OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective
At a time when East Coast Rap biases were at their highest levels in the midst of an East Coast Rap resurgence fueled by Wu Tang Clan, Nas and Notorious B.I.G. amongst others OutKast carved out their own niche. Their distinct flows, lyrical content, approaches to songwriting, themes and Southern fried production on Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik made them stand out from the pack all the more while others seemed to be borrowing from and drawing influences from their contemporaries. OutKast was steadfast in representing for Atlanta and walking their own path. The final single from the project never charted but it consisted of three of the fan favorites off the album (especially when they were performed live), “Ain’t No Thang”, “Crumblin’ Erb” and “Hootie Hoo”. The album went gold in June 1994 but it organically spread more and more all throughout the rest of the year. By April 1995 it was certified platinum aided by buzz from their single “Benz Or Beamer” off the New Jersey Drive OST Vol. 1 . Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik spent 26 weeks on the Billboard 200, never once rising higher than 20th. Slow and steady wins the race indeed.
On August 3rd, 1995 the 2nd Annual Source Awards were held in New York in what was supposed to be a celebration of the best and brightest in Hip-Hop music during another Golden Era. It was instead marred by enmity, jealousy and violence. The tension in the audience was impossible to ignore according to attendees. OutKast won the award for New Artist Of The Year, Group and took the stage to be met with boos from the New York crowd. Andre 3000 defiantly declared to the audience that “the South got something to say!” before leaving the stage. There was no way for a young Andre Benjamin to know how influential his statement made on that humid summer night would be in later years but today OutKast is credited with being the duo who opened doors for Southern Hip Hop in the mainstream.