Dungeon Family PART TWO (pg. 4)


Vibe / January 20, 2010

Dre’s wardrobe changes were widely attributed to his relationship with Seven’s mother, Erykah Badu. But Swift dismisses this notion. “If you go back to Southernplayalistic, he started off with jerseys and baseball hats,” he says. “But by the second album, ATLiens, niggas were trying to be genies and shit. Erykah ain’t got nothing to do with that.” Dungeon Family members began to joke about Erykah’s mysterious “spell” on men once she started dating Common in 2000. “The other dude after me didn’t help my case,” Dre quips. “It was just like…crazy nigga factory going on.” Dre makes no apologies for his own eccentricities. “I was young, and searching, trying to find myself,” he says. “Never did.”

By the time Speakerboxxx/Love Below was released in 2003, it was clear that the members of OutKast were heading in different directions artistically. Big Boi’s disc was more of a traditional OutKast record, resulting in the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 “The Way You Move.” Meanwhile Andre was singing on his disc, and he scored his own No. 1 Hot 100 hit with “Hey Ya!”

Dre admits that he distanced himself from the Dungeon Family at one point, mainly because of his musical shyness. “I wasn’t confident with my voice,” he says, “My voice wasn’t really that strong so I had to be by myself to do it. If I’m rapping I can have dudes all in the studio, smoking out. But it’s a whole different thing to be singing, ‘I hope you’re the one but if not you’re the prototype.’”

Andre first tried singing on “Synthesizer” from OutKast’s 1998 album Aquemini, and even then his partner was perplexed. Swift recalls the first time Big heard the track: “I’ll never forget… he was like, ‘Man, I don’t know if niggas in the streets want to hear that shit. That hurt Dre’s feelings bad.”

Dre made The Love Below sessions extra exclusive. Swift was one of the few people who witnessed Andre 3000’s magnum opus about the thing that scares him the most: love. “Dre got an extreme level of passion for women,” he says. “This nigga love women… But I think love and life has disappointed him … So I think he’d just rather sing about walking down that road of love than to actually experience it.”

Meanwhile, longtime production trio Organized Noize—Rico Wade, Ray Murray, and Sleepy Brown—were left to deal with the offense of none of their tracks being used for the double album. “The records that we worked on for Big Boi didn’t make Speakerboxxx,” says Ramon Campbell, Rico’s oldest friend. “It’s one of the biggest albums OutKast put out and we didn’t have anything to do with it. And that hurts… It kind of made us look foolish.” But according to Big Boi, “That’s just how it came out. Shit, whoever was in the studio with me was who I was recording with. Sleepy Brown [whose vocals are featured on a number of tracks] was in there with me every week I was in the studio.”