Outkast, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

Hua Hsu

By Hua Hsu

on 08.23.12 in Reviews



Andre and Big Boi met, as many teenagers do, at the mall. They were 16, aspiring rappers in a city brimming with talent but few opportunities to be heard beyond it. The Dungeon became their after-school hangout and practice space and, in 1992, they signed a deal with LaFace to become the label’s first rappers. Following a well-received anti-Christmas single (“Player’s Ball”) and a guest verse on a TLC remix, they released their daring debut album in 1994. The tongue-twisting title foretold its fiercely leftfield thrills: It was proudly Southern; it was filled with colorful new tropes and characters; and, at a time when samples and penitent sneers ruled rap, it was built on patient, live grooves and Dre and Big Boi’s amiable charisma. Suddenly, New York and the West Coast sounded a bit provincial, as Dre and Big leaned into their country drawls one moment and then broke land-speed records the next. “Git Up, Git Out” (featuring Cee-Lo and Big Gipp) was the emotional center, a seven-minute all-in-the-Family statement of class and purpose.