By Dione M. Davis
If you’re a die hard fan of quality music then you’ve been on a Goodie Mob high since their album dropped on August 27th. You may have even had to take some time to analyze it with a clear mind free of judgement. Age Against The Machine is the first album the legendary quartet has done in 14 years. In this business, the purposeful moves that Goodie Mob executes are not only unheard of, but never seen before. The truth is, CeeLo, Khujo, Big Gipp and T-Mo are unbreakable. They are the last of the real Mohicans- there to give it to you straight with no chaser. They put Atlanta on the map, left the blueprint and got a passport to other worldly dimensions.
In a pre-celebration album release, the Mighty Mighty Goodie Mo-b returned to their beloved Atlanta for a listening party. On this busy Monday night of many events going on simultaneously around the city, this was Atlanta’s best kept secret. If you were an industry tastemaker, writer, blogger, photographer, family, friend or fan who was blessed enough to be in attendance-you were a part of an unforgettable night in history that was long awaited.
The evening was hosted by journalist Maurice Garland who welcomed the individual yet cohesive creative masterminds to share the new unequivocal sound and their experiences from their first album Soul Food in 1995 to the present.
As each song was played, the members reveled in the moment bringing it back home where it started. It’s been a long bumpy journey, but these comrades are still standing, despite all of the propaganda and politics that can come betwixt such a powerful force.
The most intriguing part of the evening was the Q&A and intimate conversation between Goodie Mob and the women present, particularly the black women during a segue into a song titled “Amy” about a relationship with a white girl. Big Gipp wasted no time, jumping in to address what some may see as a controversial and the antithesis for what Goodie Mob has always represented.
Interracial dating. Let’s talk about it, because see… One thing that I’ve learned about us, you know we’ll look at a lot of things and say I don’t like that, but then we got a home girl that’s like that. A lot of black women are into white chocolate. A lot of black men are into white chocolate. It’s nothing wrong with that if those people are supposed to be together. It’s nothing wrong with it. Love is love. But in the South we have a real problem with that. We hide that. And the reason we would do a record like Amy…it was not a record saying that we were in love or infatuated with this person [or] we wanted to have sex with this person…This was a person of younger age who met somebody before they had a chance to be taught that anything different is wrong. Now, when I was a child when I saw the little white girls or whatever or the little Asian girls- Let’s be real. They were interesting. I just get upset with people not being honest… It’s nothing wrong with trying to explore something different because everybody ain’t supposed to be with the same person or the same race.
CeeLo, who speaks in poetic metaphors and drops profound thoughts effortlessly suddenly, struggled to get out his words which ordinarily slide off of his tongue like hot butter on pancakes, paused several times.
Gipp I’mma tell you how this translates though. This is why black women have a problem with this song sometime. Because…. (pause) we got some working out to do. Cause we really brother and sister right? And I think when we aspire to grow or would be introduced or exposed to other alternatives you know I think black women may …and it’s a lot of black women- beautiful black women too in here by the way and you can let me know if I’m correct. It comes across like they’re basically upset because they’re saying don’t give up on me. Don’t leave me this way. I been doing a lot of hardship on your behalf. Don’t give up on me. It’s almost implying that it’s easier to have an interracial relationship and it’s not true. So, sometimes it can be the gravity of an even truer love or of an even deeper interest and intrigue that pulls people together who didn’t start that way. You know what I’m saying? And I just think that we should be a lot more open minded and a lot more optimistic and explore options and educate ourselves and be loving and be respectful and courteous of each other.
One woman in the bevy of beautiful black women CeeLo referred to in the crowd encouraged him to express himself during his initial hesitation as if he were giving a testimony at church. “Talk to us honey. Talk to us CeeLo, say it!,” she professed. Khujo chimed in stating that he really didn’t see any black women on TV growing up until Atlanta news correspondent Monica Kaufman and Oprah became visible. Big Gipp added by expressing that if anyone had the right to do a song like “Amy”, it should be Goodie Mob because they did “Beautiful Skin”, the ode to black women more than 15 years ago before anyone else had given it thought. Crediting his 16 year old daughter for putting him in ‘check,’ he came to that realization that the Atlanta he grew up in where he only knew one white classmate is not the same diverse, multi-cultural city that she knows.
One thing is certain in this dynamic: Goodie Mob has evolved, as we all should in a world changing by the second. In 1995 when their first album debuted, they were ahead of their time, yet still young men trying to find themselves. Today they are grown men and fathers who continue to give us extraordinary music that is timeless. Age Against The Machine brings us “Special Education” featuring Janelle Monae, which is the first single. T-Mo addressed the fact that although there aren’t many features on the album, it does give room for new artists. Songs “Amy” and “Understanding” feature CeeLo’s protégé’ V adding more estrogen and balance to the dichotomy joining male and female forces. In a way that only Goodie Mob can, they bring it back to the essence of their beginnings with “Southern Girl,” paying homage to the ‘Georgia Peaches’ they know and have loved from day one. The stars will align again when Goodie Mob performs at One Music Fest www.onemusicfest.com in Atlanta on September 14th. You can also check them out at www.goodiemobmusic.com .
Photo Credit: DJ BLAK MAGIC