In 1995, Southern hip-hop was highlighted in way it never had been before, and that’s in huge part due to the efforts of CeeLo Green, Big Gipp, Khujo, and T-Mo, known collectively as Goodie Mob. Their debut album Soul Food (along with Outkast‘s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik released almost a year prior) is what has been written in the figurative history books as the reason Atlanta’s hip-hop scene transcended to become mainstream.
In an interview CeeLo Green did with XXL in 2015 on the 20th anniversary of the album, he explained the impact of Goodie Mob’s iconic project by saying, “Soul Food was significant between the Civil Rights leaders of the South because we were fighting for the civil rights of Southern hip-hop. So we looked at ourselves more as activist than artists or a hip-hop balance of them both.”
From the first track, “Free” to the 19th and final song, “The Day After,” Soul Food explores sounds that has never before been executed, and did so flawlessly. The project received rave reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and The Source and catapulted now household names from being Southern legends onto a national platform. On this album, the world heard for the first time Cool Breeze coining the term, “dirty south,” introducing it to a wider audience. With help from Andre 3000, Big Boi, Sleepy Brown, and Organized Noize, the sound captured so perfectly on Soul Food is what the world learned to love about what the South had to offer.
Happy Anniversary to one of the most important albums to come out of the south in the history of hip-hop music. Without this helping of soul food, all of the southern sounds still ringing in our ears from the ’90s and early 2000s probably wouldn’t have made it to a national level. Thank you to Goodie Mob for their innovation and long live the dirty south.