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On the "A" w/Souleo: Goodie Mob Addresses Southern Hip-Hop's Bad Rap

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If the influence of Goodie Mob were to be measured solely by the number of contemporary socially conscious Southern hip-hop artists one might assume that the veteran group from Atlanta left virtually no mark. At least that's the case according to group member, Big Gipp.

"The South gets a rap for being ignorant at this point in time. Ten years back with Outkast and us [Goodie Mob] we took Southern rap to a level of intelligence no other crew done before," he says.

He continues:

It's a waste that after we took it that far that there is no example of what we instilled in the Southern hip-hop genre. Life is too real right now to do music that every person can see is bulls***. Nobody sells drugs big like that no more and has all these different sexual fantasies all the time and that's all our music represents. But our music doesn't have to represent that. We can be smarter.

That point of view has led the group consisting of Cee Lo Green, Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo to reunite after fourteen years and release a new album titled Age Against the Machine. The title is a reflection of their maturity and growth over the years.

"I think we are able to focus some of that rage and make it relative to the time we are living in," says Green. "There is not enough of what needs to be done and it's a statement of how we have not got better over time. The plight for all existence is to master oneself and the pursuit is better than having done so. We would happily die trying."

In their efforts toward greatness the group recently made history as the first hip-hop act to perform at JetBlue's Live from T5 concert at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. The series features surprise concerts held post-security at Terminal 5 (T5) for ticketed customers and contest winners. And if making a bit of history isn't enough, the group will soon be seen in the TBS reality show, "The Cee Lo Life," which debuts next year.

From the airport runway to the runway of New York Fashion Week was the Just Dance with Boy Meets Girl fashion show at Style360. Boy Meets Girl designer Stacy Igel, drew inspiration for her line from the popular video game, Just Dance 2014, which will be released in October. The influence was most notable in the party dresses and skirts embellished with glittering sequins that recalled the game's bright and fun energy. It's that feeling that made tennis pro, Sloane Stephens decide to fly in from Los Angeles for her runway debut. "The game and the avatars are funky and crazy. I am 20 and that's how I express myself. So it was a perfect fit."

Backstage, Sloane admitted that she lacks dance skills but noted that the game makes her feel like a dance diva. "I have no rhythm but you think you have rhythm when you play the game." One thing she does have is a love for fashion, which she hopes to one day pursue as a career.

"I definitely love fashion, shoes, shopping and seeing new designers. So hopefully I will be able to do something to extend my brand in fashion."

While the Just Dance 2014 game uses technology to move bodies the MustSee app uses its tech resources to move costs down for art and travel mobile guide creators. New York based tech startup, Areté Media recently launched the free GPS-based mobile audio guide platform. It allows creators to develop interactive multi-media guides that they can make available to users with or without charging a fee. The app has already been used by institutions such as The Poe Museum and is generating increased popularity since it eliminates the often-exorbitant cost of creating mobile technology. Without financial burdens cultural institutions and independent artists and producers can now expand their platform for content and reach new audiences.

The latter is exactly the goal of Goodie Mob with their brand of Southern hip-hop. Perhaps all they need now to realize that vision is an app.


The weekly column, On the "A" w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.