‘The Art of Organized Noize’ Brings Light to Hip-Hop’s Untold Stories
There's no denying that Organized Noize changed the face and sound of Southern hip-hop. If you're a fan of pristine production on albums like Goodie Mob's Soul Food, OutKast's ATLiens or Ludacris' Word of Mouf, you have Organized Noize to thank for the audible treats. Now, the production trio, made up of Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown, are telling their hip-hop story in a new documentary, The Art of Organized Noize.
The doc, which premiered at SXSW's Film Festival in Austin, Texas, centers around the producers' rise from 1992 to the present day, taking fans on a journey from their beginnings as kids making beats in their parents' basement to producing No. 1 singles like TLC's "Waterfalls" and signing multi-million dollar publishing deals. Interviews with big names like L.A. Reid, Andre 3000, Big Boi, Diddy, Future, Ludacris and Metro Boomin provide both a history lesson on Organized Noize and give insight into their lengthy discography. But among the star-studded cameos, the best interviews in the film come from the friends and family who knew Rico, Ray and Sleepy from the very beginning.
"It smelled like dirt and weed smoke," laughed Rico's mother when describing the basement that would become known as the legendary "Dungeon," where and their fledgling acts at the time Goodie Mob and OutKast got their start. The dank, dusty basement in her home on 1907 Lakewood Terrace would become the guys' first recording studio, a sanctuary for sleepovers, hour-long jam sessions and the place where singles like OutKast's "Players Ball" were crafted. When "Player's Ball" took off on LaFace's annual Christmas compilation album, Goodie Mob member CeeLo Green remembers the excitement felt by the whole Dungeon Family.
"The day we heard 'Player's Ball' on the radio, I was working at the airport, I quit," declared CeeLo. "We knew if one of us was going get put on, we were all going to make it."
What happened in the years after was a meteoric rise fueled by music, drugs and money. Straight from the studio, Rico, Ray and Sleepy tell memorable stories ranging from Puff Daddy's music video influence to how the beat and lyrics for "Waterfalls" came together with live instrumentation -- gems that only they can share.
The Art of Organized Noize, produced by Flava Unit and directed by QDIII, Rico, Ray and Sleepy, is just one of the highlights for the production team this month. The three also received the key to their hometown of Atlanta over the weekend in celebration of the doc. March 18 was officially declared Organized Noize Day in the ATL.
To experience the hip-hop history lesson for yourself, The Art of Organized Noize is available to stream starting today (March 22) on Netflix.
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