SXSW Music Review: Dungeon Family

Big Boi and Goodie Mob make hay

The Dungeon Family should need no introduction.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

While the last decade has witnessed Atlanta churn out both pop crossover giants such as T.I. and Ludacris, and hedonistic trap champions like Future, 21 Savage, and Migos, the city boasts a long lineage of hip-hop going back 25 years with the formation of the Dungeon Family and its maverick mainstays of Outkast and Goodie Mob. With no hesitation, the latter Hot ’Lanta quartet and Big Boi (Antwan Andre Patton) took to Auditorium Shores on Friday for 90 vertiginous minutes of Nineties Dirty South sounds.

Serving out tracks from the gritty triumvirate Soul Food (1995), Still Standing (1998), and World Party (1999), Goodie Mob slid back into usual form, cruising alongside blaring horns and Cadillac subwoofer bass. While the songs themselves don’t hold the same punch as they used to, the group’s skills haven’t tarnished: Thomas “Cee Lo” Calloway’s bluesy dirt rasp and poetic waxing transcended rap in “Cell Therapy”; Willie “Khujo” Kingston’s chest-puffed brusqueness drilled with edge and Robert “T-Mo” Barnett’s sharp tongue burned white-hot in “They Don’t Dance No Mo’”; and Cameron “Big” Gipp flashed playa braggadocio in “Get Rich to This” and the Sleepy Brown-assisted “Steppin’ Out.”

Goodie Mob was the soul of Dungeon Family, but Outkast maintained its beating heart. Big Boi thus dealt classic cuts like “Ms. Jackson,” which trip-wired the free assemblage. ATLiens (1996) and Stankonia (2000) cuts “ATLiens” and “The Whole World” snuck in the set as BB bounced between interstellar psychedelia in the former and hot and heavy horn-driven funk romps in the latter.

Closing out with crowd pleasers “Crazy” and “The Way You Move,” Big Boi and Goodie Mob brought Atlanta rap back to its Southern-fried funk and ruckus roots that bashed the West vs. East hip-hop gridlock and gave Southern rap a place at the table.

Dungeon Family

Friday, March 15, 8:30pm, Lady Bird Lake

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Dungeon Family, SXSW 2019, SXSW Music 2019, Big Boi, Cee-Lo Green, Goodie Mob, Organized Noize, Sleepy Brown, Outkast, Willie “Khujo” Kingston, Robert “T-Mo” Barnett

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