Thomas DeCarlo Callaway (born May 30, 1974), better known as Cee Lo Green, is an American singer, rapper, songwriter and producer. Best known for an eclectic style that combines elements of hip-hop, R&B, and Motown soul, Cee Lo has been active with several groups since the mid-1990s and has won three Grammy awards.
Cee Lo's musical career started in 1991 when he and three friends from his hometown of Atlanta founded the Goodie Mob, the genre-naming Dirty South rap group. After recording three albums with the group, and appearing as a guest vocalist on Carlos Santana's 1999 album Supernatural, Green quit the Goodie Mob to pursue a solo career. He released two solo albums in the early 2000s, which received little mainstream attention at the time. It was during this time that he began to transition from rap to singing, a change which solidified when he and producer Danger Mouse formed the crossover group Gnarls Barkley. His first album with Gnarls, 2006's St. Elsewhere, was a major hit, reaching #4 in the United States, with its lead single "Crazy" reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in the United Kingdom (becoming the first #1 single on the UK charts to get there on download sales alone). The group's second album didn't do as well, however. Cee Lo would also reunite and perform several live shows with the Goodie Mob during this time.
During a hiatus from Gnarls in 2010, Cee Lo recorded and released The Lady Killer, his most successful solo album to date. The album reached the top ten in both the United States and Britain, and produced the enormously popular single "Fuck You!", which reached #2 in the United States and #1 in the United Kingdom. Cee Lo is currently recording new albums with both Gnarls Barkley and the Goodie Mob, and was a panelist on The Voice for four seasons.
As a solo artist
- Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections (2002)
- Cee Lo Green... Is the Soul Machine (2004)
- The Lady Killer (2010)
- Cee Lo's Magic Moment (2012)
- Heart Blanche (2015)
With Gnarls Barkley
- St. Elsewhere (2006)
- The Odd Couple (2008)
With the Goodie Mob
- Soul Food (1995)
- Still Standing (1998)
- World Party (1999)
- Age Against the Machine (2013)
- Survival Kit (2020)
I see you tropin' 'round town with the girl I love:
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Wiz Khalifa appears in most versions of "Bright Lights, Bigger City".
- Big Fun: He's only 5'5", but he fits the rest of it. He's a bigger guy and generally seems like he knows how to party.
- *Bleep*-dammit!: Some edits of "Fuck You!" change the title to "F U", which isn't much better.
- Bowdlerise: There are several radio cuts of "Fuck You!", which change the eponymous epithet to "Forget You" or "F U" (or even "Fox News"), and censor most of the other cursing in the song appropriately.
- For the 53rd Grammy Awards, the song was retitled as: "The Song Otherwise Known As Forget You".
- Christmas Songs: Cee Lo's Magic Moment.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Take a guess.
- Concept Video: The video for "Fuck You!" shows Cee Lo as a boy, a teen, and a college kid, trying unsuccessfully to woo a gold-digging girl in a diner. In the final scene, he's become rich and successful, and he gets his turn to say no to the girl, who is now a cleaning lady at the diner.
- Cool Shades: He's rarely seen without them.
- Decon-Recon Switch: "Fuck You" deconstructs the traditional R&B breakup song by abandoning the polite conventions of the genre and telling us exactly what the narrator is thinking. "Forget You" bowdlerizes and reconstructs the song as a straight Genre Throwback.
- Finger on Lips: "Forget You" uses this trope once in the music video. When teenage Cee Lo says "Ain't that some shh?", he puts a finger to his lips at the last word.
- Future Loser: The Gold Digger girl in the Concept Video "Fuck You," shown cleaning up outside the diner where it all began.
- Girl Group: In concert, Cee Lo performs with an all-female backing band called Scarlet Fever.
- Genre Throwback: The Lady Killer is largely an homage to the Motown sound.
- Grief Song: "Robin Williams".
- "I Hate" Song: "Fuck You" is a rant about how much he hates the guy that stole his girl and, by extension, the girl herself."I still wish you the best with a fuck you!"
- Intercourse with You: "Love Gun".
- Lame Comeback: The majority of "Fuck You."I got some news for you
I really hate yo' ass right now
- Money Song: "Fuck You" is about how he get's kicked out by a girl for not being rich enough.
- Muppet Cameo: He performed with special Muppets at the 2012 Grammys, and then made "All I Need Is Love" with the main cast. In return, a Muppet chicken chorus performed "Fuck You" (or should that be "Cluck You?") in The Muppets (2011).
- Precision F-Strike: "Fuck You!" has more than a few.
- The far less known "Whatever" from Gnarls Barkley's The Odd Couple went this route a good two years before the above track.
- "Sesame Street" Cred: Covered the SpongeBob SquarePants theme for the tenth anniversary special.
- He also covered "Kung Fu Fighting" for Kung Fu Panda.
- Springtime for Hitler: "Fuck You" was designed to get Cee Lo Green out of his contract with Atlantic Records. He was feeling completely ignored by his label and figured it would never pass muster. Instead, they loved it and he was front listed to the amazing success it became.