Following an appearance on TLC’s ‘What About Your Friends’, OutKast were introduced in their own right with the 1993 single ‘Player’s Ball’. Named after an annual pimps gathering in Chicago, the track was a stark contrast to both the sounds that were emerging from the East and West coasts. From the jump, Dre and Big Boi lived up to their group’s name, and the pair followed up the year after with their debut album, ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik’.
Produced entirely by Organized Noise, an Atlanta production team comprising Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown, the sound of ‘Southernplayalsitic…’ emphasised its use of live instruments over the sampling techniques that hip-hop was usually known for.
“We wanted Atlanta brothers to be proud of where they were from,” Sleepy Brown told journalist Ben Westhoff in his book Dirty South, referencing the use of the Southern-styled guitar licks and 1970s funk grooves that gave the record such an organic and celebratory take on the rappers’ (relatively) rural lifestyle.
Lyrically, Dre and Big Boi presented themselves as politically conscious pimps and gangsters, sharing coming of age tales that usually had a positive message.