My favorite musical group of all time is OutKast. I was thinking some time ago it would be fun to spend one Friday each week in a row looking at all seven of their albums. I may put up posts up on those Fridays too, of course, but for seven weeks you can expect me to discuss an OutKast album and what my thoughts are on it. As this is the first week we are going to discuss the first album, "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik."
Yes, Outkast's debut is all one word and it's a mouthful. As the song with the same title on the LP says it slowly, however, you can too. Southern-playa-listic-cadillac-muzik. It grabs your attention just like how Outkast grabbed everyone's attention before their first LP even dropped with the single, "Player's Ball." That single came out during the holiday season of 1993 and was so catchy they decided to tweak some of the lyrics that directly referenced Christmas so that the track could work year-round. If you listen closely you can kind of notice some aspects that still sound Christmas-y, but it's less obvious. The actual album, "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik," was released April 26th of 1994 and was a hit.
It earned OutKast Best New Rap Group at the 1995 Source awards. Dre (he wasn't yet Andre 3000 until after the third album came out and was going moreso by Dre) gave his short speech that actually is played as a clip on the third LP, "Aquemini," where he states, "...the South got something to say, that's all I got to say." A brief but firm statement in the 90s that it wasn't all East Coast and West Coast. People loved Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik with its mixture of more mainstream-sounding raps about pimps and cars mixed with some of the conscious and introspective rhymes OutKast would become even more known for later on. How does it stand up today, almost 30 years later? It still fucking bumps.
Sometimes you listen to an artist's first album and you almost feel embarrassed. It is clear they were figuring things out and there were growing pains. That isn't the case with, "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik." Rare misstep of a track aside, it is a damn solid EP. The first actual song after the, "Peaches," monologue, "Myintrotoletuknow," shows off dizzying skill from the opening gate, and then we get into the certified banger, "Ain't No Thang," which features boastful raps about beating up anyone who dares challenge Big Boid and Andre, but it is joyfully self-aware, with Andre cracking-up at one point in the song before the chorus. Then we get an interlude, "Welcome to Atlanta," where a pilot landing a plane gives us an overview of Georgia, full of uncomfortable pauses after observations about how the capital still flies the Confederate battle flag. Next is the titular track, funky and slow as it tells us about that Cadillac muzik. Then the first clunker happens.
I just do not really dig, "Call of da Wild." It's clunky, the melody and beat never sync up well, and guest rappers on the track, Goodie Mob, are wasted and used to much better effect later on the LP. Thankfully, right after it is the joyful, "Player's Ball," which always gets me moving and grooving. "Claimin' True," follows it and is a solid track, then a brief interlude humorous titled, "Club Donkey Ass."
Yet another interlude ("True Dat,") is followed by the forlorn, "Crumlin' Erb,") which is a good track but drags a little. As we near the end of the album, "Hootie Hoo," emerges and just impresses the senses with its imposingly creeping bass and the repetition of the phrase, "Hootie hoo." Then we get the too-long and kinda dull, "D.E.E.P." the only other song on the album I just don't really like. Finally, we close with the, "Player's Ball (Reprise)," which is a remix of sorts to the first, "Player's Ball," with a bit more piano and singing. It's nice.
"Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik," is an amazing album and if it had been put out by a lesser artist might very well be considered their best LP of all time. OutKast though? They were just getting started. Join me next week as we make a big shift in themes and go from planet Earth to outer space with, "ATLiens."