Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik album cover


LaFace Records

This might not have been the first hip-hop full-length to prove, per André 3000’s defiant ’95 Source Awards declaration, that “the South got something to say” — it was more of a reminder, really, whether you preferred Geto Boys or Arrested Development. But how it was said? That’s where OutKast’s debut cranked the bass up (and the tempo down). Organized Noize’s production can be absolutely languid in its funk in ways the West Coast hardly dared, but staked a powerful claim off that negative-space/bass-canyon glide; the 6 ½-minute swing-down-sweet-chariot Society of Soul showcase slow jam “Funky Ride” isn’t even rap, but after decades of ATL’s legacy it sure as hell sounds hip-hop. And if you were an East Coast head fixated on lyrical proficiency and intricacy, you had to recognize the still-teenaged Dre and Big Boi were absolutely going out of their minds on cuts like “Hootie Hoo” or “Call of da Wild” — not to mention second-half centerpiece “Git Up, Git Out,” featuring the soon-to-amaze Goodie Mob, which still stands as an all-timer statement of disenfranchised frustration yearning for something greater. OutKast’s outsider-status Afrofuturism would get more elaborate and experimental with successive albums, but their rocketship spit flames on takeoff.

Nate Patrin

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