As the end credits appear on the screen. I get up from my bed. Turn my Macbook on. Stare at this mosquito in my room plotting on the kill. I be damned if it bite me while I'm sleep. Smash that lil bitch with my hand. Click on my itunes. Go straight to my Outkast discography. The first track I click on is "Peaches (Intro)." I just finished "The Art Of Noize" documentary on Netflix. A look into the rise and fall of Organized Noize. It makes no sense to write this without taking a trip back down memory lane to listen to the music that made this production trio legendary in music. Not just hip-hop. In music period.
Let's introduced the team.
Rico Wade - The Leader. The mouthpiece. The Deal Maker. The Salesman. Master of 808's.
Ray Murray - The Mad Scientist. The Tech Guy. The Brain.
Sleepy Brown - The Chords. The Vocals.
The musical journey began in Eastpoint on Headland and DeLowe. Rico Wade worked at a beauty shop and was introduced to Sleepy Brown through T-Boz from "TLC." Sleepy played some music for Rico and Rico liked what he heard so they started booking studio time to create music. Sleepy was working in a studio space at a house and Ray stopped by the studio. Sleepy had no clue who he was but Ray came in and made a beat according to Sleepy in 2 minutes and then Ray just got up and left the studio. Sleepy excited and impressed told Rico about his brief encounter with Ray and campaigned to Rico to bring Ray onto the team. Ray was in a group with Big Gipp from Goodie Mob and they fell out with their manager so Ray went to go work with Rico and Sleepy. The setups were in Rico's Mother's apartment and a space Rico rented out next to a neighborhood skating rink. After noise complaints (It's only right Noize made noise) because of the music in the apartments. Rico's mother had to move to a house on Lakewood and Rico had to stop using the rental space to help his mother with rent in the house they moved in. The Dungeon was born. They ate chicken there. Slept there. Made music there. Over 15 people in a small unfinished basement. Andre 3000 said "Fuck School" like Waka Flocka and basically moved there full time. They got their deals because of Pebbles (L.A Reid's Ex-Wife) and the work they created in a space with dirt walls. Atlanta was basically born in The Dungeon.
This part of the documentary fascinated me a lot because as Rico is showing the Dungeon and artists are explaining how it looked and how it was. I was just thinking "Damn so many classics were made in this tiny unfinished basement." I never knew "Player's Ball" was a Christmas song and was shot at that house. You seriously listen to their music differently after watching this documentary because you get to see the history of the crew's come up. I had no idea P.Diddy directed the "Player's Ball" video. I thought that was crazy as fuck. Diddy definitely did a great job. You find out Andre didn't want to wear the Atlanta Braves jersey initially and Rico had to persuade him to and Diddy made Dre take his shirt off for the pool hall scene. Definitely a moment of Nostalgia hearing these legends break the video shoot down. "YO MTV Raps" was filmed at that house with Fab 5 Freddy also. Rico's house definitely should be a landmark.
The rise was pretty cool. How "Waterfalls" and "Don't Let Go" were created were awesome stories because it happened so organically. Marquez Etheridge comes to the studio to pitch a song and Rico basically stops the session and they create "Waterfalls" on the fly and of course it goes on to be TLC's biggest record and Organized Noize's also. En Vogue's "Don't Let Go" was made because Rico foreseen En Vogue singing on the melody. Ray didn't. Ray admitted he was having someone rap over it and Rico was persistent on giving the record to En Vogue and as we all know the Rico's foresight paid off. Outkast was good. Goodie Mob was good. 2 smash hit records in R&B. Organized Noize arrived. I liked how they explained the process of their biggest records. It highlighted how organic creativity can be. Nothing was planned. They went with the feeling and built something beautiful from that feeling.
The fall was kind of weird. They felt that LaFace was a label they outgrew and so The trio signed a 20 million dollar deal with Jimmy Iovine at Interscope and they finally got the payday they wanted. This led to a bunch of partying, drugs, strip clubs, house parties on Rap City and caused the trio to split in terms of working together. A woman had the most marvelous titties in the footage of that Rap City party. She was in the black by the way. Rico was out on the business end. Ray was the only person still hands on with artists and taking care of all the workload and Sleepy was focused on creating a album (Vinyl Room is a fucking classic. Check it out). The money came and kind of ruined shit. It's always the case in stories like this. Money makes shit strange. Jimmy basically wanted every record to be "Waterfalls" and Organized Noize wanted to have the freedom to create and have someone trust their true southern sound. They ended up having their contract terminated and it was back to where they started.
What surprised me was Rico's feelings towards The Speakerboxx/Love Below Album. He was upset that Organized Noize wasn't involved. It was Outkast most successful album. I thought they were involved because Sleepy Brown did vocals on the album but he was the only one involved. Rico was pissed and he was definitely upset that no one ever said thank you. I definitely understood his anger. He gave these guys their publishing. That is unheard of in the music industry. What I was disappointed in was that they didn't ask Outkast why they wanted to do the album without them. I wanted Big Boi or Andre to go into detail about the moment they made a decision that they wasn't working with Rico or Ray. Organized Noize was there for everything up until that album so I feel there had to be something deeper to Outkast's decision.
Another thing I wished they covered more was the "Aquemini" album and Goodie Mob's "Soul Food" like they covered "Southernplayalistic." I know a lot of people may feel that "Speakerboxx?Love Below" was Outkast's master opus because of the sales and hits but I think "Aquemini" was that master opus and changed the game. It's definitely a classic album. It was a album that turned the tide for Outkast. They were still broke after "ATLiens"(Another album I wished they spoke on) and I think "Aquemini" was that make or break album for their careers. Organized Noize were huge parts of those 2 Outkast albums and Goodie Mob album. I wish they would've talked about them more. They really meant a lot to hip-hop.
Overall, besides my stan-ish complaint above, this was a really cool documentary about some cool ass cats out of Atlanta who love to create. A musical trio that played a huge part in creating the Atlanta sound. I really enjoyed this documentary and I believe every aspiring artist should watch this documentary to see the work ethic, the vices, the sacrifices, the up's and down's in this business these guys endured. You will learn a great deal from this documentary. These are guys who really haven't received a lot of credit for what they've done in the game. They're back in the underdog role again today and I have no doubt they can make another run and do something special again. Salute to the legends.