OutKast, Goodie MOB, Killer Mike, T.I. and the Dungeon Family Reunite at ONE Musicfest [VIDEO]
From the beginning, it was clear that this was a special night—all of the members of DF were on stage for what many believe will probably be the last time. Gathered at Aaron's Lakewood Amphitheater on a sweaty September night, the DF reminisced on old jams, threw in some obscure cuts and had a capacity crowd entranced by their left-leaning, futuristic, yet soulfully grounded musicianship.
The coolest thing about the night was almost everyone from DF was on hand, from Big Boi and Andre 3000 to Cee-Lo, Big Gipp, Sleepy Brown, T-Mo, Cool Breeze, Backbone, Witchdoctor, Slimm Calhoun, Organized Noize and Kilo Ali. Joi, however, who sang on many Dungeon Family records and backed up OutKast during their 2014 tour, was surprisingly absent, though Keisha Jackson (who regularly backs up Sleepy Brown and also toured with OutKast) was there. The only other person who was also very notably M.I.A. was Goodie MOB's Khujo, but his spirit was present and Cee-Lo dedicated the performance to him.
The crowd was already lifted just by the sheer enormity of the occasion when they opened the set, backed by a live band, with a poem by resident philosopher and southern street life poet, Big Rube. After Rube's poetic introduction, the song that introduced the phrase "dirty south" to the world, Goodie MOB's "Dirty South" featuring Cool Breeze and Big Boi, came on, setting the tone for the entire night properly. From there, they launched into Witchdoctor's "Holiday," a verifiable Atlanta classic. But the crowd lost its collective mind when the chords to the absolute all-time city classic, and one of the best hip-hop songs of the past 20 years, "Black Ice (Sky High)" came on.
With a fresh Shirly Temple sporting Gipp on hand to deliver his rhyme, and Big Boi entering the scene to cheers, it was obvious everyone was witnessing something special. So when Dre (who was wearing a gold grill) came onto the stage, the crowd erupted into deafening cheers as soon as he uttered the first words to his quoatable lyrics—the verse that arguably indisputably put him on everyone's "next-level rapper" list - "Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your eardrums / It was a beautiful day off in the neighborhood." Dre was right, the sight was indeed beautiful to behold.
Dressed mostly in Dungeon Family sweatshirts and jeans, the DF ran through hits including OutKast's hit, "Get Up, Get Out," which was really the song that introduced Cee-Lo as a standout talent in the collective back in 1994, and "Hootie Hoo," as well as Goodie's electric debut single, "Cell Therapy," OutKast's "So Fresh, So Clean" and Goodie's "They Don't Dance No Mo'." They even pulled out hits that mostly only Atlantan's know, including Lil Will's "Looking for Nikki," Cool Breeze's "Cre-A-tine," and the classic song "Love in Ya Mouth" by Atlanta rap legend Kilo Ali featuring Big Boi, who looked especially happy to recite his verse.
Toward the middle, the set dipped into songs that were frankly, a little too obscure, from the 2001 Dungeon Family album, Even In Darkness, that no one really listened to, save for maybe "Trans DF Express," which they performed. You have to wish the set would've included more songs from Goodie MOB's classic Soul Food ("Thought Process") or Still Standing ("Beautiful Skin," "Gutta Butta") or even a few more OutKast songs, ("Mainstream," "Ain't No Thang") instead.
Even still, they never lost the crowd, and the momentum was visibly revived by the time OutKast came back out to perform their Grammy-winning single, "The Whole World," which was really just a set up for an incredibly energetic Killer Mike to get on stage. Killer Mike pretty much owns Atlanta right now, and Mike's presence re-sparked the crowd's enthusiasm to a fever pitch, especially when he stayed on stage to deliver the Bone Crusher classic, "Never Scared," and brought out T.I. The 2003 song featured one of Tip's most notable verses from early in his career, and like Mike, his performance was feverish as he fed off the crowd, who once again, was shouting his rhyme lyric for lyric.
Mike stayed on stage and was rejoined by Big Boi, Rock D and C-Bone for Atlanta's official anthem, 2005's "Kryptonite" off of Big Boi's Purple Ribbon compilation, Got Purp? Vol. 2. In fact, the culmination of those three songs may've been the most energetic of the night. So by the time the entire DF came back out for Cool Breeze's 1999 posse cut "Watch for the Hook," the momentum was in full swing for the closing.
Erykah Badu, who was at the festival performing just before DF's set, sauntered on stage to deliver her memorable world-wise verse from OutKast's southern spiritual hymn, "Liberation" also featuring Cee-Lo. However, for some reason, Dre had already walked off the stage, and didn't return for his short verse (Cee-Lo ended up doing it, although the crowd seemed to barely notice).
The set ended with OutKast's 2001 song "Gangster S---" from their Stankonia album (and Dre laughingly partially forgetting his verse), bringing a close to what will undoubtedly be a night forever remembered, not just for the Dungeon Family collective, but for Atlanta.
Check out some clips from OutKast's performances captured by T.I.