cee-lo green: the soul machine

exclusive feature
Ryan Falch
The Liberator Magazine 4.1 #9, 2005


The Liberator Magazine: Thanks for taking some of your time out to answer a few questions. I know that you've been doing a lot of that tonight.
Cee-Lo Green: Of course, no problem, man.

I was wondering about the new Goodie Mob album, most specifically, the title and the artwork; were you in on that idea? [Goodie Mob's new album is entitled One Monkey Don't Stop No Show, and features all the members sitting down on the cover and a monkey in the chair where Cee-Lo would have been.] It seems that a lot of people are taking that as a jab towards you.
Well... you never stop being homies. I mean, yeah, we're cordial man but we're adults now. It's just that we have different personal and professional directions and that has caused us to go in different directions. You know, there are no hard feelings, at all. And I am not insulted or angered at all.

What do you think about the direction that hip-hop has been taking lately? It seems that people have forgotten where it has came from and about all of the elements that make up the culture. It seems that people are in it for the money and fame, rather than the love of the culture. How do you compare it to when you were growing up and being influenced by it all?
Dude, I mean, I like some of today's music but I do not love a lot of today's music, you know what I'm saying? I mean, I am still in love with all the music that I grew up with; I am partial to it, man. It's just like, I am not impressed with the sound, it's like y'all sound spoiled. I'm not with it, I am old enough to be an elder, but I am young enough to be the youth, and I am responsible enough to be the voice and that's what I do. And I am the alternative to them, in thinking and in living.

You have a large audience worldwide and I was wondering, what do you think that your responsibilities as an artist are? Or, if you feel that you have any responsibilities as an artist.
Oh yeah, man. I feel that I have to be responsible in each recording, in each interview; each act of expression is being immortalized and documented. So I want to be able to look back on my body of work and be proud and having made people proud with and in the process. So, you know I am completely responsible, but ultimately for myself. But you know I also want to take a stand and cause people to be responsible too, and in that way I truly feel that I am earning and deserving of what it is that I have. You know what I mean? I help people because I don't wanna be alone and understand it--that's pointless--you want to share everything that you know and have.

We all know that you're influenced by hip-hop, soul, funk, jazz, and gospel music. But I understand that you're a huge fan of rock and roll.
I sure am.

What is some rock and roll that really influenced you when you were growing up and still listen to today?
One of the first songs to psych me out sonically was "Planet Caravan" by Black Sabbath [laughs]. I love that song, man. I love, you know, Billy Idol, White Wedding, and Rebel Yell, and Eyes Without a Face. You know, I grew up in that era of Talking Heads, I love them man. Eurhythmics, Men Without Hats, all of that. I know about all of that. The Doors, I am a Doors Greatest Hits fan, you know. 5-to-1 and Crystal Ship, I'm up on it. I know all about that, you know. Jim Morrison was the greatest front man to me. It's just that I don't care what style of music it is--what feels good should, and what doesn't, I'll pass.

On your albums you come off as a very spiritual man, how did spirituality and religion shape what you are now and the music that you make?
It is exactly what I am--all spirit man. Music is spirit and I am possessed. I cannot help myself.

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