OutKast is probably within my top 10 musical acts of all time and they thoroughly deserve it. A career spanning over 12 years, 6 albums and not a single weak or bad album. They produced two of the most respected and talented MCs in the entirety or Hip-Hop history, one of which who is repeatedly in most peoples GOAT list. But before the fame came, their first album the eloquently named, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.
On the whole, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is probably one of the lowest rated OutKast albums the duo has put out. However, this should not put anyone off listening to it, anyone who does is missing out on one of the ‘coolest’ albums I’ve ever heard. Now usually I hate the word ‘cool’ when describing music. It’s just too easy to use and safe. But SPCM is just so slick that it’s impossible to call it anything else. If you can listen to Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Player’s Ball or Clamin’ True without nodding your head then I don’t know what else to say. This was Andre3000 and Big Boi’s first LP and immediately they show how they can write the funkiest and catchiest hooks, whilst using clever and interesting lyrics. OutKast would of cause become known for breaking the mould of the average Southern Rapper (limited vocabulary and repetitive lines), but it was clear to see from the beginning that this duo had promise.
In fact, there is a common theme across SPCM that might explain why I rank it lower than most other projects in OutKast’s career. Whilst the lyricism is superb and the instrumentation is groovy as anything, this was still just the beginning for the two. Ain’t No Thang has one of the most memorable hooks on the album but in context of the duo’s future efforts, it lacks the same amount of craftsmanship and thought. There are also different musical cues on SPCM that give listeners a little hint as to what might come next from the group. There’s a line on DEEP that is used on ATliens and some instrumentation on songs like Ain’t No Thang and the title track sound similar to future songs from OutKast’s discography. Furthermore, between this album and the next both Big Boi and Andre (especially Andre) developed a lot as people. They became less concerned with trying to live up to the ‘Gangsta Rapper’ persona that the 90’s popularised. As they evolved, so did their music and their mastery over it. The songs became less about the number of women you could have sex with and how much money you could make and branched off into all new territories. Whilst this can’t be held against SPCM (it would be unfair if you did), it does make the project seem weaker in comparison.
Overall, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is a solid project. It’s groovy, funky and never bores. However as stated before, it only suffers because of where they went after this album, ultimately leaving Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to appear worse in comparison. But any album that has a song as sexy as Funky Ride on it is well worth a listen.