“The South got something to say…” And they said it LOUD.
Alright. So, in ’94 OutKast arrived and upset the hip-hop hierarchy, establishing that South, Atlanta in particular, was very much a force to be reckoned with and very far removed from the cold street themes of NYC or the smoked out set-trippin’ of Los Angeles. Once they caught national attention with their debut Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (quite the title, there), the Dungeon Family wasted no time moving into the spotlight. The Family was a collective of rappers and producers out of ATL which included ‘Kast, Goodie Mob, the production team Organized Noize, Witchdoctor and Sleepy Brown, and would later include artists such as Killer Mike and Janelle Monáe. The collective came to define the city and the region, with their smooth, blissful, southern-fried sound being extremely influential in hip-hop, R&B, and pretty much all over popular culture. There’s a good reason why Atlanta rap has had staying power since.
Though the members of the Family would occasionally guest on each other’s records throughout the ’90s, it wasn’t until 2001 that they’d all band together to put out an album. By this point Outkast were on their way to being superstars, Goodie Mob were cult darlings with member Cee-Lo gaining greater recognition for his singing chops, and the Noize had earned their plaudits in producing several legendary records by the collective’s members as well as a few singles. The record, Even In Darkness wasn’t bad at all, but a bit underwhelming considering the lineup. That said, the moments where the record hits, it hits.
Featuring Cee-Lo and Big Gipp of Goodie, Big Boi from Outkast, Sleepy Brown, and Shuga Luv, “Follow the Light” is HEAT. The track is sly and fluid like water, with a snappy sound and a slinky melody that makes you want to bop. The singing and harmonizing on this one feels angelic, and the reassuring, ambitious lyrics from Big Boi, Gipp, and Cee Lo, makes this one a standout.