HOLLYWOOD — "They don't dance no mo'," Goodie Mob sang on 1998's Still Standing, and now, it looks like they won't be writing, rapping or recording together anymore, either. Cee-Lo says that Goodie Mob have broken up.
"I am sorry to say, it hurts my heart to say, but there is no more Goodie Mob," Cee-Lo said shortly after his performance at the Shortlist Award ceremony, where his debut solo album had been nominated for the prize (see "N.E.R.D. Win Shortlist Prize").
"We had professional and personal differences," he explained. "I guess I'll go with the typical 'The best of luck to everybody,' you know what I'm saying?"
Smoking a cigarette and wearing black shades (and matching black nail polish), the heavily tattooed singer and MC seemed at ease with the decision to lay the Mob to rest. The group hadn't released an album together since 1999's World Party, a decidedly more commercial-leaning affair than their two previous and more socially conscious records.
"It's probably our fault, but it's deteriorated over a matter of time," he explained. "But no grudges [are being] held. It's all justifiable [and] understandable, that we made our pinnacle as a collective and now it's time to venture out with individual endeavors.
"I loved Goodie Mob for what we were, and for what we accomplished," he continued. "I'll never be able to top it. It was a captured moment in time. I was proud to be a part of it."
Goodie Mob — Cee-Lo, Khujo, T-Mo and Big Gipp — emerged on the hip-hop landscape with 1995's Soul Food, a rich, organic-sounding album that put Atlanta's Dungeon Family on the map. Songs like "Cell Therapy" and "Dirty South" attempted to raise consciousness with an eclectic mix of self-examination, spiritual yearning and politics balanced by a tinge of gangsterism. 1998's Still Standing followed suit, though World Party's mostly celebratory jams were seen as an ideological about-face by many fans. None of the group's albums, though lauded by press and peers alike, ever achieved the commercial success of the albums from their friends in Outkast.
Fresh off an appearance on Santana's massive-selling Supernatural opus, Cee-Lo returned to what he saw as Goodie Mob's roots in spirit (if not sound) with his multi-styled solo album, Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections. With the Mob now officially over, he plans to push forward as a solo artist.
"[My solo work] is not a drastic change or something separate from Goodie Mob, it's a continuation," he explained. "My music still revels in that same revolutionary spirit, so the spirit of Goodie Mob is always with me.
"I feel like I succeeded with exactly what I wanted to do, which is distinguish myself from all that is mediocre, all that is monotonous," he said of his first solo outing. "It didn't matter, because I've never sold a lot of records in my whole career. I wasn't tripping off that. I wanted people to know what was possible and I wanted to prove to myself what was possible as well. Now, I've set sail and I'm off, man."
Cee-Lo plans to spend some time on the road with Pharoahe Monch next month, then finish up work on his next album, which he hopes to release in June. He's invited Dre from Outkast and Pharrell of the Neptunes onboard to produce tracks and will again tackle many of the cuts himself. He's also hoping to pass the mic, but only a couple of times.
"Eminem, when you see this, man, I want you to come share a piece of music with me," he offered. "Of course, I'm going to get Outkast on this album — but not too many [collaborations]. I don't like my albums to come across like compilations. I am capable of making an album."
As of right now, he's planning to call the record Bright Black.
"It means smart black music," he said, smiling. "Not stereotypical, not ignorant, [but] smart music."
As for the rest of the former Goodie Mob crew, a spokesperson at Arista Records could not confirm their plans at press time. She did, however, note that Khujo, who suffered a horrible auto accident over the summer that caused the lower half of his right leg to be amputated (see "Goodie Mob's Khujo Badly Injured in Car Accident"), is currently in good health and good spirits.