When Antwan “Big Boi” Patton and André “André 3000” Benjamin were still two young rappers looking to get put on, they had a chance encounter with Rico Wade, one third of the Atlanta production team Organized Noize.
As an impromptu audition for Wade, Big Boi and Andre freestyled over the instrumental of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.”
“When we got our deal, we rapped for Rico Wade in the parking lot,” Stacks recalled in his tribute to the late Phife Dawg. “The only thing me and Big had was ‘Scenario’ on cassette and we rapped for days, just going.”
After OutKast got their deal, the duo, along with Organized Noize and Goodie Mob formed the core of the Dungeon Family, a sprawling Atlanta musical collective that would go on to include future members like Sleepy Brown, Cool Breeze, Killer Mike, Janelle Monáe, Bubba Sparxxx, and even Future.
The duo’s albums would heavily involve the Dungeon Family, with Organized Noize making up the bulk of the production. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik featured Goodie Mob on “Call of da Wild” and the classic single “Git Up, Git Out”, with OutKast returning the favour a year later on the group’s debut album, Soul Food.
ATLiens would feature Witchdoctor, T-Mo, Khujo, Big Gipp and Cool Breeze. Aquemini, their third and arguably best release, continued the tradition of featuring a number of Dungeon Family members, but this time, Wu-Tang’s very own Raekwon the Chef came along for the ride, appearing on the album’s lead single, “Skew It on the Bar-B.”
“I was in Atlanta ’cause I had a nice place out there in Buckhead, and I met Big Boi in Lenox Square Mall,” Raekwon recalled in an interview. “He seemed like a cool, genuine dude, and we both were fans of each other’s work. We both were like, ‘Yo, let’s get up and do something.’ Two or three days later I went to the Dungeon house and we started running through some beats.”
In an interview with Creative Loafing, Big Boi described the recording session for the OutKast and Wu-Tang collaboration. As you would expect when you have three of the greatest rappers of all time together in the studio, there was a lot of good energy in the air that day.
Big Boi: That was the first time I had ever been in the booth with a nigga when he was rapping. Rae was about to do his verse, and he was like, “C’mon god, get in the booth.” I’m like, “Get in the booth with you?” He said, “Man, that’s how we do it. Let me get that energy, come in here with me.” So he was doing his verse, and we were just passing the Hennessy back and forth. The cup was spilling shit, nigga’s necklace was dangling – that’s what you hear, like cling-cling and all kinda shit. There was so much liquor spilled in the booth from him just doing his verse.The Making of OutKast’s Aquemini | Creative Loafing
With Wu-Tang being the biggest thing coming out of the East Coast, not under the Bad Boy banner, and Raekwon being a certified New York rap OG, his appearance on “Skew It on the Bar-B” was a defining moment for Southern hip hop.
”That shit blew me the fuck up in the South,” Chef told Complex. “When I tell you everywhere I go, clubs, everybody? Everybody in the South knew that record, and it wound up being a situation like Nas being on ‘Verbal Intercourse.’ Now Rae is on ‘Skew It On The Bar-B’ in the South. So, while they blew up, I blew up too. So everything looked like a real chess move, but it was still coming from the heart. It was nothing that was premeditated.”