28. On The Outside Looking In, 8Ball & MJG
Ball and G’s second official album catapulted them closer to the sound they’d perfect on their next LP, On Top Of The World. The dope thing about these two is they’ve got two distinct, complementary ways of rapping. 8ball has a round, chunky style of busting words out his mouth, while MJG makes a beeline to the beat, like he’s punching holes in the paper he writes on. Like UGK and Geto Boys did for Texas, the Memphis boys made it cool to be country by just being themselves—hence ”No Sellouts.”
They grew from the pimp-ass gangstas they were on Comin’ Out Hard to take a look at their neighborhood’s infrastructure, consider their paranoia around friends, and examine “white man’s society.” There’s a balance of G-Funk, which sounds less polished on cuts like “Sesshead Funky Junky,” and the Southern orchestration of songs like “So What U Sayin,” that lends to the idea that they’re continuing to search for their sound while getting closer to perfecting it. On The Outside is a seminal Southern rap record from one of the greatest groups to ever rise from below the Mason-Dixon.