Since the 1995 Source Awards, there has been this perception amongst some that Outkast has been “slept on”. I’m not saying “The South” as a region hasn’t been slept on or even disrespected to a degree, I am focusing strictly on the group Outkast and the thought that they were a sleeper group, based on a conversation I had earlier this past week.
I feel Outkast is the premier group of the south and the reason why respect for the “southern lyricist” exist. Going back to the 1995 Source Awards; Outkast won the only award that didn’t go to an artist or group from New York or California. It was a back and forth battle the entire award show.
Was that New York crowd disappointed? Yes.
Can you hear the obvious disappointment in the voice of Kid and Salt-N-Pepa as they announced Outkast? Yes, but I don’t think that moment qualifies them as “slept on”.
Lets look at the new groups of 1994. If Outkast were truly slept on, the Best New Artist-Group Source Award would have went to one of the following groups.
Bone Thugs N Harmony – Creepin On Ah Come Up*
The Fugees – Blunted On Reality
Artifacts – Artifacts
The Beatnuts – Street Level
Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep
The above choices over Southerplayalisticcadillacmuzik that night would have blatantly disrespectful to Outkast and the superior body of work they put out. The East Coast based magazines award show did what they were supposed to do. You can make the argument for Bone winning because Eazy E got a Lifetime Achievement Award that night. Also because no one mainstream really recognizes their “1993 Faces of Death” project as their actual debut.
You can’t sleep on a group who in a span of 6 years sells 10 million albums world wide. I can’t think of a time since the “Player’s Ball” video dropped, where Outkast was not heard of, slept on or not being respected as some of the nicest emcee’s and one of, if not the best group out in hip-hop.
Outkast are the pioneers to the Southern emcee that is praised by the world today. You don’t get many of you favorite emcee’s today without them and Goodie Mob.
There are not many artist in general that can say that every single project they have is platinum. There are even less that can say they have a Diamond album. We know how the Grammy’s go and they got those too. If anything Outkast is the go to artist/group for people that don’t listen to much hip-hop. That means even the average person that doesn’t necessarily mess with the culture knows who they are. You don’t qualify as “slept on” when that happens.
Andre 3000’s “The South got something to say” statement and this Source Awards moment is still a reality of the time we live in. It’s 2016 and some are worried about “bringing New York back” and the “resurgence of the West Coast”, while the south continues to show unity, skill and prosper in the process. 21 years later, the formula can’t be wrong.