– 22 years ago today, Atlanta-bred hip-hop group, Goodie Mob, released their debut album, Soul Food, allowing the world to gain a new appreciation for Southern Hip-Hop.
On November 7, 1995, almost a year’s worth of work in Rico Wade’s legendary Dungeon finally saw the light of day in the form of Soul Food. Despite being released during an era where southern hip-hop wasn’t earning significant respect, Soul Food became an instant classic. In fact, Soul Food, along with Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik released a year earlier, are commonly regarded as the two albums that brought southern hip-hop to the mainstream.
The album’s leading singles were the title track, “Soul Food” and “Cell Therapy”. “Dirty South” was also a major hit and was the first use of the term ‘Dirty South’ which originated with Dungeon Family member, Cool Breeze. While much of the south’s early contributions to hip-hop were to “booty music”, Soul Food’s production was heavily influenced by soul and funk thanks to the brilliance of the Organized Noize production team.
When it came down to their content, hip-hop hadn’t quite heard anything like it. While socially conscious lyrics weren’t necessarily new to the genre, Goodie Mob had their own signature flair. The group’s raw energy and southern Baptist roots ignite a fire in your soul that captures your attention and takes you on a soothing ride. The quartet, including CeeLo Green, Big Gipp, Khujo, and T-Mo, discuss a range of topics that hit close to home for many southerners and Black people across America. Conversations about fenced-in neighborhoods infested with drugs, the infamous Red Dog Atlanta police unit, and the attendance of multiple funerals before even developing facial hair were all included in this project. Still, while speaking absolute truth, Goodie Mob had an odd way of making you feel comfortable with the circumstances as you work and pray for better days.
So much more can be said about this masterpiece, as it is arguably one of the greatest complete works in hip-hop history. The production is phenomenal to say the least, and the album’s virtually sample-less production gave Soul Food a completely original feel. The storytelling, soulfulness, and accompanying grittiness of the four main vocalists gave the production that much more life and meaning.
Take a minute and vibe out to the original ‘Dirty South’ soundtrack. While you’re at it, pull up to JJ’s Rib Shack for a plate if you’re feeling extra dirty.
Written by DJ Robinson