By M. Solis
Thomas Callaway is not your typical hip-hop MC. As part of Atlanta's acclaimed Goodie Mob, the man also known as Cee-Lo Green established himself as a soulful, raspy voiced tenor who possessed wisdom beyond his years. His commercially slept-on debut, Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections made top-ten lists across the globe, and laid the creative foundation for OutKast's The Love Below.
Callaway's sophomore album, Cee-Lo Green Is the Soul Machine, is a defiant mezcla of funk, gospel, R&B, and yes, soul, that sets a new standard for post-hip-hop music. This time around, perhaps in an effort to curry more mass appeal, Callaway enlists the ears of hip-hop's most ambitious producers. Timbaland checks in with the raucous "I'll Be Around," and the Neptunes sparkle on both "The Art of Noise" and "Let's Stay Together." DJ Premier evokes the spirit of the chitlin circuit with "Evening News," one of his most inspired cuts in recent memory. Longtime collaborators Organized Noize bless multiple tracks, and almost steal the album with "Child's Play," a ridiculous beat that tweaks "The Carol of the Bells" into what Cee-Lo accurately dubs "Saturday morning cartoon music."
"My Kind of People," and "All Day Love Affair" - which recalls De La Soul's classic "Eye Know" and offers new hope for a tired genre. Lyrically, Cee-Lo never disappoints, dropping jewels throughout the album and reminding us: "How could I possibly be inconspicuous/When my flow is fuckin' ridiculous/Despite an accent, see I'm from the South/And some of the most beautiful things come out my mouth."
By M. Solis