Cee Lo Green tells us all about his viral hit 'F--- You,' his new album, and the future of Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mob

Cee-Lo-greenWatching his single “F—- You” become a runaway viral hit within days of its online release has been “pretty magical” for Cee Lo Green. “It’s a pleasant surprise, I must say,” the singer tells the Music Mix via phone from London. “I think it’s totally surpassed just about everyone’s expectations. We had a clue — I mean, it’s a very noticeable song — but this has been extraordinary.”

“F—- You” was born almost two years into the recording of Cee Lo’s third solo album, The Lady Killer, which is now due Dec. 7.  During a session in L.A. with hitmakers Bruno Mars and Phil Lawrence (B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You,” Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire”), they let him hear a rough sketch of a song they weren’t sure was worth completing. “When Bruno first sung ‘F—- You’ to me, they were still a bit indecisive on whether or not it could work at all,” he says. “I was like, ‘I like it. Let’s record it.'”

Finishing the song became “a collective effort,” with Cee Lo contributing many of the verse lyrics that surround that unforgettably risque hook. As heartfelt as Cee Lo’s crooning sounds, his tale of being jilted for a Ferrari-driving slickster wasn’t strictly autobiographical. “I mean, it’s based on something true… As far as me personally, it’s not a current event. It’s a figurative account. It’s not completely fictitious, though.”

With “F—- You” continuing to gain speed online, Cee Lo and his team are scrambling to keep up. The dancing-words clip that’s racked up 1.7 million YouTube plays so far is just a place-holder, he says; a proper video is coming soon, but the singer coyly refuses to divulge any details about it. He’s also recorded a profanity-free radio edit to help the song’s chances of getting on the air. “It’s called ‘Forget You,'” he says. “It’s pretty close to the original, but not as effective. But it’s politically correct.” And while he had no part in creating 50 Cent’s witty remix, Cee Lo is a fan. “It was flattering that he would take the liberty of joining in so quickly,” he says. “I thought it was really cool.”

As excited as Cee Lo is about the success of “F—- You,” he’s eager for the world to hear the rest of The Lady Killer, which also features songwriting and production work from seasoned industry hands like Jack Splash, Salaam Remi, Fraser T. Smith, and Rick Knowles. “Lady Killer was a part of me that I had yet to showcase,” the singer says. “I believe it’s just another chapter in that novel that is Cee Lo.” He hopes to take that chapter on the road soon. One venue in particular is on his mind: “I had a vision of wanting to do a first for maybe our generation. I wanted to do a residency in Vegas for this album. ‘Come to Vegas and see Lady Killer!’ It just kind of had a ring to it. Maybe that’s a long shot, but who knows.”

One thing you won’t hear on The Lady Killer is any of the quick-thinking rap that Cee Lo brought to pioneering Atlanta group Goodie Mob in the ’90s. “I have a lot of fans from my Goodie Mob days that would kill to hear me rhyme again,” he says. “I made them a promise that if I was done with this album and we were able to complete [a new] Goodie Mob album, that was when I would rhyme for them. I’m separating those two things.” Yet he’s confident that the long-awaited Goodie Mob reunion project will come to pass. “We’ve been working on it. It’s been pretty casual, the way that we’ve worked on it, because of prior obligations…. I have to work a little harder to complete all these thoughts. But it is my desire to, and we will succeed at it.”

As if that’s not enough, Cee Lo also assures fans that Gnarls Barkley, his successful ’00s duo with producer Danger Mouse, will “definitely” release another album at some point. “Me and Danger talked the other day,” he says. “He was really happy for me.” Asked about the order of his future projects, Cee Lo maps out a grand plan. “Idealistically, I would like a Goodie Mob album to come first. That’s what I want: another Goodie Mob album, and then Gnarls, and then we’ll all be one big happy family and go out on the road together…. I have a whole awful lot of work to do, but it would be great.”

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More news from EW.com’s Music Mix:
‘What A Wonderful World’ songwriter George David Weiss dies at age 89
50 Cent remixes Cee-Lo’s ‘F— You’
Kanye West announces “Good Fridays”: New tunes every weekend ’til Christmas
Lady Gaga is Queen of Twitter: Sorry, Britney!

Lauryn Hill performs at Rock the Bells festival: Is she back for good?

Comments (26 total) Add your comment
  • Josh

    I agree that “Forget You” isn’t as effective, but he’s a smart man. This thing is going to KILL on radio.

