray, man.' I was like, 'Oh, okay, yeah, that's a cool cat.' I ain't never really been the star-struck type, because I always been around it. I might be outside and E-40 be out there and I might hit the weed with E-40. It was surreal for me as a teenager but I never looked at them like that. Kickin' it in the parking lot with 3000 or Big Boi or Killer Mike. Back then [Rico] had the best parties. I was too young. We would always hear about it and people would be like, 'Damn, I wish I could go to that.' They thought it was the biggest shit. It would be all over the radio, and flyers and heavy promotion. Everybody who was anybody would be there. He always had it poppin' in the A. He always threw the craziest shit at clubs, his house, and everywhere.
"Organized Noize is in large part responsible for the attention Atlanta is getting right now, being the production behind Outkast and Goodie Mob. People can do their research if they ain't already know, 'cause that name rings bells. They pushed the envelope. They helped bring that lyricism up out of Outkast and let them see that they can display lyrical ability and still get that worldwide recognition. Those tracks gave Outkast the ability to do that. I feel like they're largely responsible for the credit the South is getting right now for having lyrical rappers. They opened the door for us. I don't know if there are that many guys who can rhyme over an Organized Noize track. Just think of where their foundation was laid. Outkast and Goodie Mob, so you gotta be comin' with it. I don't think you can just get an Organized Noize track, 'cause I would love to have one. [Laughs.] I got a track from Mr. DJ already, but I would love to work with Organized Noize as well. They are solely responsible for the success of Outkast and they're the reason why the South has a voice right now."