OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective
On April 26th, 1994 OutKast’s debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was released on the heels of an impressive 4.5 mic rating and glowing record review in The Source, which was regarded as the Bible Of Hip-Hop publications at the time. Things were looking up for a young Andre 3000 and Big Boi.
Sales for the album remained steady upon it’s release as fans really appreciated the themes, pacing and cohesiveness of the full album over focusing on it’s singles. It spread through word of mouth and caught on organically rather than behind the buzz generated by one particular song. The follow up single shared it’s title with the album and it also cracked the Billboard Hot 100 (peaking at #74), the F. Gary Gray directed video entered the regular rotation on both BET and MTV for the second time in a row further raising awareness of the duo. The dank smell of the versatile funk from The Dungeon orchestrated by Organized Noize was finally being put on display. The mixing of live instrumentation with traditional Hip Hop production techniques found the perfect intersection between influential Soul, R&B and Funk albums of the late 60’s to the mid 70’s on Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Dre and Big Boi’s tales of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood in Georgia resonated with many young people facing the same adversities all across the nation and the world. Music is universal, after all.
Although OutKast’s third single didn’t become a commercial hit, it became one of the album’s defining moments. “Git Up, Git Out” was a song that endeared this group and this album to many of not only Southern Rap’s detractors but rap in general. It features the introduction of Goodie Mob (Cee Lo and Big Gipp) and is led off by a young Cee Lo who earned the Hip Hop Quotable Dopest Rhyme Of The Month for his efforts. This introspective song showed the range and maturity of these young men and it echoed many of the same feelings of aimlessness and struggle the listening audience was also experiencing in their lives. It was easy for some heads to find parallels between the themes of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and Nas’ Illmatic released the previous week as he was also an old soul in a young body. Rap fans began to realize that we were really in the midst of another Golden Era. The Dungeon Family first made their presence felt in the Hip-Hop world through this LP via Goodie Mob (“Git Up, Git Out” and Society Of Soul (“Funky Ride”), foreshadowing the classic material they’d create in the future.
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