CeeLo Explains How Goodie Mob “Set Into Motion The Rise & Reign” Of Southern Hip-Hop


Artists like CeeLo are a rarity. Not only can he rap, he can also sing and by sing, he can really sing. That coupled with his showmanship and undeniably unique voice, it’s no wonder he cut through all the noise to become a Grammy Award-winning rapper/singer. On August 11, a day recognized by many as Hip-Hop’s official birthday, CeeLo was in Ontario doing what he does best—performing.

“August 11 was definitely a day and an event worth celebrating,” he tells AllHipHop in a recent interview. “Hip-Hop has inspired and changed so many lives completely, mine included. I’m honored to be counted and to have come from its origin—the atmosphere, community, cosmic quality of hip-hop music is undeniable. I was doing my own crossover brand of Hip-Hop. I’ve been jazz and rock and punk.

“I’m just a renaissance of music at the end of the day and, ultimately, that’s probably the only classification that would suit me. I am inspired by so much music, and I incorporate so much that it can only be classified as fusion but with Hip-Hop definitely being the base paint.”

An Atlanta native, CeeLo came up as part of the Dungeon Family, the musical collective of local artists like Outkast, Big Rube, Organized Noize, Killer Mike and, of course, Goodie Mob. Together, the defined an era and truly put Southern Hip-Hop on the map, blazing a path for other Atlanta rappers to follow.

“I think that’s definitely our contribution to the culture and to community—being able to spearhead and set into motion the rise and reign of Southern Hip-Hop,” he says, confidently. “We fought those first wars, and we fought for the civil rights and the equality of Hip-Hop. And with that equality, we gave the sentiment and the sound a certain kind of quality. There was an accountability here of where we wanted to do it pridefully, effectively and successfully. It was very important to have integrity as a curriculum as we taught it to be as it flowed through and was passed down as an inheritance to the ones who wave that banner today.”

Goodie Mob released six studio albums, including  their 1995 debut, Soul Food. Along with Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, the gold-certified album is credited with introducing Southern Hip-Hop to a mainstream audience. CeeLo would ultimately find astronomical success with Gnarls Barkley, his duo with producer Danger Mouse. In 2007, he won a Grammy for the single “Crazy,” which has sold more than four million copies in the U.S. alone. His 2010 solo single, “F### You,” brought further critical acclaim, this time selling more than seven million copies.

But it seems a career in music was always on the menu. CeeLo says he was aware of his pipes “pretty early.” As he explains, “A lot of my sheer ability [to sing] stems from not taking myself too seriously. And I’m kind of in fan mode in that, so when I love something, there’s a pride. There’s a there’s a shamelessness. And I’m saying that shines through. As a kid coming up in those households like mine—almost my entire family stayed in one house at one point so we would have a ton of talent shows in the den area, which was a garage converted—that kind of got the jitters out, being supported by your family. My mom was one of those type of people who would egg me on. I might be asleep and she’d wake me up out the bed to sing. Sometimes I enjoyed it, other times it was torture.”

Whatever the case, it worked. While he’s had ups and downs in his career, CeeLo always manages to land on his feet.

“I’m on all sides of the spectrum,” he says. “I’m doing it all. I’m doing it my way. Jack Flash and CeeLo Green—we are The Pink. Look out for Soul Assassins Part III: Death Valley. I just did the first single with DJ Muggs called “Jokers Wild.” I”m rapping and singing. I’m being my usual charming, charismatic self.”

Check out “Serious” by The Pink below and find Goodie Mob’s iconic gladiator suit up for auction here, one of many Hip-Hop collectables available via eBay and KIRPA celebrity auction house.