Emcees Big Boi and Andre 3000, together as Outkast, made one hell of a statement when they hit the rap world in the early 1990s. Hailing from Atlanta, the duo repped the South hard at a time when hip-hop was centered around New York and Los Angeles, bringing with them a new style, new slang, and a whole different vibe. Oukast muscled their way into the game at a precarious time, 1994, when both coasts were embroiled in antagonistic back and forth over popularity and respect…the East/West coast rap beef, and with their classic debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (had to copy and paste that one), the group established their region as a force to be recognized and reckoned with. Sure, there’s been a few Southern rappers which made inroads outside of the South before the duo, like Houston’s Geto Boys, or South Florida’s 2 Live Crew, but ‘Kast was a different beast. Big Boi and Andre were two dope boys in a Cadillac, but they hinted at something more, something damn near otherworldly, and while both emcees were in their teens at the time of their debut, their sound and confidence was already quite mature. Their production team, Organized Noize, brought soulful, down home funk with smooth grooves, prominent melodies, and much more, and ‘Kast brought tales of struggle, survival, and empowerment flavored by their come up in their East Point neighborhood. Altogether it sounded unlike any style of rap which came prior. It definitely wasn’t an East or West coast record, and on release, it caused quite a stir, gaining critical and commercial praise, along with some skepticism from those who were still steeped in the mindset that rap was exclusively an NY or LA thing. At the ’95 Source Awards, Outkast won the category for best newcomer, and Andre said these now-legendary words:
“The South got something to say.”
And damn, were they ever right! Outkast blew up, and so did the South when it came to rap. But, that’s a story for later.
Anyhow, for tonight’s post I wanted to go back to the group’s earlier work, when they still rode in a caddy before it became a rocketship. Their debut, Southernplayalistic…, is a knockout record which is still on another level 22 years later. It’s not my first ‘Kast record or my most favorite one (Both would of which be Aquemini), but still quite the debut, buoyed by one of their signature tracks, “Player’s Ball.” Tonight though, I wanted to highlight the record’s title track, which is just too damn funky. “Southernplayalistic…” rolls with confidence and style, and it’s a listen perfect for riding with the top down on a sunny day. Soundtrack.