The year, 1992. The place, Atlanta, GA.
Before propelling out from “The Dungeon,” thanks to the musical stylings of Organized Noize, and emphatically proving the world that “the South got something to say,” “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton were two high school teens trying to make it out The A as musicians.
With the unique sounds being crafted inside the cramped, musty, and… still legendary “Dungeon” studio space with Sleepy Brown, Rico Wade, and Ray Murray, the duo began attracting label interests. One in particular came from fellow Georgian Dallas Austin, the musical boy-wonder behind hits for the likes of TLC, Boyz II Men, and many, many more.
At just 21 years old, Austin had already written and produced eight out of 10 songs on albums for Boyz II Men, scored infectious No. 1 hits for TLC, including “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg,” and earned himself enough credits to land a record label, Rowdy Records. Through this venture at the time, Austin, searching for his next history making move, looked at OutKast.
“I tried to sign them to Rowdy Records, which is actually what exploded Rowdy, because it was a deal that I had with Laface,” he tells REVOLT. “It was always exciting for OutKast because from the South, you wanted to be accepted but you wanted to have skills also. So OutKast was the first ones to come out and really have the skills to back up what we represented in the South and to translate it out of there.”
Unfortunately, the deal would Rowdy wouldn't pan out, leading OutKast to eventually strike a deal with L.A. Reid and LaFace in 1992. Still, Austin and OutKast would remain friends and they would actually collaborate on Monica's "Gone Be Fine" single in 1998. "I’ve been friends with them for a longtime and to see them take this 360 back around," Austin says, before a brief hesitation.
"Just the impact, the sounds, the music, the topics and the creativity, we never knew it was going to be end up being to the extent that its at when all of us were sitting in Atlanta, but it had the potential to be something major. Now to see them turn out to be the Pink Floyd of hip-hop, that’s the impact they have."