The Superfriends, The Legion of Doom, The X-Men. All titans of the super group comic book world, but what about in the world of music? What project of mass proportions contains the professor Xavier’s of our time? What characters shred your ears like Wolverine on his half brother Sabertooth? Some of you may not realize, but supergroups have been upon us for nearly decades now, and this is the first of three parts exploring some of the past, present, and future of the super groups of music. Today we look back to the past to the members behind the Dungeon Family, NWA, and The Sound of Animals Fighting.
The Dungeon Family
Named after record producer Rico Wade’s basement recording studio, the Dungeon Family was a collection of some of hip hop’s finest MC’s. While dozens of albums have been created in the Dungeon, the group hasn’t collectively done an album together since 2001.You may have heard this name most prominently from Family members Outkast, or even from Cee Lo Green’s old outfit, Goodie Mob.Other members included Witchdoctor, Cool Breeze, Bubba Sparxxx, Sleepy Brown, and Killer Mike.
Curious to what an allstar crew could come with? Here’s one of my favorite hip hop instrumentals, coupled with one of the best verses that Andre 3000 ever wrote. From the 1998 Goodie Mob album Still Standing, Black Ice.
NWA ( Niggaz With Attitude)
I’m sure you’ve all enjoyed the legendary works of West Coast supergroup NWA. Based in Compton, these 6 rappers were responsible for a large part of the gangster rap movement in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
What I appreciated about NWA, was their blantant disregard for authority. These guys were some of the first to truly express the soul of the ghetto for its thousands of oppressed inhabitants. Sure there’s debate about whether or not they were oppressed or not, but the point still stands: they had the world listening.
Despite having their songs being banned from radio stations nationwide, the crew sold over 9 million albums, with Straight Outta Compton being their most notable work.
The half dirty dozen brought to the scene some of the most powerful rappers still in the game; Dr. Dre and Ice Cube being the most powerful of the dismantled group. Although I think if Easy E were still alive, he may have taken the reigns.
Here’s 1988’s smash hit, Fuck tha Police.
TSOAF (The Sound of Animals Fighting)
Formed by musicians Rich Balling (that name is so awesome), Anthony Green, Matt Embree, and Chris Tsagakis, TSOAF was an experimental supergroup formed in Los Angles in 2004. The crew would write 3 albums, with members from almost a dozen bands in the mix.
Strangely, the group only had 4 live shows total, in Nevada and California. I didn’t get to the shows, but the DVD We Must Become the Change We Want to See showcases the mayhem, and definitely is worth a look if you haven’t seen it already.
When I first heard of the project, I was cautiously optimistic, with Circa Survive and RX Bandits being two of my favorite bands. But each album got better and while their time as a supergroup was short lived, it was quite the performance.
I leave you with my favorite track from their third album; The Ocean and The Sea, The Heraldic Break of the Manufacturers Medallion. Chris Tsagakis murders the drums!
That brings us to the end of Supergroups: The Past, so stay tuned for part two coming out soon where I’ll discuss some of music’s current supergroups.
Until next time my friends,