On this day in 1994, Outkast released their first album Southernplayalisticallilacmuzik, a deep and sprawling soundscape that would set the tone, though they didn’t know it at the time, for a career comprised of albums that would push hip-hop’s sonic barriers. Full of funk and soul influence and noted for its live instrumentation, the album is distinct in its southern feel and imagery and ranks as one of hip-hop’s top debut albums of all time. Southernplayalistic was also at the forefront of bringing a whole region of hip-hop, previously noted for bass-heavy crunk music, to the mainstream.
Before the Dirty South and before trap music, Outkast let the genre know that “The South has something to say” and brought strong ATL connections in Organized Noize and those that would later become the Dungeon Family. Released at the end of Second Golden Age of Hip-Hop, in company with albums such as Enter the Wu-Tang, Illmatic, Doggystyle and Midnight Marauders, Southernplayalistic is emblematic of a period in rap’s evolution full of new material and style and is jam-packed with hip-hop classics in ‘Player’s Ball’, ‘Hootie Hoo’, ‘Crumblin’ Erb’ and the super funky title track. The album’s lyrical content is at once both glorifying towards subjects of drugs and hustling as well warning and uplifting in tracks such as ‘Git Up, Git Out’ and ‘Call of Da Wild’. What is expressed in this balance is a truthfulness that pervades the album and Outkast’s identity as a whole. One never feels, despite their theatrics and unique style, that Big Boi or Andre are posing as anything other than themselves.
For their continued trail-blazing and for being a constant reminder of the lyric, sonic and stylistic possibilities of hip-hop, Outkast, we salute you!