Picture this: a large, bald black man in a long, curly wig, top hat and deeply caked black eye makeup proclaiming "I'm a bad muthafucka, I'm bad, I'm bad." This, the opening of Cee-Lo's Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, is not the former Goodie Mob standout trying to convince himself that he's bad; this is a statement, thank you very much.
It's a tone that permeates this, his first solo album. Cee-Lo takes much liberty to extend, or even recreate, the genres he blends in this release (rap, hip-hop, R&B, funk, soul, dance) with a series of musical and lyrical statements, all of which are unified by what the artist makes into his signature groove.
To use the artist's word's: "I am not like them at all/ and I cannot pretend/ I am not like you at all and I cannot pretend," on "Big Ole Words (Damn)."
So, we have an album that extends Cee-Lo as a singer and a rapper, and the artist showcases all these vocal talents on …Perfect Imperfections. He's joyously singing on "Closet Freak" and laying down the fast flow of the rap-driven "Live (Right now)." Absent here are mindless songs about shaking this and that. Instead, the staple get-your-freak-on song is thoughtful, as is the rest of the album. There's a mindfulness and sincerity on …Perfect Imperfections. Let's let one track's title speak for itself: "Spend the night in your mind," Cee-Lo offers. Here we have an album by an intelligent man in an age where most so-called urban music is drowning with songs almost entirely comprised of lyrics such as "oh boy" and "ya ya ya ya ya." Thank God for Cee-Lo.
In creating his own niche, Cee-Lo laid out the difference between himself and the norm. Take for example, "One for the road" - "you like every other rapper corn rows and a bandana…while I got a $150,000 check every three months off Santana." However, Cee-Lo's self-diagnosis that he's distinguished from his peers isn't really necessary. If such commentary were absent, you could figure out Cee-Lo's unique accomplishments (and his perfect imperfections) with one listen.
Catherine E. Galioto is a Copy Editor / Columnist. Contact her at msmatildarockzone.com.