OutKast, 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik' at 20: Classic Track-by-Track Review

Hip Hop in 1994, for the most part, was akin to the same government that it was at war with. You had the East Coast acting as the Republican party, leaning on classical sounds and ideologies, while the West Coast promoted the more Democratic, liberal side of things. Then you had the South acting as the Green party. Sure they had a couple of faces the nation recognized (Geto Boys, Arrested Development), but when it came to votes (record sales, popularity) most people were still blindly loyal to the institutions that had been around longer.

So when two Atlanta teenagers named Antwan (Big Boi) and Andre (Andre 3000), rapping under the name OutKast, stepped up to the podium in the spring of 1994, ears were interested in what they had to say, but not quite ready to abandon the familiarity of East and West coast Hip Hop. That is until they actually listened.

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Backed by production unit Organized Noize, OutKast's debut album "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik" borrowed bits and pieces from the East's "lyrical" emphasis and the West's sonic identity and smothered it with Southern sensibilities. While conscious rappers were busy trying to use words to show how much better they are than you, OutKast used those same words to show they were just like you. Where gangsta rappers spent energy trying to scare you off, Outkast was trying to invite you in. But, they would remind you from time to time that just because they weren't gangsters, that didn't make them punks either.