J. Carter on how the Dungeon Family reunion was orchestrated for ONE Musicfest

Photo credit: ONE Musicfest

In the fall of 2014, J. Carter became inspired to make hip-hop history while witnessing a historical moment. After a nationwide festival run to celebrate 20 years in rap, OutKast made their way back to Atlanta and performed three shows at their own curated festival, ATLast. The energy exuded by Andre 3000 and Big Boi helped to spark Carter’s idea.

“When I saw the ATLast performance, I knew it would be awesome to see everyone from the Dungeon Family together again,” Carter said. “But things had changed tremendously since the Atlanta collective first introduced itself to the rap world in the mid-‘90s … and as the years passed, members of the Dungeon Family began to find their own voices and were less likely to be seen together in Atlanta.

“Big Boi is often traveling with Phantogram, Cee Lo Green was doing his thing on TV, and Andre [3000] comes and goes,” Carter says. “Over the years, the members of the Dungeon Family were scattered. I didn’t know how we could pull off a reunion knowing all of the pieces may not have come together.”

But in the spring of 2016, another pivotal moment occurred. The Netflix release of The Art of Organized Noize proved that the story of the Dungeon Family was still important to hip-hop culture. After the release of the critically-acclaimed documentary, Carter began working again to put the play of a Dungeon Family reunion in motion. “We reached out to Orlando McGhee and Rico Wade,” Carter says. “They both decided to become involved with getting everyone together and it was like divine intervention. Sometimes you have a blessing.”

In the summer of 2016, Carter and his team at ONE Musicfest released this year’s line-up. Legends such as Erykah Badu and Ice Cube would be featured along with newcomers such anderson.paak, BJ the Chicago Kid, and A$AP Ferg. But the most shocking addition to the line-up was the reunion of the Dungeon Family with every member involved. It was a significant moment for ONE Musicfest and the culture.

“When it comes to the Dungeon Family, it doesn’t get much bigger than that,” Carter emotes. “This is the only time that something like this has happened. Everyone who walks away will have history with them.”

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