February 5, 2008

Goodie Mob - Soul Food (November 21, 1995)


First off, the "secret project" involving guest writers is, for the time being, still on, and if you are interested in possibly contributing, please hit me up at the e-mail address on the right, since it's hard for me to respond regarding a "secret project" to a comment. Depending on the level of interest, we'll see how that goes, if it goes. I'll let you know.

Anyway, Goodie Mob. Best known as "the group Cee-Lo was in before Danger Mouse plucked him from obscurity", they were founding members of the Atlanta, Georgia-based collective Dungeon Family, along with production team Organized Noize, the shortlisted-for-Best Rap Group Of All Time Outkast, and some group called Parental Advisory, which, for the life of me, I couldn't recall one of their songs if you put a gun to my head and clubbed a baby seal while wearing lederhosen and rapping "Baby Got Back" in only the harshest German accent while propping my eyelids open, A Clockwork Orange-style, and forcing me to watch a neverending marathon of Hannah Montana and High School Musical, parts one and two. The group consists of the aforementioned Cee-Lo and Big Gipp, who were prominently featured on Outkast's great and still-socially-relavant "Git Up, Git Out", from their debut Southernplayalisticadillacmusik. Between the recording of that song and the sessions for their own debut, Soul Food (released on the same label, LaFace, home of TLC), they added two more members, Khujo and T-Mo, in order to fully commit to that bowling league that Cee-Lo had signed up for just weeks prior.

Soul Food could be considered as a point/counterpoint to Outkast's debut (which I really don't want to type the name of anymore), as its themes of politics, racism, discrimination, and overt paranoia clash directly with Andre and Big Boi's pimptacular songs regarding hoes, partying, and having fun in general. Just like not all of Kast's tracks were "fun", not every single Goodie Mob song dealt with the harsh reality of life in Atlanta, so to everyone that just got scared off by the first sentence of this paragraph, welcome back.

The name "Goodie Mob" can be construed as a bizarre acronym for "The Good Die Mostly Over Bullshit", but I've always felt that was a bit of a stretch. Instead, I choose to believe that the group is a Mafia front for baked goods and candies, which are stolen from the rich and given to the poor, so that their children's teeth can rot right out of their mouths. What can I say, I'm a dick.

Soul Food, from what I recall, sold enough copies to earn a gold plaque from the RIAA, and made an underground star out of Cee-Lo, who would only make his profile more visible with subsequent projects, guest appearances, and, eventually, solo discs, production work on The Pussycat Dolls's breakthrough single "Don't Cha"("breakthrough" meaning "God this song sucks please don't sing it on American Idol anymore goddammit"), and, of course, Gnarls Barkley, whose album St. Elsewhere has moved more units than every single Goodie Mob album combined.

Damn shame, that.

1. FREE
Actually not annoying, for a rap album intro, anyway. But then again, Cee-Lo has one of the most distinctive voices in hip hop, and for the most part, I've always found him enjoyable to listen to (except for the majority of St. Elsewhere, a really fucking overrated album, except for that cover of "Gone Daddy Gone", but I like the Violent Femmes).

2. THOUGHT PROCESS (FEAT DRE A/K/A ANDRE 3000 & JOI)
Personally, I would have gone with an instrumental that featured harder drums as the introductory song on Soul Food, but I guess evoking memories of "Git Up, Git Out" works too. Cee-Lo, who people forget is a damn good rapper, impresses, but Andre swoops in and destroys the track to such a degree that the beat actually runs away, and an attempt at its replication is performed with handclaps that will remind you of 112's "Cupid".

3. RED DOG (FEAT BIG BOI)
This is really just a skit. This will happen a lot on Soul Food.

4. DIRTY SOUTH (FEAT BIG BOI & COOL BREEZE)
I loved this song ever since it was sent out to radio and BET as the third single. Big Boi proves that he's just as good as his partner-in-rhyme Dre in the "showstealing raps" category, but the real question is: What the hell happened to Cool Breeze?

5. CELL THERAPY
The first single, which I dismissed at first as bizarre and awkward, as the video slightly creeped me out. I eventually came around, though, since I remembered the name "Goodie Mob" preceeded by the word "featuring" on "Git Up, Git Out". I also remember wondering where the hell the other two guys came from. My brother and I loved the hook on this track, since it's both ridiculous and terrifying: "Who's that peepin' in my window? BLAOOW! Nobody now!"

6. SESAME STREET
Although the song features a thrilling guest rap by Cookie Monster (C-Mo, bitch!), the hook is weak, and the song ultimately suffers.

7. GUESS WHO
I don't normally like rap songs dedicated to mothers, since I find them sappy and contrived. (I have my reasons, which I won't get into here.) This song is the exception, especially Cee-Lo's verse, which is especially touching when you consider the fact that Soul Food is dedicated to the memory of his late mother.

8. SERENITY PRAYER
Skit.

9. FIGHTING (FEAT JOI)
The beats on Soul Food sound much more organic than on Outkast's first album Runonsentence, as if they were lifted wholesale from a Whole Foods Market by Organized Noize. The overall sound on this disc is probably the reason the second half of ATLiens exists.

10. BLOOD
You may call it a skit, but it's really more of a short song by Thomas "Cee-Lo" Callaway.

11. LIVE AT THE O.M.N.I.
Meh.

12. GOODIE BAG
I don't think this was ever a single, but the first time I heard this song was on the radio. (Oh, the good old days.) Great dark production, and Cee-Lo pulls a Kool G. Rap and rhymes for seemingly eighty-seven minutes during his closing verse.

