The group reunites to speak on the current state of the country
The 1980s and ‘90s have seen a surge in music becoming a way to voice opinions, especially within hip-hop. Groups like Public Enemy and N.W.A. were just two groups who took their opinions on police and government into their music. In turn, this created the people listening to become aware and start forming their own opinions and movements to combat. In 1995, a group called Goodie Mob released their album Soul Food, which became an undisputed classic within the genre. Originally made up of artists, Big Gipp, Cee-Lo Green, Khujo and T-M, their gritty Southern sound mixed with their socially conscious lyrics placed them among the artists in the collection of artists doing the same. Now, seven years since their last release, Goodie Mob introduces Survival Kit, a direct commentary on the most recent uprising of human rights injustices and what should be done to combat it.
Starting off the album is “Are You Ready,” featuring Public Enemy leader, Chuck D. The explosive and urgent production gives the leaders a wake-up call and a chance to prepare for what is to come. “Frontline” has a bouncy production to it as Goodie Mob takes people to the experience at the frontlines of different movements. Pointing out that even during a pandemic, people still have to organize to fight against injustices. “Molotov cocktails, chaos, mayhem, picket signs, tear gas, courtesy of Uncle Sam.”
The group meets up with the members of Outkast for a collaboration. However, each member gets their own song to feature. “No Cigar” features Andre 3000. A synth-focused beat with a steady drum pattern sets the tone for this track. Instead of a more social awareness, it is more of the artists proving they still are untouchable. No matter who these people are, Goodie Mob is seasoned and even if they get close, they won’t be able to reach them. Big Boi’s feature follows right after. “Prey 4 Da Sheep” is more playful sonically than it is lyrically. Examples of easy influences that can cause someone to begin following are mentioned in which the Goodie Mob decides to pray for them.
“4 My Ppl” is a light trap track. The inclusion of a trumpet gives it this triumphant sound that emphasizes the theme of the track. The group here emphasizes where their people, Black people, came from, and what they experience. This refreshing track gives those listening to understand that the group creates their music they way they do for their people and lets them know that they are there supporting always. “Off-Road” is a complete switch around from the rest of the album. Providing more of a rock inspired beat, it’s a feel-good track and a break from the rest of the project. “Me Tyme” provides a nice smooth and funky beat that gets infused with trap providing the best production off the album.
The title track, “Survival Kit,” specifically mentions COVID-19 and how the country is now defending themselves against a virus. To them, “the power of the mind is my survival kit.” While giving some tips like drink water and stop eating pork, they believe people have to be the one to help themself get out of this. “Calm B 4 Da Storm” is the longest track off the LP with beat changes throughout. The group warns those listening that this is only the beginning to something a lot bigger. “Amazing Grays” ends the end album with a simple and calm production. Here they emphasize education and being aware of the issues around you. As one gets older, it will only help one move forward.
Survival Kit feels like a big family reunion with all the original members of Goodie Mob on the project, Chuck D and Outkast as features, Big Rube appearing in the interludes and Organized Noize doing the production. The album is very reminiscent of their first works as they bring attention to the state of the country. The mentions of the pandemic, police brutality and life in the Black community sounds like it could’ve been written back in the mid to late ’90s. Survival Kit brings back the Goodie Mob sound and lyricism that made them the pioneers they are today.