Album: ATLiens
Label: LaFace

Mr. DJ: "Andre 3000 actually did all of that. Me, Dre and Big all learned how to produce from Rico, Ray, and Pat [Organized Noize]. Cause when we first started doing the first album, we all used to just hang around the Dungeon at Rico's mom's house and watch them. They use to always be on the beat machines making the beats that OutKast eventually rapped to to make that first album Southernplayalistic. And we would just mimic ON.

"It was always cool to watch Organized Noize working on beats because they might have a blunt hanging out with the ashes falling on the beat machine and Ray would be turning them buttons and you'd just hear the 808s and the samples, all the different melodies and stuff, and that was, like, intriguing. That was how we learned how to produce. So when we finally got a little money, everybody bought music equipment and just started emulating Organized Noize.

"I started as the DJ for OutKast, and that's what I did for the first album. Towards the end of the first album, me, Dre and Big had a situation, and I stopped being the DJ and decided I was going to go and produce. And that's when I became an associate producer for Organized Noize. Later on, Big and Dre were like, 'Ay man, even though you're not DJing anymore, let's start a production company together.' Because at that point I had already produced that whole 8Ball & MJG album, In Our Lifetime Vol. 1, and some other stuff. So Big was just like, 'Man, we should just form a production company.' So me and OutKast formed a production company going into that second album, while we were still on the road. We called the company Earthtone III.

“'Elevators' was one of our songs produced for Earthtone III. I can remember Dre doing that beat, and we were actually on tour when he was working on it. The tour we were on was the Quad City Bass Tour, with the 69 Boyz and This & That. It was a summer tour. We had equipment hooked up on the tour bus, and Dre had his stuff hooked up in the back of the bus and we rode around with 'Elevators' for a long time—it was like a lot of little versions of it Dre kept playing on the bus. And when we got back to Atlanta, that was the first song that Earthtone III recorded ourselves, produced ourselves, and that was the start of us producing the rest of the albums. We kind of knew that 'Elevators' was going to be something special. It's not a super complicated beat, but it resonates. Sometimes less is more."

Rico Wade: "That's one thing I'll give Andre 3000 credit for: he was very very excited about pleasing us [Organized Noize] with his production. I expected everyone around us to know how to make beats. I was encouraging them, too. Sitting around watching Ray do that shit, you can't help but be inspired and motivated. Now how good you gon' be is the key. It never really mattered who was gon' do it, because I never really thought any of them was going to be better than Ray, and they still not. They just copied our style, and they got bigger hits than we got—well actually, they don't cause they ain't produced no 'Waterfalls.' They ain't produced no En Vogue 'What's It's Gonna Be.' The shit they did, though, helped out—because I probably would have never did a 'Ms. Jackson' for them.

"But I didn't feel no kind of way when they formed their own production group. If anything, with OutKast, I made them [Big and Dre] be partners [when I created OutKast], but I really saved them from where they are now, because Big and Dre had a little deep-down resentment towards each other, cause they had been working together for so long, like, 'I spent 20 years of my life with you.' I mean, Keith Richards talks about Mick Jagger the same way. It's like having brothers, like, 'Damn, everywhere we go, we together all the time.' Eventually, that's going to get a little boring. You just don't want to see muthafuckas every day. So they got separate lives now. Andre got his own equipment, Big Boi got his own equipment, and DJ got his own equipment."