Goodie Mob explains how Busta Rhymes interrupting one of its early studio sessions changed the direction of the Atlanta group's music.
Goodie Mob released its fourth album as a quartet last week. Age Against The Machine is the follow-up to 1999’s World Party and shares much of the lyrical edge as 1995’s breakthrough album, Soul Food.
In a recent interview with Complex, Goodie Mob (Cee Lo, Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo) explained the influence Busta Rhymes had on much of its politically-charged subject matter, even before the release of Soul Food.
“What made it take shape was that Busta Rhymes was in a room recording down the way from us,” Cee Lo says during the interview. “He barged in the room like, ‘Excuse me brothers. Don’t mean to disturb ya’ll vibe, but I just got through reading this book. I got some knowledge I want to pass this on to you brothers.’ He passed us Behold A Pale Horse.”
Cee Lo says during the Complex interview that the 1991 book by Milton William Cooper discusses such topics as secret societies, genocide and the Illuminati.
“That really turned us on,” Cee Lo says. “We passed that book around. [Gipp] read it. I read it. We all read it individually. We sat around and talked about it, discussed it, debated it.”
Goodie Mob infused some of the themes of Behold A Pale Horse into its “Cell Therapy” single. During the Complex interview, the group listens to the song, now 18 years old, and says it views its music from that period differently than it did when it was recorded.
“I hear all of the technical stuff, because we’ve gotten so much better,” Cee Lo says. “I can listen critically now and I’m like, ‘Ooh. That was rough. That’s like all dry vocals. Ain’t no reverb or nothing. It’s just dry.’”
What Goodie Mob says wasn’t dry was the range of influences it incorporated into its music.
“I can say New York, I can say California and I can say Texas,” Khujo says. “All three of those regions kind of like inspired us.”
Nonetheless, Goodie Mob says that still had to fight to earn respect as a Southern Rap group. In the mid-1990s, Goodie Mob says that the Rap world did not think that Southern Rap artists possessed lyrical prowess and meaningful subject matter.
“I hated the assumption,” Cee Lo says. “I hated the stereotype. I’ve said this on many occasions that I felt like we were more activists than artists because I still felt like at that time we were fighting for the Civil Rights of Southern Hip Hop to be counted.”