Image via Dungeon Family Twitter
I’ve been sitting on this post for months, just never finished it. I guess it’s timely to publish it with the Organized Noize documentary dropping today on Netflix.
Before I drop my list with my thoughts, favorite songs, and the albums themselves, I’ll say, I had to keep OuKast and Goodie Mob out this. Quite frankly if I had to name my five favorite DF albums, it would be 3 or 4 albums from Goodie, Kast and maybe a Cee-Lo or Big Boi solo. Plus, I want to put you onto something new, overlooked, and most likely unfamiliar.
Society of Soul – Brainchild (1995)
I can’t say anything more than this album is straight up forgotten. In a period when Organized Noize was really in their groove of producing high charting R&B tracks, like Waterfalls and Blackberry Molasses they dropped this album. Infused with Big Rube’s proverbs along with Esperanza and Sleepy Brown vocals this album ALWAYS stays in the rotation. When I discovered this in 2010, I was straight up enamored and I was able to get my hands on the CD last year. I’ve written about this a album few times over the years.
Thinking back, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these were turned down by some of the R&B artists they produced for.
Standout Tracks: Changes, Brainchild, Pushin, Wind, Peaches N’ Erb
Sleepy’s Theme – The Vinyl Room (1998)
Just like the previous album, I was told I would never get my hands on a CD, but it happened last year. The best way to describe this album is good ole, Southern funk. The album is bogged down by the skits, but when the songs play, they ride. Instrumentation, lyrics, the whole vibe is old school Cadillac ready. Peruse the liner notes and listen to the contributions from the late, great Pimp C…
Standout Tracks: Choked Out Saturday Night, Still Smokin, Grind On Private Party
Witchdoctor – A S.W.A.T. Healin’ Ritual (1998)
It took me a long time to really digest and this album. With the years and multiple listens, I came to understand and appreciate SD and Witchdoctor. This album, along with some of the ones I excluded, namely Soul Food, embody the spiritual ethos the Dungeon Family is rooted in.
Standout Tracks: 7th Floor, Holiday, Heaven Comin
Cool Breeze – East Point’s Greatest Hit (1999)
Cool Breeze always gets the love for coining the term “Dirty South” and being one of the forerunners of “trap rap,” but he’s more than that. His debut album East Point’s Greatest Hit had jams and a songs for every mood. There have been times when I’ve hit 285 on a Friday night just to live lyrics on “Weeastpointin.” One of the unique things about this album, there’s no cussin from Cool Breeze and all the explicit lyrics are edited.
Songs to listen to: Cre-A-Tine, Tenn Points, Weeastpointin’
Killer Mike – I Pledge Allegiance to The Grind II (2008)
Yeah, Mike is generation 2 Dungeon Family, but his album is definitely a favorite. He burst onto the scene with the memorable verse on “The Whole World” and “Snappin & Trappin” before that. Then he dropped the debut album, Monster. But, IPATTG2 was the album where I really became familiar and paid attention to the Adamsville native. The inspirational tone of he album, about leadership, and straight grindin spoke life into an 18 year old Rome on his way to college. While most people acknowledge him for his recent work with El-P as a part of Run The Jewels, the run post-Purple Ribbon/pre RTJ is arguably the best in his catalog.
Standout Tracks: 2 Sides, Pressure, God in The Building, Grandma’s House