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Cee – Lo Green Biography:
Cee Lo was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended Benjamin E. Mays High School in southwest Atlanta. Both of Cee Lo’s parents were ordained ministers and he started his music career in his church. His father died when he was 2 years old. His mother Sheila J. Tyler-Callaway was involved in a car crash, leaving her quadriplegic. She died 2 years after the accident, when Cee Lo was 18 years old and his career with Goodie Mob had just begun taking off. His mother’s death led him into depression, as is reflected in various songs throughout his career, including “Free” by Goodie Mob, songs on St. Elsewhere, and on The Odd Couple (“She Knows”, “A Little Better”). Cee Lo also expresses his love for his mother in the song “Guess Who” from Goodie Mob’s Soul Food album.
Cee Lo has described himself as being a “goon” in his youth. By the age of 10, he made a hobby of torturing stray animals. He also spent his high school years assaulting homeless people and mugging passers-by, admitting “I was just plain maniac.” He has two daughters, Sierra and Kalah, the daughters of his former wife Christina Johnson, and a son, Kingston. Sierra was on an episode of MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 in season 1. She was also featured on the follow-up MTV television series, Exiled. Kingston is featured on the intro of Cee-Lo Green… is the Soul Machine.
Along with Big Gipp, T-Mo, and Khujo, Cee Lo was an original member of the Atlanta hip hop group Goodie Mob. He is the youngest of the four. During the making of the album World Party, Cee Lo left the group to pursue a solo career under Arista and the remaining members continued to perform together under the Goodie Mob name with Koch Records. They did however collaborate in combinations in the Dungeon Family album Even in Darkness. Although the next Goodie Mob album seemed to mock Cee Lo with its title, One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, the group expressed that it was more of a jab at Arista and the music industry as a whole.
In 2005, Cee Lo and Big Gipp were both noted in interviews as saying the entire group is back on good terms and that they have been in the studio working on a new Goodie Mob album. No title or release date have been given for the new project. The song “Hold On” from Big Boi of OutKast’s Got Purp? Vol 2 album was the first newly recorded Goodie Mob song with all four members since World Party. Khujo later revealed to fans at an album signing for his new album “Mercury”, that the song “Hold On” was originally recorded in 1995 before Soul Food was released.
Cee Lo’s Brown Arista career was short-lived, as he was dropped after only two albums due to low record sales. His first album, Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, was heavily in the vein of various other Dungeon Family releases, with southern soul/funk/jazz backings produced solely by himself and boasting appearances by fellow Dungeon Fam members Big Gipp and Backbone.
The album explored his departure from Goodie Mob and his solo growth in the song “El Dorado Sunrise (Super Chicken)”, as well as socio-political issues, and showcased his singing. The album did not sell very well, but Cee Lo achieved some airplay with the single “Closet Freak”.
His second Arista album, Cee-Lo Green… Is the Soul Machine brought a more branched-out sound and more deeply explored southern rap music. This is evidenced by collaborations with Ludacris, T.I., and Pharrell and production from Timbaland, The Neptunes, and Jazze Pha among others. The only other Dungeon Family member that appeared on his second release was Big Rube.
This album saw Cee Lo delve into other styles besides traditional rap (see Technique). Timbaland proved to be Cee Lo’s single producer as their song “I’ll Be Around” received mild airplay. They performed the single on an episode in the second season of Chappelle’s Show. “The One” featuring Jazze Pha and T.I. was also released as a single.
On the heels of the success of Gnarls Barkley, Arista released a 17-track “Greatest Hits” collection of Cee Lo songs, Closet Freak: The Best of Cee-Lo Green the Soul Machine. It features predominantly Cee Lo solo tracks and several Goodie Mob songs.
His new song “What Part of Forever” has been included in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.On August 19, 2010, Cee Lo released a single, “Fuck You!”, to YouTube ahead of his planned solo album release, due to its partial leak on April 13, 2010. The Lady Killer. “Fuck You!” was an instant viral smash hit, registering over two million plays in less than a week. Two weeks later on September 1, Cee Lo released to YouTube an official music video of the song. Fuck You! made a debut at #1 on the UK charts, notably beating out Shame (Robbie Williams song) from the recently reunited Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow. The album is set to be released by Elektra Records on November 9, 2010.