By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr.
ATLANTA – The legendary Dungeon Family music collective, which birthed a generation of hip-hop stars, is reuniting on stage Saturday for the first time in a decade, and they’re not looking to stop there.
They want to create new songs and eventually collaborate for their own big festival or tour. First, they’ll perform together as the headliner at the seventh annual ONE Musicfest in Atlanta.
Over the years, the rap collective has consisted of a multitude, including such big names as Andre 3000, Big Boi, CeeLo Green, Killer Mike and Sleepy Brown. Some members are also associated with other groups including Outkast, Goodie Mob and production trio Organized Noize.
“Our hope is to make a song, then take this product on the road,” said rapper Witchdoctor of Goodie Mob. “I’m thinking we can refresh the world and give them an intro to what we have going today.”
Producer Rico Wade of Organized Noize said he envisions a festival that will mirror Lollapalooza and Coachella. “Those fit the Dungeon Family brand,” he said. “Our fan base is so eclectic.”
The idea of reuniting the Dungeon Family at the one-day event originated after the Netflix documentary, The Art of Organized Noize, was released in March. The documentary focused on the production company’s impact in rap and told how the trio of Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown produced the soulful sound of Grammy-winning group Outkast and produced TLC’s 1995 hit Waterfalls.
The Dungeon Family collectively played an influential role in raising the profile of Southern hip-hop in the 1990s and 2000s.
Big Boi said getting everyone on the same page was initially tough. But he said rehearsals reminded everyone of their special bond.
“It was like getting nine cooks in the Waffle House trying to fry an egg,” he said. “But the egg tastes good as hell when we got it together. When we started rehearsing, it all came together.” Wade said several of the Dungeon Family members made financial sacrifices to make it happen. “We had to ask each other, ‘Are you willing to take a little pay cut?’” Wade recalled. “Some of the guys can get paid a lot more if they did this on their own. “But everyone wanted to get involved,” he added, to rebuild the foundation of the group.
The Dungeon Family will headline a robust concert lineup with Busta Rhymes, Gary Clark Jr., Andra Day, A$AP Ferg, Jazmine Sullivan and Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals.
More than 30 deejays are also expected to perform at the one day festival, which drew 20,000 last year.