Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
At one point, Atlanta prided itself on being “the city too busy to hate.” So when Goodie Mob (Khujo, Big Gipp, CeeLo Green and T-Mo) dropped their gold-selling debut LP, Soul Food, in November 1995, the album called attention to an influx of social and political issues that flank their mere existence.
The quartet synonymous with the Dungeon Family collective and a backronym meaning the GOOD DIE Mostly Over Bullshit took production trio Organized Noize’s syrupy, hard-hitting tracks and gave rap audiences a grim, unapologetic curriculum on growing up black in the South. CeeLo comes out delivering despairingly gospel-flavored croons over the organ riffs on “Free;” from there, Soul Food delves deep into commentaries on racism (“Thought Process”), law enforcement, gentrification, discrimination (“Cell Therapy”), geopolitics (“Dirty South,” “Sesame Street”) and the post-traumatic stress (“Fighting”) that results from such issues.
Pre-dating the ’96 Summer Olympics, Soul Food uplifts and instills pride, advocating for community solidarity against mass incarceration (“Live at the O.M.N.I.”), paying homage to a mother’s love (“Guess Who”) and providing nourishment with the title track.
Goodie Mob followed up with four studio albums, additionally spawning solo and miscellaneous projects from all four members. Soul Food remains their undeniable masterpiece.