The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.
Few acts have had the level of influence on hip hop as Outkast. Recognized as elder statesmen in the game, Andre 3000 and Big Boi have brought home Grammy awards and platinum plaques -- not to mention hits galore. Having millions of sold records and a string of classic albums under their belt, Outkast are regarded as legendary icons. However, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik remains the foundation upon which their illustrious career was built.
Released on April 26, 1994, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was the first rap album under the LaFace Records banner and made Outkast the newest stars on the powerhouse label. Peaking at No. 20 on the Billboard 200 and producing multiple hits, the album was certified platinum the following year and is often listed among the greatest rap debuts of all-time.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of its release, REVOLT highlights seven reasons Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is an undisputed classic and was a game-changer for southern rap.
1. The Lyricism
Upon giving Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik a spin, the listener's attention is captured by the spellbinding couplets delivered by Big Boi and Andre 3000, both of whom put forth brilliant performances on the lyrical tip. Kicking flows and constructing rhyme schemes that rivaled even the most seasoned wordsmiths in hip hop, the dynamic duo displayed a level of skill that gave them instant credibility among purists and casual fans alike.
2. The Production
The success of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was not only due to Outkast's rhyme skills, but the contributions of production camp Organized Noize. Comprised of Rico Wade, Ray Murray, and Sleepy Brown; the trio earned their first credits through work with TLC, Xscape, and Parental Advisory. But, they caught their big break by producing the entirety of Outkast's debut. With a homegrown sound bolstered by live instrumentation,Organized Noize gave Andre 3000 and Big Boi the sonically rich backdrops to drop their southern slang over.
3. The Singles
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is a tour de force from top to bottom. But, the album's singles are some of its biggest highlights, all of which found a place in the hearts and ears of rap fans nationwide. "Players Ball," a silky-smooth jamboree that helped put Outkast on the map, climbed to No. 37 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. This gave the duo their first bonafide hit, which has since gone on to become one of their signature songs. In addition to "Players Ball," the album's title-track also gained traction while getting the rap populous even more familiar with their southern, yet street-wise sound. However, the most impactful radio release may be "Git Up, Git Out," a motivational anthem that features a show-stealing performance by Goodie Mob member Cee-Lo.
4. The Music Videos
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik would've been a classic body of work off the merit of the music alone. But, being that rap fans during the '90s were highly visual, the accompanying videos to the album's singles enriched the experience. In the Diddy-directed clip for "Players Ball," Andre 3000 and Big Boi cruise around the city, and make stops at the pool hall and the barbershop, giving listeners an up-close glimpse of their hometown. Picking up where they left off on "Players Ball," the duo hits up a Freaknik-esque house party in the "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik" music video, which displays their more lighthearted side. "Git Up, Git Out" was another memorable visual from the album. It painted a vivid portrait of life in the East Point and College Park streets.
5. It Introduced The Goodie Mob
Aside from being the group's debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was also the coming-out party for the Dungeon Family; which included Outkast, Organized Noize, and fellow Atlanta rap group Goodie Mob. Making their introductory appearance on the album cut "Call of da Wild" and the hit single "Git Up, Git Out;" Cee-Lo, Big Gipp, Khujo, and T-Mo made a lasting impression. This resulted in the group's own debut album, Cell Therapy, being released the following year.
6. The Interludes
One over-arching theme of Outkast's first body of work is their love and devotion for their Atlanta stomping grounds, which is conveyed not only through their lyrics, but multiple interludes over the course of the album. From Peaches' syrupy drawl greeting listeners on the intro to the Dungeon Family's encounters with various characters throughout the city, the intermissions on the album are memorable and pay homage to Atlanta culture.
7. It Proved The South Had Something To Say
In a year dominated by historic releases from artists from the east and west coasts, Andre 3000 and Big Boi crashed the party with Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, a collection of tracks that put the ATLiens on equal footing with their more touted contemporaries. Dense and varied subject matters, along with the refined production, made it one of the critically acclaimed albums of 1994. Netting a Source award for Best New Group in 1995, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik helped establish Atlanta's credibility in rap. Outkast put the rap world on notice that the south truly had something to day.
More by Preezy Brown: