Retrospective: Goodie Mob's Soul Food

1. Free
2. Thought Process
3. Red Dog(Skit)
4. Dirty South 
5. Cell Therapy 
6. Sesame Street
7. Guess Who 
8. Serenity Prayer(Skit)
9. Fighting 
10. Blood(Skit)
11. Live at The O.M.N.I.
12. Goodie Bag 
13. Soul Food 
14. Funeral(Skit)
15. I Didn't Ask To Come 
16. Rico(Skit)
17. The Coming 
18. Cee-Lo(Skit)
19. The Day After 

The year was 1995. One year after the release of the classic Outkast album "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik", the Goodie Mob of the Dungeon Family followed up with their debut, yet another classic in "Soul Food". Today, we sit and reflect on the album that influenced a culture, spoke to the issues affecting our people and provided a bit of consciousness to the industry while remaining in tact with the traps of America. This is Goodie Mob. This is Soul Food. This is Dungeon Family.

Oh this is a good one. A really good one. I mean, yeah, out of all the album roundtables, this is one that I've looked forward to for a while. Yeah, we can go cliche and say "this and Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik helped bring the South to the mainstream." But then we'd just be quoting Wikipedia and not actually talking about the album. But, truthfully, there's not much you can say about the project without sounding biased towards how great it is. So, here goes.

Everything about this project hits. It's an album where nothing is worth skipping--and everything ties into a bigger picture. It's a cohesive effort by four of the Dungeon Family's core members. Organized Noize production, conscious lyrics, and ahead-of-their-time concepts make this album one you should always have in your collection--and in your "classics" argument.

I was still bumping that Roots album that had come out a year before. That "Do You Want More?!?!?" joint was something special. I was loving that sound. I thought everything coming out was from New York. I didn't know what to call it at the time, I just knew I liked it. Later, I found out they were from Philly and started wondering why the south didn't have anything like that "cool soulful jazzy sound". Then, Goodie Mob came out with the Soul Food album. The first album I felt I could fully relate to. I couldn't relate to the struggles of the west coast directly, I couldn't relate to the ferocity of the East Coast directly either, but you know what I could relate to? Soul Food. My mom made it every Sunday! Cee Lo spoke a lot of wisdom on that album. He spoke about places I knew, had seen, and challenged my perspective. The type of things we would do while sitting around a table of Soul Food. Here are two snippets from his verse on Cell Therapy that did just that.

"Me and my family moved in our apartment complex
A gate with the serial code was put up next
They claim that this community is so drug free
But it don't look that way to me cause I can see".

"Every now and then, I wonder
If the gate was put up to keep crime out or to keep our ass in"  - Cee Lo 

With sporadic features from Outkast members, smooth listen and a different content from mostly what was being played on the radio, the album got 4/5 stars from me.

I was a young kid in Baltimore, listening to the radio for the most part. So in between the Montell Jordan songs, the Biggie Remixes, Total, Jodeci, and a few others, I would listen to the tapes that my uncle would buy or he would give them to me to listen to in my cheap Walkman (remember those cassette Walkman joints??). I had Ready To Die, Illmatic, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Diary of A Mad Band, and Soul Food in regular rotation(along with Thug Life and The Chronic sporadically). Those were the five cassettes I had to study from up until that point at least, and I wore those cassettes out from playing them so much. I was captivated by hip hop, and while NY and the West Coast were dominant, from just hearing Outkast and Goodie Mob, I knew the south had something to say.

Soul Food was and still is an amazing album for that time and our time as well. From the opening of "Thought Process" to the final sounds of "The Day After", the album is masterful. I think the beauty of Goodie Mob here is that they were so different yet all meshed together well. Cee-Lo is one of the more underrated authors of the era and our time, and he always shows up on each song with lyrical introspection and his brand of poetry. Big Gipp was never the most lyrical artist, but he managed to bring his own style and a seemingly playa mentality into the group as well. T-Mo and Khujo were the rugged street dudes it seemed, with abstract rhyme patterns and aggression. Everyone in Goodie Mob combined to make the total package as a group. That's where the beauty of this album comes into play.

The contrast of styles makes for a pot of gumbo providing you different flavors all into one. The classic sound and concept of "Cell Therapy" still resonates with me to this very day, not to mention the knock of "Dirty South", or the amazing "Thought Process". Goodie Mob really made themselves a classic on the first time out, and I truly hope that when you all reflect back on this amazing album, you enjoy it just as much as we did.

Have an opinion about this album? Post it in the comments below. Join the conversation.



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