After a record deal with LaFace, Outkast went right to work on their debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. With the help of production team, Organized Noize, the then teenagers, Antwon Patton and Andre Benjamin created a Hip Hop album that was a lauded hybrid of Funk and Soul. With Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, the rookie group helped spread the “Dirty South” blanket farther than 8Ball & MJG had done the year before with “Comin’ Out Hard.”
Hip Hop was about to embark on an already brewing bi-coastal battle. Unknowingly, Big Boi and Andre3000 painted a third landscape and made a Hip Hop album that was the stylistic equivalent to Switzerland (only stylistically since their debut video would be directed by Puffy and would later become an opening act for Biggie). They weren’t about fighting the competition as much as they were struggling to survive inner demons, lack of motivation, staying in school, getting high off the work, and living in a sector of our country that still flew the Confederate battle flag. Even in their braggadocio joints there was a tinge of redemption.
The few major critics that reviewed Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik were able to decipher the important role they played for Southern Rap. An interesting review, or lack thereof, came from Robert Cristagu, of the Village Voice, who gave it a generic “dud” rating, which was defined as: “a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought.” In later years, he would rave about Aquemini, Stankonia, The Love Below/Speakerboxxx, and even Idlewild.
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik would be redeemed in Robert’s review of the group’s 2001 greatest hits compilation, Big Boi and Dre Present…Outkast, in which he talks about the track “Crumblin’ Erb,” and how it’s one of his favorite records. That’s the test of time, right there.
“A dud: a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought.” – The Village Voice
“Opting not to just make hyped-up rhyme lies, they coat their lyrics with that strange Southern phenomenon – honesty.” – The Source
“If there is such a thing as Southern hip-hop, you’re not going to find it in Arrested Development’s suspiciously peppy, idealized version of down-home. You’ll get closer with Outkast’s lazy, sprawling grooves on Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik…” – Entertainment Weekly
“Their sauntering, hard-core tales of the ‘hood bristle with clever humor and sharp insights rather than rage.” – LA Weekly
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