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OutKast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (Album Review)

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

After hinting at it during the end of Kanye season, I can finally announce I'll be going through legendary duo OutKast's discography next, the duo consisting of Big Boi and André 3000 started their journey off with 1994's lengthy album title, 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik', and from there the duos influential funk/hip-hop crossover was birthed and ready to take over the world of hip hop.

The production on this album is exactly what OutKast are known for - the innovative idea of bringing funk sounds more into the rap genre, combining elements of funk, boom bap and deep guitar bass' together. The production on this album, for the time and now, is great, showcased perfectly on the track 'Ain't No Thang' which has the elements named above and is used to make a fantastic beat, as the duo talk on gun violence and their street life with smooth verses full of wordplay, bars and punchlines as well as an incredibly catchy hook, with the highlight of the track being Big Boi's line, "I'm quick to stop a sucka flow like menopause at 50". The beat on 'Crumblin' Erb' takes a more futuristic production style with these African drums as both rappers provide solid verses with great flows as they talk on smoking weed being better than living a street life. It's a great song, Sleepy Brown provides a nice hook - it just went on for a bit too long and we didn't need a 5th verse from Big Boi. 'D.E.E.P.' also has a great beat, a very explosive one as the track focuses on challenging black stereotypes and talking on black injustices. Big Boi had some great punchlines, as well as André, "I used to drink that 8, but now I shove it down your throat", but the main attraction is Dre's second verse where he spits the most realest of lyrics challenging the stereotypes of African American males in the US, "And I got a criminal record that will never come clean // Oh, and it seems that I make babies like a rabbit // And then never taking care of them has just become a habit". This song is one of the best on the album no doubt.

Both of these artists are talented rappers and lyricists, with Dre showcasing a lot of slick wordplay, punchlines and bars, and Big Boi himself doing the same thing as Dre throughout the project, such as on 'Call of da Wild', "You see the cops is in my shit like colon cancer". Both rappers can also spit hard hitting bars about their come up or race, such as Big Boi on the track 'Claimin' True', "From nappy head, greasy face, eating watermelon // To drug dealer, armed robber, now convicted felon". Both rappers do great on this track as they talk on the street life they've lived over this catchy boom bap, funky beat with a guitar as Big Boi provides a very catchy hook again and the flow of the verses are very smooth - combine that with the beat and it makes for a very good song. Flow wise, both are solid with André's being very good - providing a smooth, yet quick flow which glides over every beat so effortlessly with his whacky kind of delivery which clashes well with Big Boi's more hardcore style. André's wordplay comes in once again on the track 'Hootie Hoo', "Now playing these bitches is my favorite sport // But ain't no game when they be calling your name in the court" (a play on words with the court of law and a basketball court), as the rappers talk on girls, cooking drugs and weed - the usual themes. With some slick storytelling and punchlines, it's a pretty catchy track and the way they say "hootie hoo" in the hook is just comical and so inviting.

This album is full of skits and interludes every now and then, starting with the opening track 'Peaches (Intro)', with its jazzy, brass beat it sets the tone of the album well instrumentally. 'Welcome to Atlanta (Interlude)' is a short skit where the pairs city is spoken about, just to let the listener know where they from and that they rep Atlanta, while the next skit 'Club Donkey Ass' showcases the kind of life in Atlanta, within a strip club as it acts as a short and sweet interlude into the following track 'Funky Ride' - serving its purpose well. 'Flim Flam (Interlude)' is simply just a story of a guy trying to sell two people stolen jewelry, which is a good showcase of the way they life while the final skit 'True Dat (Interlude)' explains the meaning of the name OutKast, with some hard lines and a pretty embracing speech - it's great for their debut project to put on there, and could've arguably been the opener. Overall the skits don't ruin the flow and are a pretty enjoyable element of the tracklisting.

The features on this album are good, some of them kind of fail to stand out a bit or aren't as good as the stars of the show but there isn't exactly a weak feature on here. Goodie Mob join OutKast on 'Call of da Wild', with Cee-Lo Green providing a lo-fi hook, which is eerie but still great, and both T-MO and Khujo providing guest verses. T-Mo was decent, his husky voice a little too loud but he had some decent lines while Khujo's verse had a great delivery and good bars, but the stuttery flow was just a little bit offputting. Andre and Big Boi themselves turned up as you'd usually expect to talk on their younger life of drugs and shooting opps over a heavier and darker beat referring to the usual elements still. Goodie Mob join OutKast again on the song 'Git Up, Git Out' with Cee-Lo Green and Big Gipp promising. CeeLo provides nice vocals on his hook and a smooth flow, with emotional and introspective lyrics, "Times is rough, my auntie got enough problems of her own N****, you supposed to be grown I agree, I try to be the man I'm 'posed to be // But negativity is all you seem to ever see", while Big Gipp also has a solid verse with a fire flow. Dre and Big Boi also both do well over a catchy boom-bap beat as the key message of the song is to get up and make a living for yourself - while still acknowledging the struggles of making it. With a bouncy beat, it's probably the most lyrical song - and the features are solid - and there's a good meaning behind the song - so there's nothing to not like really.

Content wise it's everything you'd want from a debut album - they talk on the streets they were raised in, their hopes and dreams for their music career and of course it was the 90's - weed and girls. 'Myintrotoletuknow', the first song we hear lets the listeners know who OutKast are and what they're here to do which an animated but catchy hook and some solid verses - they give us a great first track. These classic 90's themes can be found in the title track 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik' as well, as the rappers with some great punchlines talk on cars, music and attacking their opps over a heavy bass and funky style with brass instrumentation. The choir for the hook adds to great effect, it's a good song but doesn't quite live up to the standards of some of the other songs on here. 'Funky Ride' performed by Society of Soul is a classic example of a song about getting high, as Society provides such a vibe with the multi-layered vocals - however, it could've been faster because it felt a bit dormant at times. The other issue is how long that outro goes on for - it really drags the track down because it just gets a bit boring as it presents no new ideas or doesn't switch up.

The hit song 'Player's Ball' is a track all about hosting a ball of pimps and players - referencing drinking, drugs and Christmas imagery (as it's a Christmas ball). Dre himself keeps up the Christmas imagery and references throughout, and the beat also has Christmas bells as well as the usual elements. It's a great track, and the 'Player's Ball (Reprise)' is also good with Sleepy Brown providing nice vocals and a great hook - with the reprise though the verse just kind of drags on a little bit.

To conclude, OutKast's debut album is great. They were still finding their sound, but it was an enjoyable project and their creativity is really showcased here. At only 18 years old, it was a unique project for the year it came out and shows their innovative side as well as showcasing to the world that there's more to come from the pair AND more importantly what's to come. They'd have to build on this though, and the next review will see just whether they did that or not.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: Myintrotoletuknow, Ain't No Thang, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Call of da Wild, Player's Ball, Claimin True, Git Up, Get Out, Crumblin' Erb, Hootie Hoo, D.E.E.P.


OVERALL RATING: Solid 8.5/10

*REVISED SCORE: Review may not match favourite tracks and overall rating because I've since re-listened and changed my score.*

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