After nearly twenty years in the game, Organized Noize doesn’t get their due respect. Their prolific works still manage to be overlooked despite the three-man production team playing an instrumental role in the creation of widely-accepted classic albums, number one hits and Grammy-winning records, as well as breaking some of the most important artists in Hip-Hop.
Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown helped pioneer the Southern Hip-Hop movement, kicking down doors at major record labels and raising the ceiling for all artists from below the Mason-Dixon at a time when the industry and nation were still resistant to Southern sounds. They brought us one of the greatest collectives in the history of Hip-Hop, the Dungeon Family, while introducing Outkast and Goodie Mob to the world. They produced the entirety of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and Soul Food, not to mention platinum hits for TLC and En Vogue, and even completed songs with Curtis Mayfield. One would think that would be enough to land them a permanent spot in the “Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time” conversation, but all too often Ray, Rico and Sleepy seem to be an afterthought.
It was with this line of thinking in mind that this mix was created. The trio doesn’t rap (though Sleepy Brown has several albums under his belt), and aren’t the most vocal in the media. They let their music do the talking, and Out Of The Darkness operates along the same lines. In 80 minutes, 50 tracks lay out a compelling case for Organized Noize’s inclusion when Hip-Hop fans are speaking of the royal family of production: Dre, RZA, Premier, Pete Rock and the other usual suspects. No less an authority than Big Rube (for the uninitiated, Rube is the voice of the spoken word pieces on classic records from Aquemini to Sir Lucious Leftfoot, as well as the intro to the Future’s Pluto) narrates the disc, helping guide listeners through two decades of productions ranging from the layers of soulful live instrumentation in “Waterfalls” and the early Outkast material to the hard-hitting drums of “They Don’t Dance No Mo” and “Watch For The Hook.”
The project is co-presented by Devil’s Pie, TSS, 2DopeBoyz and Maurice Garland.com, and the amazing cover artwork was illustrated and designed by illadelphsouL (prints can be purchased here). It’s impossible to capture the breadth of Organized Noize’s discography in 50 tracks, but this mix attempts to provide a starting place for listeners to develop their understanding of one of the most underrated production teams in Hip-Hop history.