41. Goodie Mob, Soul Food
Release Date: 11/17/1995
Before Cee-Lo was one of hip-hop's biggest crossover pop stars, he was one-fourth of one of the South's most important groups. Around the same time that Outkast was booed at the '95 Source Awards, a low-key record entitled Soul Food came out to some acclaim. Although under-appreciated at the time—and perhaps never fully appreciated to the extent it deserved—the record was a snapshot of a group that had a fully-established aesthetic, artists at the top of their game the moment they arrived.
Organized Noize, already one classic album deep with Outkast's debut, was making distinctly Southern records, redolent of the country blues feel that sounded traditional while pushing hip-hop into newer spaces. It's a record that finds spiritual truths in the context of sobering earthly realities.