PopMatters | Review: Goodie Mob – Age Against The Machine

Age Against the machineThe Atlanta based hip-hop group Goodie Mob first made noise in the mid-‘90s through their affiliation with OutKast. A notable appearance of “Git Up, Git Out” on OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik set the group up to strike out on their own. In 1995, Soul Food, powered by the seminal classic single “Cell Therapy”, launched the crew even further into the public eye. It’s also important to note that a song on this album of the same name ended up coining the phrase “dirty south”. Three years passed before the release of Goodie Mob’s second album, Still Standing, which was backed by the singles “They Don’t Dance No Mo” and “Black Ice”. Critical acclaim once again followed, but the reception was a bit more mixed for World Party, Goodie Mob’s third and thought-to-be final album with the original quartet in tow. Cee Lo Green decided to defect from the group and pursue a solo career, releasing Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections and Cee Lo Green Is the Soul Machine. Then as a trio, Goodie Mob released One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show. Eventually Big Gipp left the group as well, leaving T-Mo and Khujo, who formed the Lumberjacks. All of the group members remained active over the years, with Cee Lo becoming a worldwide superstar for his work as a solo artist, with Gnarls Barkley and as a judge on NBC’s hit show The Voice.

As the old adage says, time heals all wounds and now the entire group is back into the fold for their first album together in nearly 14 years with Age Against the Machine. According to an interview with Rolling Stone, this reunion album has been in the works for quite some time, dating all the way back to 2009. Most of Age Against the Machine was recorded this past winter in a secluded studio in Jamaica. The album includes production from the likes of Zefriah Gonzales, the Grey Area, Jack Splash, Get Cool, Young Fyre, QRock, Kawan “K.P.” Prather, Big Fraze, Floyd the Locsmif, Caviar, OZ and Cee Lo Green himself. Featured guests include T.I. Janelle Monae, Big Fraze, V and Dungeon Family alumnus, Big Rube.

A sample from Kenny Gamble’s “You Don’t Know What You Got Till You Lose It” sets Age Against the Machine into motion as the aforementioned Big Rube delivers a spoken word piece that touches on the dichotomy of a free-but-predestined life and the inevitable return of the Prodigal Sons. “State of the Art (Radio Killa)” is a full-on assault of radio stations and their continual promotion of music with little to no substance on a nonstop basis. The most impressionable listeners are the youth and the Mob are quick to point out that children are being destroyed and figuratively killed by their actions. The backdrop for this is an eerie production that feels like it could have been pulled directly from an old 1950s horror film, straight from the mind of Bernard Herrmann. “Power” finds  Cee Lo Green coming to grips with his recent success and reaching a realization of just what the term “white power” means to him—using their money to make their money back. He spends the latter verse of the song pointing his finger in the face of any would-be naysayers with opinions on his newfound position.

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