Read below to learn about the Hip-Hop Records of the Month you’ll receive if you sign up for July, August and September 2021. We’ve got two anniversaries from Atlanta luminaries, and the first ever 2LP reissue of an early ’90s classic.
In July, members of VMP Hip-Hop will receive an exclusive 20th-anniversary edition of Ludacris’ breakthrough third album, Word of Mouf, on Orange Galaxy vinyl to match the album’s cover. The album, originally released in October 2001, made Ludacris one of the biggest rappers on earth; in 2002, only Eminem sold more records than him. The album has smash singles “Move Bitch,” “Roll Out,” “Area Codes” and “Saturday,” all songs that were unavoidable if you were a sentient being with a love of Atlanta rap in 2001.
Our edition comes with brand new Listening Notes written by VMP Country & Classics Director Andrew Winistorfer, who wrote this about Word of Mouf:
“When the history of Southern rap is written, it will inevitably focus, rightly, on UGK and Geto Boys, OutKast and Goodie Mob, 2 Live Crew and Three 6 Mafia, artists who took the molasses flow of Southern heat, the legacy of blues and soul, and the unique patterns of Southern club music, and translated it into an entire new vernacular of hip-hop. It should also focus on the world-dominating artists too voluminous to mention here, that made Southern rap the dominant sound of rap music this century, to the point where even Canadian superstars have to ask Atlanta rappers to help bolster their hits.
“But there’s a missing link in that evolutionary chart, that onward Sherman’s March toward sonic progress, a rapper who, after the singular and unprecedented success of OutKast, proved Southern rap’s chart dominance was no passing fad, no exception to the rule. He made music meant for tearing up clubs and rolling blunts, with a voice as booming and clear as it was when he was reading ad copy as a radio DJ, and beats as unpredictable as Swisher guts falling into the crevices of your car’s upholstery. He would be, for a time, undoubtedly one of the biggest rappers on earth, and his second album would top the Billboard rap charts, and hit No. 3 on the pop, leaving only a rapper named Eminem above him as the best-selling rapper of 2002.
“His outfits in the club were ridiculous and so conspicuous, and his name was Ludacris.”
Sign up now to receive Ludacris’ Word of Mouf.
In August, members of VMP Hip-Hop will receive a 25th-anniversary edition of OutKast’s ATLiens on Neon Green & Blue Galaxy vinyl. The album, OutKast’s second, features fan favorites like “Two Dope Boys” and “Elevators,” is VMP’s third release featuring the Atlanta duo, marking two firsts in VMP history; ATLiens marks the first time an artist has had two albums in the same subscription track — we featured OutKast’s debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 2019 in our Hip-Hop subscription — and the first time we’ve featured three albums by the same artist in any of our subscriptions (we also featured OutKast’s 2000 album, Stankonia, in VMP Essentials in 2020). According to VMP Classics & Country Director Andrew Winistorfer, this was not a decision the Music team took lightly.
“We’ve had an unofficial policy — that many of our members are aware of — that we won’t do the same artist twice in any single subscription track since we launched Classics in 2017,” Winistorfer said. “But, specifically in the case of OutKast, they have a peerless catalog, and their label and the group has been very proud of the reissues we’ve done with them, and they approached us for this ATLiens reissue since it turns 25 this year. And when there’s an album this classic, this incredible, sticking to this unofficial policy seemed crazy to us. We don’t have any plans to repeat artists in Essentials, but in our other Tracks, we’re definitely open to doing the same artist more than once.”
VMP’s edition of ATLiens will come with new Listening Notes from Lawrence Burney, who wrote this in the booklet about the album following up André and Big’s historic win at the Source Awards:
“Their sophomore album, ATLiens, better foreshadowed the course that Dré and Big would go on to take. It felt more true-to-character for both artists — more intimate than their Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik approach of planting their Atlanta flags into the hip-hop soil. On ATLiens’ first song, “Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac),” André describes someone trying to challenge him to a rap battle, spitting cliché bars and trying their hardest to throw insults his way to no avail. Maybe it was his musical retort to what happened at The Garden a year earlier. But to that provocation, his answer not only establishes that freestyle battling wasn’t his approach to the form, but also underscores his solitary nature, which has become his most admirable quality in recent years. He raps, ‘Let me explain “only child” style so you don’t dis’ / I grew up to myself not ’round no park bench / Just a nigga bustin’ flows in apartments.’”
Our edition of ATLiens will be available starting July 27.
And finally, in September, VMP Hip-Hop members will receive Public Enemy’s totemic Fear of a Black Planet. The hour-long album, in previous editions, was crammed onto a single LP, but that changes with VMP’s new edition, which is on 2LP, and comes on “Us and the Damned” color vinyl. VMP’s edition comes with brand new Listening Notes written by Dylan Green. Here’s what he had to say about the album:
“In the process of creating their third studio album, Public Enemy still had much to prove. Label expectations following the success of Nation of Millions and detractors amidst the Griff controversy aside, the group was ready to deliver something more focused and undeniable than before: ‘[A] deep, complex album,’ as Chuck later told Billboard.
The title Fear of a Black Planet was inspired by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing’s Color-Confrontation Theory; the study posited that white people were afraid that the mixing of the so-called ‘races,’ which produced children of color, would mean that white people would eventually cease to exist. The writing of Black Planet was fueled by all of this as well as a desire to make music that would play better in a live setting. To The Bomb Squad, heaping spoonfuls of funk would help the medicine go down.”
You can get our edition of Fear of a Black Planet starting August 26.