  • Phil

    No offense to Cee Lo, but Goodie Mob never had a huge hit outside the South, and very few folks could care less…that reunion album would tank, MISERIBLY. Especially since most Dirty South records were a thing of a couple years ago…he missed that boat when he was busy making Gnarls’ debut. I’m all for diversity, but at this point, why subject the world to another ‘reunion’ record from a rap group no one cares about!? I mean I’m almost convinced N.W.A. could release a reunion record without Eazy E and it wouldn’t sell. (That would NEVER happen since we’ve waited nearly a decade for “Detox” from Dre…I’m being hypothetical here kids!) Oh and sidenote…So its August 24th…no new Game album….who from his camp is going to have a false murder report this week!!? This is what hip-hop’s come to to market itself!? Whatever happened to just making hot tracks like this Cee Lo single…SHEESH…

    • Jamie

      Phil, speak for yourself about Goodie Mob. I know several fans that are dying for a new album- in and out of the south. We’ll see who is right when the album drops.

      • ryan

        agreed. this song just like goodie mob’s first album, soul food, is classic. would to get a reunion album (i’m in NY) and see them perform

      • Dirka

        reallyBlunt / Man, I been pylaing this album on an off over the past few months. But i really gave it a listen over the weekend. This ALbum has beautiful MUSIC on it. an this brother is Really talking about something!!!

    • BC

      Not sure what you’re talking about – but Goodie’s first two albums are classic, regardless of geography. End of story.

      • swah


    • Phil

      Ask most hip-hop heads thw words or even the hook to ANY Goodie Mob song and most will look at you like you Gnarls Barkley type “Crazy”! They never even had a hit single. I’m glad they got some fans, but unless you four people who commented even actually buy music instead of downloading it illegally, my point is Goodie Mob may have a fanbase, but not one large enough to warrant a reunion cd, ESP. since they put one out a few years ago where the title alone was a knock at Cee Lo’s departure…regrardless of him saying ‘they’re goof’. Fans need to take a step back sometimes and remember, this is a business! If the record company doesn’t feel like they’ll turn a profit SOMEHOW, y’all be waiting for a reallllllllllllly long time for that reunion disc.

      • Jamie

        Then I don’t know what “hip-hop heads” you are hanging around with. Apparently they’re pretty ignorant to hip-hop history. Oh, yes, and I actually buy CD’s. If you don’t care about Goodie Mob then why are you even commenting? It’s not like Cee-Lo is going to read this. Again, we’ll see what happens when the album drops.

      • Silkky

        To Phil,YOU ARE A HATER!!!! I am a die hard Goodie Mob fan! “Look who peepin in my window, POW, nobody now.” Get a life or a job or something better to do.

    • Danny

      N.W.A did release a reunion album without Eazy E and it did bomb.

    • Shanda

      I agree with Phil. Back when Goodie Mob first came out Southern Rap was on the rise in popularity. However, with Outkast being what it was back then I believe Goodie Mob did get drowned out as far as mainstream success and exposure goes. Cee-Lo’s success in Gnarls Barkley was a lot greater than anything he ever did with Goodie Mob or did solo.

      Goodie Mob’s fanbase is rather underground, I’d say. If they did a reunion tour/album they’d have to stick to the South if they wish to actually make a profit. I have to admit that I can’t help but roll my eyes at the thought of Goodie Mob getting back together. It’s reminiscent of how all those washed up R&B groups of the 90’s are now rising from their crypts to do reunion tours. What a coincidence that their fanbases are all now in their early 30’s! And, make enough disposable income to go around.

      Let’s face it, Goodie Mob is rather unknown unless you’re really into hip hop. Even then that pool is quite small compared to the many hip hop heads that couldn’t be bothered with them (and there are a lot of them).

  • Jen

    His voice is like buttah!

  • BlunTs

    He should say FUNK YOU in the radio version!!!!

    • Meier

      Or maybe just “Eff You” (Ooh, ooh, ooh!).

      • BlunTs

        I agree. Anything but “Forget You”. I think they need to keep it true to the original song.

  • Jonathan F.

    Best song of the summer.

    • elr

      I agree. I can’t stop playing it. And I agree that the radio edit should just say “eff you”.

  • KIM W.

    Just heard it on AltNation- IT ROCKED!!!!!!! love me some!

  • deb

    Ahahaha. awesome. Laughed through the whole song.

  • matt mccord matt mccord

    Cee-Lo you are the king baby!

  • darclyte

    Love his voice. Love Gnarls Barkley. Love this song. Cee-Lo FTW!

  • Blondys

    great song and Lesbian-Match was amazing

  • Kim

    This song is awesome, but I agree that for the radio edit he should’ve just said “Eff You;” it would not only have been truer to the original but it would’ve sounded better than changing a one syllable word to a two-syllable one, which changes the rhythm a bit.

  • Donald

    Simply a sinlimg visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style. “Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.” by Harold Bloom.

  • Lisa Lampanelli

    We are a gaggle of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with useful info to paintings on. You’ve done a formidable task and our entire community can be grateful to you.

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