Exclusive: CeeLo Green Talks Atlanta’s Impact On Music, OutKast’s 30th Anniversary, And Return Of Gnarls Barkley

CeeLo Green stands out as one of the most prolific artists in Atlanta’s history. Initially introduced as a member of the Goodie Mob, CeeLo has released hits in multiple genres including rap, R&B, funk and soul. 

During a recent sit down interview before his performance at the Atlanta Hawks game at State Farm Arena, CeeLo shared insight on Atlanta’s impact on culture and new music with Gnarls Barkley. 

Most of the nation was initially introduced to CeeLo Green in the early 1990s as a member of the four-man group, Goodie Mob. The socially-conscious quartet were first introduced on OutKast’s debut album, “Southernplayalistic.” This month, the album turns 30 years-old.  

“I don’t mean to get all philosophical about it, but it’s a real deep introspective, nostalgic kind of feeling that comes to mind,” CeeLo shared with ADW. “We were all kids trying to find our way. Anytime that Dungeon Family comes up in conversation, I have to acknowledge Rico Wade, Sleepy Brown, and Ray Murray. It’s just really wonderful to have been a part of it. I’m glad I was there.”

Following the release of OutKast and Goodie Mob’s debut album “Soul Food,” Atlanta’s music scene would explode as the city changed in numerous ways. CeeLo recalls how he witnessed the social and political growth of Atlanta.

“The politics were changing in the city, social engagement was coming,” he said. “The Olympics was the biggest, most monumental, immortal, unforgettable event of all time. Atlanta itself was just on fire. We were proud of the environment. And we just wanted to do our part. And then also, our hip-hop counterparts from the East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast were making a mark in music. So we definitely wanted to rise up and be counted in the mean. So it was very serious business, as far as we were concerned, so we took our job seriously.”

But while Atlanta has experienced decades of music success, CeeLo believes that the next generation of creatives must continue to push the envelope. 

“What we can do to continue the winning streak and the stronghold is to go back in time,” he said. “I think documentaries are perfect examples of how that can reflect and go back into time. You take some of that enthusiasm, some of that attitude of the old guard and communicate about how we could work together in conjunction to make sure we stay on top.”

CeeLo is currently doing shows with the Goodie Mob and preparing for the return of Gnarls Barkley. The collaboration with Danger Mouse produced one of his biggest hits, “Crazy.” The song continues to resonate with Gen Z members who often uses it for TikTok videos. 

“I do know that Gnarls Barkley was his ethnic magic, kind of mystical, magical thing that happened once upon a time,” he said. “TikTok has done a great job in repurposing music and introducing it to the new generation and has remained somewhat viral. It’s always in the conversation so it feels good that people are being reintroduced to me on a positive note and on a high note. So now you just marry that with what you’re doing now. I still feel the same way. I still got the same bounce, the same energy, same intention. It has to be universally appealing and we want to be the bridges between the generations. So we could talk together and enjoy good music.”

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