Where To Start With... Cee Lo Green
Beginning his career as a member of Goodie Mob, one of the leading lights in a southern states hip-hop scene that has also produced acts like Outkast, Killer Mike and Janelle Monae, Cee-Lo Green has been making and releasing records since mid-1990s, but it wasn't until his project with producer Danger Mouse, Gnarls Barkley, that he began to gain mainstream success, particularly with hits like 'Crazy'.
The duo made two albums together, but in the interim and subsequent years he's enjoyed success as a solo artist with four albums and a fifth, entitled Heart Blanche, arrives in stores this week (Friday November 6th). This time around there are a dozen or so collaborators and producers working on the new record that include Mark Ronson, Eg White, Wallpaper and John Hill.
The handful of singles released so far – namely 'Sign of the Times', 'Robin Williams' and 'Music to my Soul' – indicate an artist that has found his creative groove again and even though each of his solo albums have included at least one or two gems, as an overall piece of work Heart Blanche may be his strongest yet.
You'll be able to get your hands on the LP from Friday (November 6th) and you can find the video for 'Music To My Soul' below, but in the meantime - and for anybody not familiar with his other work – beneath that we've picked out five highlights from Cee-Lo's career to get you started...
Goodie Mob recorded three albums with Cee-Lo before he went solo, plus one more without him, but the hip-hop crew reunited in 2013 to release a new LP, Age Against the Machine. Of all the album's 18 tracks, 'Special Education' features Janelle Monae and is the best of the bunch.
Perhaps more than any other, 'Crazy' is the song that catapulted Cee-Lo into the mainstream, becoming a huge hit for Gnarls Barkley and showcasing Cee-Lo's distinctive voice beyond his usual hip-hop and R&B audience. After years of being a guest vocalist on album's like Common's One Day It'll All Make Sense and Santana's Supernatural, Cee-Lo was finally front and centre.
Along with 'Crazy', 'Smiley Faces' is another cut from Gnarls Barkley's debut album St. Elsewhere, but this time the vibe is much more retro and there's a clear Motown influence on this track that perfectly suits Cee-Lo's soulful vocals.
Originally appearing on his 2002 album Cee-Lo Green and his Perfect Imperfections, 'Closet Freak' is one of the best moments on an album that saw the singer breaking free of the Goodie Mob shackles and branching out on his own. Mixing together soul, rap and R&B, this is an indication of what was to come later.
Probably his biggest solo single to date, Cee-Lo had to record an alternative version replacing its expletive-laden hook with “Forget You” in order to get any plays on the radio, but it was worth the hassle; the track from his 2010 album The Lady Killer earned him a Grammy nomination and eventually climbed to No.2 in the Billboard Hot 100 and tipping the Singles Chart in the UK