13. SOUL FOOD (FEAT SLEEPY BROWN & 4.0)
When I was in high school, I frequented used CD stores with much more regularity than I do today, and the section I used to check the most often is the CD Single rack. This is because radio stations around my way would take their promotional discs to the stores, apparently for them to be purchased by me, since I snatched up hundreds of these fuckers. These promo discs usually featured radio edits, call out hooks (you know, for inclusion in your favorite station's commercials for "This week...new music from..."), and, most importantly, instrumentals. (You may have to scan your eyes back upward, toward the title of this post, to realize that I'm talking about a completely different era in hip hop, one where the music played on the radio was good.) Anyway, I didn't pick up Soul Food the day it dropped. (I know, blasphemy, but it happens.) It took me a good while, since I had to wait for "Dirty South" to drop as the third single before I was convinced, and then I waited even longer. But I did pick up the single for "Soul Food", which is probably due to my collector's gene more than anything else, since I never liked this song. I always found it boring, and my opinion of its accompanying video is similar. I'm sure it was released to prove that Goodie Mob wasn't just a quartet of paranoid government-suspecting rappers: they are real human beings that like to have fun and rhyme about comfort foods. But I never accepted that.

14. FUNERAL
Another skit.

15. I DIDN'T ASK TO COME
Although I found the delivery of the lyrics to be kinda weak (maybe they should have been pitched up a bit), the beat knocks.

16. RICO
Yet another skit, this one featuring Rico Wade, one of the production trio Origanized Noize, which also consisted of Sleepy Brown and some guy named Ray Murray who, nevertheless, helped produce some of the best songs generated from Atlanta, even though his name isn't memorable.

17. THE COMING (FEAT WITCHDOCTOR)
Remember how I wrote that I didn't pick up Soul Food until after its release date? I was serious. It was several years before I found the need to own this disc, so it'll make sense when I say that I found Witchdoctor's guest spot annoying as shit, but since my first impression of him was forged by his contribution to the Bulworth soundtrack, "Holiday/12 Scanner" (also from his debut, A S.W.A.T. Healing Ritual), I didn't mind him at all, since I loved that song.

18. CEE-LO
A skit featuring Khujo. Nah, I'm just fucking with ya.

19. THE DAY AFTER (FEAT RONI)
A good enough way as any to end your group's debut album, although I don't care for it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Soul Food is a better companion piece to Outkast's Irefusetospellthisagain than it is a response. Both albums are enjoyable in their own way, but to be honest, with Outkast, both artists held their own on the mic, and their talents shone like the sun through a paper bag in your grandmother's house. (Not all of these are going to make sense, by the way.) Soul Food, however, left me waiting for more Cee-Lo and Big Gipp verses, mainly because I was already familiar with their vocal work. That is a completely unfair statement regarding Khujo and T-Mo, though; they do solid work on Soul Food, but it's obvious that there is a star in the making on this disc.

BUY OR BURN? I would be remiss if I didn't recommend a purchase. In fact, if enough people read this blog and purchase this disc, maybe it will eventually go platinum and convince Cee-Lo to hook back up with his now-ex-bandmates and release another Goodie Mob project. It can include production from Danger Mouse, I don't give a fuck, but we need to hear another album from this collective.

BEST TRACKS: "Goodie Bag"; "Dirty South"; "Cell Therapy"; "I Didn't Ask To Come"; "Guess Who"

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Outkast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

8 comments:

  1. Another great album that I was too young to listen to at the time; cut me some slack, I'm an 89 baby.
    I agree with your assessment of the GM emcees though; Only Gipp & Cee-Lo really ever stood out for me.
    How great was Organized Noize's production on this though?

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  2. I still have my original copy of this album. I bought it after they started playing Dirty South on the radio (yes radio USED to be the shit). Cell Therapy, Goodie Bag,Dirty South, Fighting, & The Day After are all my favorites. I found this album to be quite spiritual, it surprised me. I still listen to it on my Zen. Good read btw.

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  3. YO FOR REAL MY DUDE. U SOUND STUPID. TO EVEN TRY AND GIVE A LIST OF CRITIQUES ON A CLASSIC ALBUM LIKE SOUL FOOD IS CRAaaaZzY!..I MEAN, IM READING THIS SHIT LIKE......WHO THE FUCK DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS?...THAT BEING SAID. THE "soul food" ALBUM GOT ME THRU HIGH SCHOOL. THAT AND THE ROOTS "DO U WANT MORE" LP. ONE -rashad

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  4. Um...that's the fucking point of the blog. And Soul Food is not an album that can be listened to straight through - those types of albums are incredibly rare. That said, I'm pretty sure I wrote that people should buy the album at the end, so I still recommended that people listen to it. Thanks for reading!

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  5. 'soul food' is on my list of favourite rap songs of all time... some lay back, casual medsing, little head nodding,honest heartfelt rhymes and just good vibes... "boring"?!! wtf max

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  6. AnonymousJune 15, 2008

    imo, you're basing the sound of Goodie to that of Outkast because they are from the same camp(?) This album is a sure banger! Khujo brought in a new style which has been lifted by mjg, tela, and a whole lotta atl rappers. T-mo is a little too excited to be apart of the group, but still says some of the most ntable quotes. C-lo did steal the show but only because of the uniqueness of his voice. They're 4 necesary puzzle pieces that simply work. The problem is the stuff they put out today make it easy to forget the depth of that album then.

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    Replies
    1. actually mjg been rapping or i say 8ball n mjg before goodie mjg sound been HIS sound

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  7. yo max, on LIVE AT THE OMNI, who is the first eMCee to rhyme? I love that verse.

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