Dungeon Family PART TWO (pg. 3)

Dre stands by his decisions, but says he does regret that “taking so much money off the table” took a toll on his partnership with Big Boi. “I know it caused a rift,” Dre admits, “I know it gotta hurt some kind of way. Sometimes I sit and think, like ‘How can I show [Big] that I appreciate him keeping cool?’”

There was much to keep cool about, including lost concert money. After headlining the successful Smoking Grooves tour in 2002, Dre informed Big that he didn’t want to hit the road any more. “He said ‘Fuck that, I ain’t going out,’” Big recalls. “I thought he was just playing… But we came out with Speakerboxxx/Love Below and he still… And then Idlewild. He really didn’t want to do it.”

Andre’s excuse for not touring was simple: “I got bored with it.”

But when it came time for him to explain his “boredom” to Big Boi, he struggled. “Man, those were the hardest conversations in the world,” he says. “I didn’t want to take money away from my partner so at one point I was like, ‘Let’s take somebody that looks like me, and just go out and do it!’” He pauses and laughs nervously. “[But] I was like, ‘Nah, we can’t do our fans like that. We can’t trick them.’”


OutKast was always more than a group. From day one, their unique, experimental sound and style made them a phenomenon. Dre says that when they first met Rico, “He sold us a dream.” As they spent more and more time chasing that dream at the Dungeon, Dre’s mother Sharon Benjamin Hodo grew suspicious. “Dre’s mom didn’t want him to be over at the Dungeon rapping because that didn’t seem like the road out,” says Rico’s cousin Mr. DJ, who became a producer for OutKast and other Dungeon fam acts. “Same with Big Boi, he would have problems with coming over to the Dungeon late night with a bunch of guys hanging out, smoking and rapping.”

Hip-hop did open new opportunities for Andre 3000. Always marching to his own drum, Dre began drifting away from the Dungeon Family in the mid 2000s. “Dre always wanted to lay his verse last. That’s some peculiar shit,” recalls Nikki, who formerly worked as Dee Dee Murray’s assistant in Organized Noize Records’ Atlanta office. “But he would still come to the Dungeon and listen to tracks, and pick up something. He wasn’t calling people. He was slowly distancing himself.”

“The whole situation really went for a turn once Dre started putting on those wigs,” says Big Gipp of Goodie Mob, “and started doing things that our street homeboys didn’t like. I think it distanced [him and Big] from each other.”

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