The year was 2003, my family and I would move from Saginaw, Michigan to Atlanta, Georgia in hopes of a better life. Growing up in Michigan I didn’t particularly have a certain region of hip-hop I favored, as long as Eminem was in the mix I was content, so when I finally made my way to the dirty south I got thrown into a whirlwind of different music. At this time Atlanta was truly the Mecca of all popular music that was being played on the radio, from Usher’s release of his highest selling album Confessions to the heavy bass, overly hyper crunk scene that was making its turn to the mainstream thanks to the likes of Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz and Crime Mob. Only 12 years old at the time, it was apparent that I moved at a perfect stage in my life as I started to get older and experience what I had never been exposed to on a grander level. Around this time, Outkast would release one of the highest selling rap albums of all-time with they’re 5th studio album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. You couldn’t go a day without at least 2 of their songs from that release being played on radio let alone see their videos on every music television network, it was an amazing time to live in Atlanta.
Fast forward some years later as I got older and was officially dubbed an ATLien, I would crave to learn more about the history of Atlanta hip-hop and find myself infatuated with all things 90s Atlanta, from Kilo Ali and the Bass music era all the way to Freaknik. There was something so special to me about the culture and how it was shaped back that I wished I could travel back in time. I would always hear the stories about how old Atlanta was, but never had an opportunity to experience it for myself. That was until The Art Of Organized Noize filled that void.
Recently premiering at SXSW, The Art Of Organized Noize would tell the untold stories of famed Atlanta production team Organized Noize. Consisting of Rico Wade, Sleepy Brown, and Ray Murray, the trio would forever change the sound of hip-hop as they would go on to coin hits for some of Atlanta’s greatest artists including Outkast, Goodie Mob, and TLC. This documentary would cover all bases from the very beginning with the introduction of each member, their upbringing and how fate would bring everyone together and magic would be created in Rico Wade’s mother’s basement which would go on to be dubbed The Dungeon. Compared to a crawl space, this unfinished basement would lay down the foundation for the collective The Dungeon Family. The Dungeon Family, consist of Organzied Noize, Outkast, Goodie Mob, as well as various musicians that would help give Organzied Noize their signature sound. Sharing never before heard stories, the trio would break down every aspect of their careers from when they first were introduced to Outkast as teens to them penning TLC‘s biggest hit Waterfalls. Throughout the documentary, there’s a slew of greats like Outkast, P.Diddy, and Ludacris that give first-hand encounters with Organized Noize including Diddy’s role in directing Outkast’ first music video for Player’s Ball. Record executive LA Reid even chimes in giving detail out his relationship with the collective as well as his experiences with Outkast.
Since its premiere at SXSW, the documentary has been put on Netflix for the rest of the world who was unable to attend the event to see. Given a mediocre 1.5 stars out of 5 it’s clear that not everyone will give these legends the praise they deserve. It’s easy to forget the past and how it’s shaped our present, but at the same time, it’s necessary for us to do our homework on the pioneers who broke the mold and took great strides in diversifying the culture. Before the introduction of The Dungeon Family, hip-hop on a grand scheme was mostly run by New York and even non-New York natives would imitate this style because it was the key to success. Outkast would be the first to come along showcasing a whole new sound and way to rhyme over live instruments while relying very little on samples. This sound was born from the minds of Organized Noize who helped shape and mold Outkast into what the world knows today, so it’s safe to say without them the Outkast we all know and love could have potentially never existed. If you are a lover of hip-hop I recommend you check this documentary out to further educate yourselves on some of the greatest to ever do it!
If You Are A Lover Of Hip-Hop This Is A Must See!8
Composition score 7
Story score 9
Music & SFX score 9