Cee Lo Green is one of those prolific artists who zigzag back and forth across genres effortlessly as the years go by. In the 20 years since his Goodie Mob start, he has collaborated with everyone from Timbaland to Kelis, Rick Ross to Estelle. His surreal voice shows up where you least expect it, and so seamlessly that you hardly even notice it’s there… Case in point: did you know he sang the back-ups in TLC’s “Waterfalls”? Or my personal favorite “Sumthin Wicked This Way Comes”? Did you know he co-wrote Faith Evans “Hope” and Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha”? Like I said, this dude is secretly everywhere.
When it comes to song-writing and collab’ing, Cee Lo is really a genius. Not to mention that he’s also a genuinely cool guy (I spent a glorious evening getting ham-showed on patron shots with him last year, check the pic… Your girl got some serious love!). So, what better way to celebrate the birth of an icon than by cruising his vast catalogue and picking the 10 Best Cee Lo collaborations (in no particular order becausethey’re all amazing). Enjoy!
1. Outkast (ft. Goodie Mob) – Git Up, Get Out
This jam is as classic as it gets….aaaand I can never get enough of this video. As if it weren’t enough to see Big Boi and Andre 3000 in young hood-mode, nothing warms my heart like seeing a teenage Cee Lo.
2. 8Ball & MJG – Paid Dues (Ft. Cee lo)
Realest hook ever:
“It’s a skinny line tween wrong and right,
trapped in a trap till the mornin’ light,
ghetto ain’t left me no choices I had to fight,
my mom and dad was too young to raise me right,
maybe I been made a man by all the mistakes I made,
niggas dead niggas gone I still ain’t afraid,
ain’t too grown to get back on the ghetto games I played,
my life woulda been done got cut off if them dues wasn’t paid”
3. Goodie Mob – Cell Therapy
A classic from 1995, Cee Lo drops knowledge all over this with his Goodie Mob partners in crime, Khujo Goodie, T-Mo Goodie, and Big Gipp.
4. Cee Lo – Childz Play (ft. Ludacris)
Anyone who says Cee Lo doesn’t/can’t rap, can listen to the sheer creativity of this flow and then bite me. It’s such an interesting instrumental (a rap track in 6/8 time !?! Nigga what?!) and you KNOW most emcees would just butcher it with something corny, but Cee Lo and Ludacris absolutely murder this one. I used to not feel Luda at ALL… and then THIS track happened… and then my mind was blown.
5. Outkast – Slum Beautiful (ft. Cee Lo)
One of the best psychadelic hip hop tracks ever, and one of the best jams to spark to. Cee Lo’s spoken-word-esque flow is the perfect counterpart to Dre & Big Boi’s verses.
6. Cee Lo – I’ll be Around (ft. Timbaland)
“How can I possibly be inconspicuous/ when my flow is f**kin ridiculous”.
Best opening line. Timbo and Cee Lo both have so much southern-style fun on this jam, it’s impossible not to love it.
7. Trick Daddy – Dro In Da Wind (Ft. Cee Lo)
Some more southern flavor on this one. As usual, Cee Lo shines on the chorus, kills it with harmonies, and goes buck all over his unorthodox verse, bringing life to this chill, summertime beat. Thank god for the thugs too…
8. Cee Lo – Bodies (ft. Salaam Remi)
Aside from being one of the bangingest tracks on Cee Lo’s Lady Killer album, the video for “Bodies (ft. Salaam Remi)” is super creative. Directed by Mikael Colombu it’s animated with moving photographs that are choreographed to the lyrics. It also features cameos from Kerry Washington, Janelle Monae, Common, and Karl Lagerfield. Pretty dope.
9. Gnarls Barkley – Open Book
Not the most orthodox choice, I know. But “Open Book” by Gnarls Barkley (the duo he shares with DJ Danger Mouse) is a far-reaching, experimental, and raw tour-de-force track that takes place in (what sounds like) the jungle. This is one of my favorite Cee Lo works because it’s such a far cry from his rap and r&b side, that you really have to take a humbled step back and give him his much deserved credit as a visionary.
10. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
Possibly the most famous of all Cee lo collab songs, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley is the kind of perfect track that every songwriter wishes they could make just once in their lives. It’s simplicity and authenticity resonated with people the world over, becoming the most downloaded song of all time in the UK and racing it’s way up charts across the globe.
There you have it! The top 10 Cee Lo collabs according to moi.
Happy Birthday Bredren! Keep killin us with the newness.
- Tasha the Amazon (@Tashatheamazon)