By Kyra Brue
Before now, I had heard only a few of Outkast’s songs (mainly the popular ones like Roses, Hey Ya!, etc.) and I really enjoyed them. This album wasn’t my favorite, mainly because it sounded much different than most of the Outkast songs that I had heard before. After listening to the album a couple of times, it sort of began growing on me. My favorite parts of the album were the interludes for the songs. I think I liked them more than some of the songs just because they were easier to understand, and they were interesting and a little comedic at times.
When I listened to the album for the first time, I was in my car, and maybe it was because of the traffic on I-75 or the fact that I just wasn’t super into the music, but I found myself zoning out when the songs were playing. However, the interludes, especially Welcome to Atlanta (interlude), which I will come back to, caught my attention. I found myself more engaged and entertained by the interludes than some of the songs because they not only added to the story that the songs told, but the delivery of the interludes were more attention grabbing.
After listening to the songs a couple more times I found myself singing or humming the chorus, and I paid more attention to the instrumentals. You could hear, through most of the songs, the funk elements that they borrowed from past artists. The idea of funk also tied into some of the lyrics of some of the songs, especially the ones that talked about or mentioned the pimp lifestyle. For example, in songs Ain’t no Thang, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, and others they allude to or mention pimps or something about the lifestyle, and for some reason the funk sound and pimp talk is connected in my mind.
Welcome to Atlanta (interlude) was the first interlude, after the intro, and it acted as an introduction to the city. While Peaches (intro) was a warm introduction to the album, Welcome to Atlanta was an introduction to the actual city of Atlanta. The entire thing was literally taking you on a tour of the important parts of the city. The “pilot” talked about things from the Atlanta sports teams to the Georgia Dome (which was recently destroyed and replaced by the Mercedes Benz Stadium) and the confederate flag that flew on top of it. This interlude also alluded to one of Atlanta’s most important industries, the airport, by including sounds that made it sound like you were on an airplane flying into Atlanta.
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, lyrically, was interesting to me. The lyrics were like an introduction to the black southern lifestyle. It’s like the lyrics were made, not only for black southerners, but for non-southerners too. The album’s purpose seemed to spread a message or, like I said before, tell a story and give insight to the black south and put them on the map by making them heard.
You could get a strong sense of the south through the distinctly southern accents, which were especially prevalent in the interludes along with the names and places that were heard throughout the album. Places like East Point and Buckhead gave further insight into Atlanta, and if you aren’t from here or have never been here, you might miss those details. The songs showcased “southerness” also through the events that were described during songs or taking place during interludes. The album sort of gave a play by play of a normal day to them in Atlanta.
Musically, most of the songs shared a similar sound throughout, which made the album even more story-like. It’s like each song was connected to the next. The interludes also did this. Not every song sounded the same, but the distinct funk-like sounds were prevalent in pretty much all of the songs, tying them all together.