REVOLT TV presents ‘The Produce Section,’ a column where we put the spotlight on the men and women behind the beats we love so much and their contributions to the culture as a whole. From profiling and interviewing the hottest producers of today to acknowledging the greatest producers of all-time and delving deep into their discographies, The Produce Section is the hub where beats, rhymes and life connect.
Producers have long been the backbone of rap music, providing emcees and rappers alike with the sonic backdrops over which they bare their souls and share their stories. Rap artists may get much of the fanfare and are front and center. However, without the producer toiling away behind the scenes, crafting the instrumentals; the lyrics would be reduced to spoken word and hip hop would be nonexistent as we know it.
In this edition of “The Produce Section,” we cover legendary production crew Organized Noize, who helped put the Atlanta sound on the hip hop map. Comprised of Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown; Organized Noize came to prominence during their ’90s as the in-house producers for the Dungeon Family — which consisted of groups like Outkast and the Goodie Mob. The Dungeon Family helped expose the nation to the more lyrical style of rap coming out of the Peach State with Organized Noize providing the soundtrack. Helping create and curate classic albums like Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Soul Food, and ATLiens; Organized Noize are recognized as trailblazers for producers out of the south and are respected within the culture. In addition to their work with the Dungeon Family, Organized Noize has also lent their talents to various talents in rap and R&B.
In the latest installment of our series, we celebrate and highlight 11 of Organized Noize’s most iconic beats that define their excellence behind the boards.
1. “Players Ball”
Organized Noize’s slick grooves first hit the airwaves in 1993, when the trio laced their Dungeon Family cohorts Outkast with the backdrop to the group’s debut single. Laying the foundation of the track with live bass, keys and guitars; the Atlanta boardsmen layer the track with digitized drums. This crafted Big Boi and Andre 3000 with their first runaway hit, while simultaneously putting their own name on the map.
Of the beats Organized Noize contributed to Outkast’s introductory long player, this composition is among the most impressive. Built around live organs, guitars, saxophones and additional instrumentation; this soundscape is sonically rich. It’s evidence of Organized Noize’s ability to construct bangers from the ground up.
3. “Git Up, Git Out”
For this motivational anthem, Organized Noize employ bluesy guitars, bass and other elements for Outkast and Goodie Mob to kick their reality raps. The third and final single released from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, this song was a success for its instrumental and verses, as well as its Bob Marley & the Wailers inspired hook.
Coming off the heels of their production work on Outkast’s debut, Organized Noize was tapped to contribute tracks to Kast’s LaFace label-mates TLC for the girl group’s highly anticipated sophomore album, CrazySexyCool. The outcome of those sessions was this international smash, which spent seven weeks atop the pop charts and earned TLC two Grammy nominations. The song would make Organized Noize household names in the world of R&B, and remains their most successful and critically acclaimed composition to date.
5. “Cell Therapy”
In 1995, the Dungeon Family looked to build on the success of Outkast by putting their efforts into pushing Goodie Mob, whom had Organized Noize’s help on their debut album. The lead single, “Cell Therapy,” which greets listeners with a funky piano riff, put the Goodie Mob on the map. This earned Organized Noize another chart-topping rap hit. It’s a renowned gem in their catalog.
6. “Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)”
When it was time for Outkast to make their return in 1996, they went back to the Dungeon Family and hooked up with Organized Noize, who cooked up this murky composition that sets off the duo’s sophomore LP. Replaying a sample of “Danger! She’s a Stranger” by The Five Stairsteps, Organized Noize uses digital drums and live strings to bolster the original. This results in this classic banger.
7. “Jazzy Belle”
In addition to producing hit singles, Organized Noize is also responsible for their fair share of classic deep cuts, one of the more popular being this solemn salvo from Outkast’s ATLiens album. Boasting a sped-up sample of “Prelude” by Lamont Dozier and record scratches throughout, Organized Noize give their take on boom-bap — from a southern perspective.
8. “Skew It on the Bar-B”
Henry Mancini’s “Police Woman” gets jacked by Organized Noize for this frenetic contribution on Outkast’s third studio album, Aquemini. Blending their distinct styles over strings, kicks and snares, Outkast and Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon hold up their end of the bargain lyrically, making this one of Organized Noize’s illest productions.
9. “Watch For The Hook”
Organized Noize served their stable of spitters up a heater with the beat for this intense posse-cut from Cool Breeze’s 1998 solo debut, which captures the entirety of the Dungeon Family forming like Voltron. Doing work with a sample of soul singer Merry Clayton’s 1971 cut “Southern Man,” Organized Noize chop up the elements, littering Clayton’s vocals throughout the track for one of their hardest soundscapes.
10. “So Fresh, So Clean”
Outkast hooked up with Organized Noize for this syrupy groove from the duo’s fourth album, Stankonia, which finds the producers drawing from Joe Simon’s 1977 cut “Before the Night Is Over.” Powered by tumbling 808 drums and organ keys, this number became a hit on radio and on music video countdowns. This is a reminder that the combination of Outkast and Organized Noize is an unbeatable one.
The majority of Organized Noize’s greatest credits can be attributed to their work within the Dungeon Family. But, Rico Wade and company have proven their ability to make hits for artists out of that circumference. One example of this was their work on Ludacris’ 2002 single “Saturday (Oooh! Oooh!),” an uptempo radio-friendly jam that help extend Organized Noize’s reign on the charts into the new millennium.
More by Preezy Brown: