dungeon-family

AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER? The Untold Story of the Dungeon Family. PART ONE

Twenty years ago, an Atlanta teenager named Rico Wade handpicked a bunch of friends––rappers, artists, and producers––to form the Dungeon Family. From OutKast and Goodie Mob to Organized Noize, Rico and his fellow Dungeon dwellers transformed hip hop. They lived the fly life until a spiral of greed, drugs, and envy threatened to tear the family apart. In Part One of this epic, two-part saga, LINDA HOBBS investigates the rise and early struggles of the legendary crew that put the Dirty South on the map.

 

His home resembles The White House. But Rico Wade’s stately residence has seen better days. The paint is chipped. Weeds cover the backyard tennis court and the edges of the sunken pool. In the living room: hardwood floors, white walls, no furniture.

Standing in the spacious kitchen, Rico Wade is so skinny, he looks fragile. If it wasn’t for the tatts on his forearms––DUNGEON in script on his right and FAMILY on his left––you might not recognize him as the man who impregnated Southern music with its first burst of universally respected hip hop.

Rico leans over the marble-topped island with a grin as he pours a splash of Crown Royal into his mug of green tea. He’s wearing a brown suede cowboy hat, green grenade belt, dirty tube socks, and a T-shirt with a picture of his dead grandmother. A haunting soundtrack drones throughout every room in the mansion. “Revolution/Revolution/would not be televised/but it will be heard/We don’t fear them/We don’t fear them/We could have riot/but we kept quiet…” It’s a new song Rico’s been working on, for the long-anticipated reunion of a group he discovered 15 years ago: the brilliant eccentric quartet Goodie Mob, just four of the young black teenagers who rose from the Dungeon to become stars.

Follow the sound down a stairwell, to a room that’s painted black. The deeper you go, the heavier the pounding of drum machines. Deeper still, and you enter a tiny room with a Confederate flag hanging over a huge mixing board flanked by framed portraits of Rico as well as platinum plaques from OutKast, TLC, En Vogue, and Ludacris. It’s a room many have heard about, but few have seen: the Dungeon.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ PART TWO

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LeBron James: “The Most Disrespected Person On Earth Is The Black Woman”

LeBron James shared a powerful statement in reaction to the lack of justice in the murder of Breonna Taylor, and promised to do his part to bring about change.

“The most DISRESPECTED person on Earth is THE BLACK WOMAN! I promise you I’ll do my best to change this as much as I can and even more!!! Love to you Queens all over this country and beyond,” James tweeted on Wednesday (Sept. 23) along with a shout out to some of the women in his family.

The most DISRESPECTED person on earth is THE BLACK WOMAN! I promise you I’ll do my best to change this as much as I can and even more!! LOVE to you QUEENS all over this country and beyond! 👸🏽👸🏾👸🏿❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 24, 2020

Grandma Freda, Gloria Marie, Savannah Rachael, Zhuri Ann Marie Nova I LOVE YOU MY BLACK QUEENS more than life itself!! 👸🏾🖤🖤🖤🖤

— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 24, 2020

Mema Brinson, Deidra Norris, Pam Walker, Tanesha Walker, Chanelle Walker, Brenda Weems, Caddie Powers I LOVE YOU Queens!!! 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 24, 2020

As previously reported, a grand jury decided not to charge officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove for killing Taylor during a police raid. Hankinson, a former officer of the Louisville Metro Police Department, faces three counts of wanton endangerment, but the charges were not related to Taylor being killed.

Collin Kaepernick also took to Twitter with a few thoughts: “The white supremacist institution of policing that stole Breonna Taylor’s life from us must be abolished for the safety and well being of our people.”

Read more reactions below.

 

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I am just at a loss for words.... 💔

A post shared by Kelly Rowland (@kellyrowland) on Sep 23, 2020 at 5:23pm PDT

Dear Breonna,

I’m so sorry the people in power have failed to get this right. You deserve so much more. Your life mattered. You deserved the bright future that was ahead of you. We will continue to say your name. We will continue to fight in your name. #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/31M3ndOloK

— DWade (@DwyaneWade) September 24, 2020

They never get it right and that doesn't make it hurt any less. Breonna Taylor should still be with us and her family deserved justice today. Tired of this shit.

— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) September 23, 2020

Bulls--- decision!!! BLACK LIVES MATTER!!! Cannot be said enough times. https://t.co/HOrDQzHJ0d

— Viola Davis (@violadavis) September 23, 2020

Amen 🙏🏽 shit is sooo sad and discouraging. https://t.co/2ex3OImFpv

— iamcardib (@iamcardib) September 23, 2020

Another innocent black life gone with no consequences!! Breonna Taylor was 26, a daughter, a cousin, a friend, a girlfriend, an ER technician, an AMERICAN. 💔

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 24, 2020

Understand what that truly means because Accountability needs to occur in a new way. Word is Bond to the Father. Let’s not be sorry, Let’s correct this fucking Error. Rest Easy Queen #BREONNATAYLOR pic.twitter.com/dzWTtV90Zl

— Busta Rhymes (@BustaRhymes) September 24, 2020

#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/eURn5iMQrl

— COMMON (@common) September 23, 2020

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Kanye West Says He’s Giving G.O.O.D. Music Artists Back What He Owns Of Their Masters

After nearly two weeks of speaking out against Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV, Kanye West has promised to do his part to help artists on his G.O.O.D. Music label imprint.

“I’m giving all Good music artist[s] back the 50% share I have of their masters,” West tweeted on Wednesday (Sept. 23). Big Sean, who signed with West’s label more than a decade ago, thanked West for the gesture.

Thank you!!! This would help so much 🙏🏾 https://t.co/6yR3fAKlwB

— Sean Don (@BigSean) September 23, 2020

The move comes as West spoke with Billboard to further discuss his plans to “free artists” from oppressive record deals.

“The desired effect will only be achieved when every artist owns their masters,” said West. “I’m Team ‘Free Artists.’ I’m committed to doing whatever is necessary so artists own their own copyrights. The response is awesome because everyone knows this is a broken system that needs to be fixed. Currently, artists take advances to make records and yet when they repay those advances the record company still owns the records.”

West said that he is in talks with Universal, and their parent company Vivendi, but reiterated that he wants to fix “everyone’s situation,” along with his own. “My brand and influence goes way beyond just music and that of course is meaningful to Vivendi, as it is to Adidas and many other conglomerates. If that helps me be able to help free all artists, of course I’m going to use it,” West explained.

“You only need to look back to the early days of the record companies and see how predatory they were,” he continued. “Old execs admit it. The contracts are almost the same now. The shape, the terminology... And yet, in that time we moved to a completely digital age. Has the attitude of the labels and the structure in which our music moves on our side changed to that degree? No, it has not. You’re locked in; once you’re locked in you can ask no questions.”

Despite his feelings on UMG and Sony/ATV, West hasn’t closed the door on working with the label giants in the future. “I will work with anyone who treats artists fairly and righteous. They do that , I will partner with them in bringing music to life. I will redesign the whole process.”

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Former Louisville Cop Brett Hankison Charged, But Not For Killing Breonna Taylor

Former and current officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove, were facing potential indictments for killing Breonna Taylor, but only one was charged in connection with the case, Louisville Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday (Sept. 23).

The grand jury opted to indict Hankison, who was fired from the department in June, on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for firing recklessly and endangering neighbors on the night of Taylor’s murder. Hankison was not charged for her death. If convicted on all three charges, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Cameron stated that he spoke with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer ahead of the announcement. He called the 26-year-old emergency room tech’s death a “tragedy,” before revealing “facts” in the case, which concluded that all of the officers acted lawfully.

“There was no video or body camera footage of the officers’ attempted execution of a search warrant at Ms. Taylor’s residence. Video footage begins at the point that area patrol officers arrive at the location. And therefore, the sequence of events from March 13th had to be pieced together through ballistics evidence, 911 calls, police radio traffic, and interviews,” said Cameron, who denied that police were executing a no-knock warrant in the early morning hours of March 13. Louisville moved to ban no-nock warrant’s after Taylor’s death.

Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison were called on as “extra personnel” during the raid on Taylor’s home, and only had information that was “conveyed” during a prior briefing, according to Cameron. Another unnamed officer filed the warrant.

“Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officer’s statement about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in proximity to [Taylor’s apartment],” continued Cameron. “In other words, the warrant was no served as a ‘no-knock warrant.’ When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door the decision was made to breach the door.”

Mattingly was the “first and only officer” to enter the residence, where he saw two people (Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker), Cameron said. Both Taylor and Walker were unaware that police were raiding the residence and were sleeping prior to being woken up by the commotion. Mattingly observed Walker in a “shooting stance” and was shot in the upper thigh, Cameron said.

“Seargent Mattingly returned fire down the hallway. Mattingly fired six shots. Almost simultaneously, Detective Cosgrove also in the doorway, shot 16 times. This all took place in a matter of seconds,” Cameron said. “In total, six bullets struck Ms. Taylor. Medical evidence obtained by our team indicates that only one shot was fatal.” Cameron added that Crossgrove fired the fatal shot and that Taylor died within seconds. However, Walker told authorities that Taylor struggled to breathe for at least five minutes. She went untreated for more than 20 minutes.

“I think it is worth repeating again our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” Cameron reiterated.

Cameron does not plan to release the grand jury indictment. When asked about the racial breakdown of his team he replied, “Well I’m Black. And I speak for the entire department.”

Benjamin Crump, one of the attorney’s representing Taylor’s family called the charges “outrageous and offensive to her memory.” Read his full statement below.

Today’s indictment is outrageous and offensive to Breonna Taylor’s memory, yet another example of no accountability for police. Full statement: (1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/pmurOrV5My

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 23, 2020

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