Not unlike the QB Finest disc, a compilation of MCs from Queensbridge spearheaded by Nas, this disc finds some of Atlanta's biggest and brightest hip-hop stars sharing the spotlight with their lesser-known hometown peers.
A collective of Southern rappers including members of Outkast and Goodie Mob, plus solo emcees from Backbone to Witchdoctor, the Dungeon Fam seems to have cribbed a page from the Wu-Tang Clan's business model. There's certainly strength in numbers, but that's where the comparison ends. Weaned on the crunked-up bounce of Dirty South hip-hop, the Dungeon Family have concocted an original electric-funk blend that hearkens back to George Clinton's Mothership funkateers. Their heavily hyped disc, Even in Darkness, features the Atlanta-based artists tag-teaming atop the synthesized beat stew with a barrage of rhymes largely addressing their rap preeminence ("6 Minutes") and otherworldy ethos ("Excalibur"). However, like Outkast's masterful Stankonia, the DF revamp rap clichés to make them sound so fresh and so clean. On the Kraftwerk-borrowed groove of "Trans DF Express," Outkast's Dre captivates with flirtatious lines such as: "Hippy to the hop like a digilog frog/Throw me the cat and I'll throw you the dog." Bubba Sparxxx drops by on "White Gutz," a big-up to the butter-soft leather interiors and whitewall tires of a flossy ride, set to a hypnotic beat. Lyrically, however, DF are just as comfortable at the deep end of the pool. Over the guitar-loop and a doo-wop chorus of "Rollin'," featuring Society of Soul, they ponder the need to "color outside the lines" in a myopic rap industry, and on the aptly titled "What Is Rap?" Witchdoctor and Big Rube wax poetic about the stagnant state of hip-hop. Funk for the booty and a bonus for the brain, the Dungeon Family are the coolest muther-funkers on planet hip-hop.