This year’s Grammy performances were by and large snooze worthy, Gaga’s lackluster egg emergence, Katy Perry hanging from the ceiling, Eminem and Rih-Rih, until a stage full of muppets backed up Gwyneth Paltrow and Cee Lo Green dressed as what can only be described as the NBC peacock meets Elton John. Between Cee Lo’s outfit, puppets and Gwyneth pulling a Prince and singing from the top of the piano, these two brought the house down! Then again what else would you expect from a man who has built a career on game changing that has lasted almost 20 years?
Back in the early 90s, long before Gwyneth was singing “Forget You” on Glee, Cee Lo was one of the original members of Atlanta based, hip-hop group Goodie Mob, along with Big Gipp, T-Mo and Khujo. In 1995 Goodie Mob released their debut album Soul Food to much critical praise. Along with their Dungeon Family kin, OutKast, Goodie Mob was considered pioneers in the field of Southern hip-hop with their distinctive soulful Southern sound. Although Cee Lo’s skill as a rapper took center stage, he gained considerable praise for his singing on several of Goodie Mob’s singles. After three albums Cee Lo left Goodie Mob for greener pastures, however he did team back up with Goodie Mob to record “Hold On” for Big Boi’s 2005 release Got Purp? Vol 2.
With his Goodie Mob days behind him, Cee Lo embarked on a solo career that was off to a rocky start with the albums Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections and Cee Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine, which saw low sales and Cee Lo experimenting with new sounds and delving deeper into the roots of southern rap. In 2006, Cee Lo teamed up with DJ Danger Mouse and birthed Gnarles Barkley, whose single “Crazy” was named the #1 song of the decade by Rolling Stone. If you didn’t know who Cee Lo was prior to his stint in Gnarles Barkley, by the time the duo’s second album, The Odd Couple, was released you knew exactly who he was and could point out his distinctive voice, and style, out from any crowded track. All of this brings up back to 2010’s The Lady Killer, an album that according to Cee Lo was “meant to be a motion picture” and gave up the best break up song ever,“F*$# You” or “Forget You” as its called by Top 40 DJs from New York to LA. With a yet to be released project with Jazze Pha on the horizon, some voice over work under his belt and a stint as one of the judges on the show The Voice, its safe to say we haven’t heard the last of Cee Lo Green.
Style speaking, no one could have foreseen that the bald member of Goodie Mob in the Braves jersey would go from southern preacher Sunday best to super futuristic peacock in the span of a few years. Since his departure form Goodie Mob, we’ve seen Cee Lo do dapper, Xerxes of Persia, Pedro, the aforementioned preachers look and everything else in between. Unlike certain style attention seekers that shall remain nameless, Cee Lo’s scene stealing style is not only completely original but is a seemingly genuine expression of his true self. Honestly, do you expect someone who described his younger self as “a kleptomaniac, pyromaniac, just a plain maniac…” in an interview to dress normally? I don’t. Let’s also not forget that the stepdaughter that he helped raise went all kinds of crazy for her Super Sweet 16 on MTV, while he footed the bill. Then again if you don’t like Cee Lo’s style or music, he has a song that you can listen to…
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