In a new interview with AllHipHop, the rapper/singer — who rose to fame as part of the Atlanta-based groupalongside Khujo, T-Mo and Big Gipp — made a convincing case as to why they should be credited for paving the way for Southern rap’s eventual dominance.
“I think that’s definitely our contribution to the culture and to community — being able to spearhead and set into motion the rise and reign of Southern Hip Hop,” he said. “We fought those first wars, and we fought for the civil rights and the equality of Hip Hop. And with that equality, we gave the sentiment and the sound a certain kind of quality.”
He continued: “There was an accountability here of where we wanted to do it pridefully, effectively and successfully. It was very important to have integrity as a curriculum as we taught it to be as it flowed through and was passed down as an inheritance to the ones who wave that banner today.”
Goodie Mob released their debut album, Soul Food , which not only spawned the hit “Cell Therapy” — which remains heavily sampled to this day — but helped popularize the term “Dirty South.”
The project cracked the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in less than a year, during a time in which Southern Hip Hop was still largely dismissed by East Coast and West Coast audiences.
Fighting to legitimatize Atlanta and Southern rap alongside Goodie Mob was, of course, their Dungeon Family relatives OutKast, who released game-changing albums like Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens and Aquemini in the 1990s.
When he and Big Boi won Best New Rap Group at the 1995 Source Awards, it was André 3000 who famously told the hostile New York City crowd (and the rest of the world): “The South got something to say.”
Elsewhere in the interview, CeeLo Green reflected on Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary and dished on how the culture has inspired his eclectic and widely successful career.
“August 11 was definitely a day and an event worth celebrating,” the Gnarls Barkley crooner said. “Hip Hop has inspired and changed so many lives completely, mine included.
“I’m honored to be counted and to have come from its origin. The atmosphere, community, cosmic quality of Hip Hop music is undeniable. I was doing my own crossover brand of Hip Hop. I’ve been jazz and rock and punk.
“I’m just a renaissance of music at the end of the day and, ultimately, that’s probably the only classification that would suit me. I am inspired by so much music, and I incorporate so much that it can only be classified as fusion but with Hip Hop definitely being the base paint.”