In April, members of Vinyl Me, Please Rap & Hip-Hop will receive an exclusive pressing of Goodie Mob's Soul Food as their Record of the Month. This is the first time the Dirty South classic has been reissued on vinyl since its 1995 release date. From instrumental albums from famous producers, to reissues of classics, to never-before-on vinyl new releases, Vinyl Me, Please Rap & Hip-Hop is a must for rap fans. You can sign up for Vinyl Me, Please Rap & Hip-Hop below.
Meanwhile, read below for more on why we picked Soul Food.
To understand the Dirty South is to immerse oneself into the grit that made it possible; to plant oneself in the Georgian dirt and mud, the euphoria of sweat stuck to skin, southern air gliding off the bones doing 90 on an unlit highway. A term originated by Dungeon Family member Cool Breeze, the presumed southern default of today’s popular rap originates not solely from the 808 shaking your sub, or the soul samples tucked beneath them, but the lives that make it possible for Black folks to be. It’s every Sunday dinner you’ve ever had, the fragrance rising from a block where every mama’s your mama, and every life’s for the taking. It’s the nickel bag, the church fan, and the peach cobbler.
Soul Food is the 1995 debut album from Goodie Mob: a Georgia-grown quartet from the Dungeon Family tree, placing roots in the dirt of Atlanta. Cee-Lo, Khujo, T-Mo, and Big Gipp dedicated almost a year in the Dungeon with the Organized Noize collective to introduce the first definitive work of Dirty South hip-hop; this album’s the first to use the term. Goodie Mob is a shorthand for The Good Die Mostly Over Bullshit, or God is Every Man of Blackness. From the vantage of four Black men, born in the ‘70s and just exiting their 20s by ‘95, they carried grown urgency with youthful exuberance, walking as chosen ones. Soul Food is an album of choices and consequences, bearing a Black weight of poverty and escape while beaming the light everywhere we forget to look. While claiming the conscious label with pride, there’s nothing preachy about them; the Goodie Mob balances these extremes like a loose swisher tucked behind the ear, like they’ve done it before and would do it all again. It’s hearing your brother speak when you take a ride, your cousin on his last $5 with a plate being the only thing he needs. Certainly, there’s no light to shine without being well-acquainted with the darkness; the world’s the trap, and we all must live to earn our death.
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Perched on the turn of a century, Soul Food is a narration of the world and an indictment of how it came to be. If their blocks look anything like yours, everything feels familiar, told with an incisive detail swinging for the gut and the jugular. Goodie Mob shows far more than they tell, inviting you into the madness and warning you of what’s to come. As Organized Noize bring chilling warmth to the blues and soul backdrops, the men speak on mass incarceration, incoming New World Order and martial law threatening to eradicate the poor, balanced by being too high to pray and being pissed at the temp agency. There’s no trace amount of doomsday salesmanship, but an overdose of the truth. Two decades, when figures of Black ownership and imprisonment haven’t budged a bit, these tales age far too well. For a nation hellbent on disenfranchisement, Goodie Mob reinforces a fight for all with a Black Power forefront; the struggle sounds and feels glorious, trading shame for hope in the face of the deepest tests.
In the fight of good and evil, Soul Food’s duality is cautionary tale moonlighting as Dirty South Survival Guide, ride out music for the end of days. Before Ludacris, David Banner and more, the Goodie Mob laid a crucial landmark for the Southern legends in the lineage after them by making canon of a corner many loved to forget. When the South had somethin’ to say, some made worlds beyond our plane and others planted their flag right in this reality. Goodie Mob set their blueprint in reality, a code yet to be upended for a chaos far too familiar.
Michael Penn II (aka CRASHprez) is a rapper and a former VMP staff writer. He's known for his Twitter fingers.