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.
Rap prior to the early ‘90s had been an exclusive regional club with its membership strictly coming out of the East Coast (New York) or West Coast (Los Angeles) chapters. Sure, there were acts like Geto Boys, 2 Live Crew, UGK and Eightball & MJG pioneering rap music from below the Mason-Dixon Line, but it was André “3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, Sr., better known as the dynamic duo OutKast, who actually earned the respect of hip-hop purists rearing in virtually every coast.
It took some convincing, but Dre and Big’s initiation into rap’s secret society, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, perfectly paired Organized Noize’s raw, trunk-rattling live production with the knucklehead Atlanta duo’s corner boy insights and complex lyrical dexterity. Released in April 1994 via LaFace Records, the platinum-certified release made it crystal clear to rap audiences that the Atlanta-based pair was just as wise as any conscious emcee but could get also into some gangsta shit (“Ain’t No Thang,” “Hootie Hoo,” “D.E.E.P.”). They were as self-deprecating as they were empowering (“Git Up, Git Out”). Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik also channels OutKast’s musical influences like The Isley Brothers (“Funky Ride”) and Curtis Mayfield (“Player’s Ball,” “Crumblin’ Erb”).
OutKast have since gone on to become one of hip-hop’s most successful and groundbreaking acts, releasing five subsequent platinum-certified studio LPs and earning seven Grammy Awards. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik cemented their place as a force (and a damn near superpower) to be reckoned with.