These days, the word “classic” is thrown around as loosely as a Nerf ball at a picnic. However, we at TRU consider classics to be something which stand the test of time and have a resounding influence on their respective fields. But how do albums considered classics sound to the ears of TRU’s young blood? Aaron J. McKrell was born in 1990 and we’ve convinced him to turn his scope on a classic from the rich history of hip-hop to view it through a contemporary lens in a weekly series we call…
Lazily funk’d out. Soufully enriched. Subtly sensual. These are just some of the words that describe Outkast’s debut LP, ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,’ which finds the two dope boyz welcoming you into their Cadillac to take a ride through the hoods of the ATL.
On the surface, this album is dirty dirty south at its finest. Big Boi and Andre 3000- at the time known as Dre- play off each other better than any duo I’ve ever heard. Listen to the two trade bars on ‘Player’s Ball.’ The track is a playboy’s paradise, with the two flavorful emcees riding one of the smoothest beats in history. Elsewhere, Outkast gets things live with the hardcore “Ain’t No Thang,” or the daydream that is the title track.
However, if you think Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is all about pimpin’ hoes and slammin’ Cadillac doors, you’re probably a Toby Keith fan. Or a Taylor Swift fan. Or maybe you just don’t understand. Dre and Big Boi pump this album with truths galore, starting with ‘Myintrotoletyouknow’ and refusing to let up until ‘Player’s Ball (Reprise)’ fades out. The album’s finest song, “Git Up Git Out,” finds Outkast rhyming with Goodie Mob about days past. Everyone brings their A(TL)-game on the song, and the result is a positive, funky cut for the ages. Elsewhere, the pair philosophizes about life on ‘Crumblin’ Erb,’ betraying the fact that they’re wise beyond their years. Of course, it certainly helps that Organized Noise brings the funk throughout this album, allowing for the listener to be hooked in to the knowledge kicked by Dre and Big Boi.
One of the most meaningful records ever on the album is “True Dat” an interlude on which Big Rube speaks about the “fundamental truths contained within this music” and what it means to be an outcast. Dre and Big Boi named their duo because they were southern rappers in an East/West-dominated genre. However, the term goes much deeper. The album makes it clear that an “outcast” is someone who does not go with society’s flow for the sake of conformity. Rather, an outcast is someone who does his or her own thing despite what anyone thinks, and stays true to themselves. This theme, which subtly is laced throughout the album, is one of the main reasons why I love ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.’ The album is cool, funky, smooth and playful, but more than anything, it’s authentic. And that’s why I dig it. This is Aaron J. McKrell sayin’ right on to the real and death to the fakers.
Classics Revisited: Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Classics Revisited: Gang Starr – Daily Operation
Classics Revisited: Main Source – Breaking Atoms
Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
Classics Revisited: Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped
Classics Revisited: Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth – Funky Technician
Classics Revisited: Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
Classics Revisited: De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
Classics Revisited: Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
Classics Revisited: Slick Rick – The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick
Classics Revisited: Big Daddy Kane – Long Live The Kane
Classics Revisited: Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Classics Revisited: NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Classics Revisited: Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full