Written by | Ray Cornelius

It was all about the “A” last night at the opening reception for Elevate Atlanta. The invitation only event served as the official kick-off party for this year’s theme: F(orever) I L(ove) A(tlanta).

Over 100 people squeezed into Gallery at 72 for a sneak peek of “The Art of Organize Noize,” an exhibition that traces the legacy of Organized Noize and their Dungeon Family collective.


Sleepy Brown taking a selfie with a fan

The exhibit was curated by visual/performing artist Fahamu Pecou and included a special appearance by Dungeon Family members Rico Wade and Sleepy Brown.

When Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Pat “Sleepy” Brown formed Organized Noize in the early 1990s, hip-hop was in the midst of a vicious (and ultimately fatal) bi-coastal turf war.  While historically polarized between (North) East Coast rap artists and West Coast rap artists, Organized Noize completely changed the direction of hip-hop culture, its sounds and expression.


Dungeon Family Portrait

The exhibit is also peppered with rare and intimate photos of the group’s iconic members that include Outkast, Goodie Mob, Joi, Slimm Cutta Calhoun and Big Rube. There’s also a collection of eye-popping costumes worn by some of the artists as well as a grill worn personally by Cee-Lo Green.

The crowning touch of the exhibit, however, is the display of the original stairs that led to the basement aka The Dungeon, where many of these musicians created their sounds. It was a small crawl space at the home of Rico Wade’s mother but it became a breeding ground for beats and lyrics that would ultimately put a spotlight on southern rap stars and soul music artists.

Check out all the photos below and click here to get more information about the exhibit and Elevate Atlanta:


Rico Wade


Office of Cultural Affairs’ Camille Russell Love and Funk Jazz Kafe’s Jason Orr




Cee-Lo Green’s infamous grill


DJ Tabone 


The “original” stairs that led to the Dungeon


Outkast autograph on the bottom of the stairs


The original home of the Dungeon Family  was owned by Rico Wade’s mother


Outrageous costumes are “must sees” when checking out the exhibit


Fahamu Pecou is the curator of Elevate Atlanta


My friends in the industry Karen Mason and Chris Walker

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com