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Andre: Me and Big Boi were a group by that time named 2 Shades Deep. We both had jobs at shoe stores. One day, Big Boi couldn't get off of work and I had set up our first shot to perform -- on this cable access show. So Cee-Lo went with me. So we performed, and some guy called in and said, "I just wanted to let you know y'all sounded like shit!" To this day, me and Cee-Lo never can forget that.
Big Boi: Cee-Lo was damn near about to be in the group for a minute. Me, Dre and Cee-Lo would go back to my auntie's house. We used to make loops on the tape deck, and Cee-Lo would have beats on tape that were so fucking funky it was retarded.
Andre: The first live performance was at this club called Club Fritz in the West End. We went, and Big Boi's uncle gave us weed. We smoked it in a napkin, so it was burning all wrong. So then we got on the mic and just crunked it up. We was on one mic, passing it back and forth, busting each other in the lip.
Big Boi: We were 2 Shades Deep, but there was a group called Four Shades Deep. We were going to do Misfits, but there was already a group called the Misfits. So we went down till we found OutKast, which meant what we wanted.
Sleepy: I met Rico through a girl I was dating at the time. She was good friends with him and T-Boz [of TLC]. Me and Rico started out in a singing group, the Uboys. At the time, when T-Boz got with TLC, she told Pebbles [TLC's manager, then married to L.A. Reid] about us. Pebbles liked our music, but vocally we weren't that great. So she just flat-out told us, "I like y'all's beats; I think you should get more into production."
Rico: I can't sing, though I was just fly -- like a local celebrity. I had a car, girls liked me, I had a perm. I danced and I looked like I sang.
Ray: Me and Gipp had been a group, Sixth Sense. The Gulf War was going on, and we recorded a song called "Pray for Peace." We had talked to NBC's "Today Show" and we were going to perform, but the war stopped.
Big Rube: This guy Joe Carne -- his mother was the singer Jean Carne. He had some musical equipment over his house, so we [Rico, Sleepy, Rube] were going over there working on stuff. And that's how we met Ray. But working with Joe was getting kind of hard, so then we decided to branch off on our own. We got a little setup in Rico's apartment in Delowe Gardens. And it was 24/7 after that.
Ray: Jellybeans [skate rink] was an institution; that's where everybody went. In 1990, we had a studio up there. There was an office and we had converted it into a live performance room. There was no ventilation, so if you were in there for 15-20 minutes, you'd be in a complete sweat. We were the producers for [rap group] P.A. After they got the deal with Pebbles, that's when we officially became Organized Noize. The name comes from a singing girl group Rico and Sleepy put together, but we couldn't find the girls for it. So we said, "That's a fly ass name. Fuck the girls."
Rico: A friend of mine knew [former Atlanta police chief] Eldrin Bell, and he owned a house in Lakewood that he was renting out. We had the apartment at Delowe and a studio at the skate rink, and I couldn't afford to pay rent at both places, so we moved to the house and made everything one.
Ray: The Dungeon was under the kitchen floor at Rico's house. It's a dirt floor. We had a table and chairs set up, an MPC with dust all over it, keyboards, records all over. When the shit flooded, we had to pick up, take the shit upstairs, because it warps. The vibes down there were otherworldly. Sometimes we'd be sitting down there writing, then the drum machine would go on. Because of the moisture in the machine, it used to go haywire. It would trigger samples, crazy shit.
Big Rube: The whole idea of calling it the Dungeon came from the way the basement looked. There were red clay walls, pipes over your head, like a boiler room or something. People didn't leave. You'd go over there and you basically was living there, so it was almost like you was held captive. So it just fit perfectly.
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