The Dungeon Family is an interesting bunch. There’s the eccentric Andre 3000, the spiritual Witchdoctor, the comical Cool Breeze, the wild T-Mo and Big Gipp, the lascivious Big Boi, the temperamental Khujo and savvy Rico Wade. Did we forget anybody? Oh yeah-the always on-point, theologian-in-the-making, Cee-Lo. While the short, slightly rotund Cee-Lo is the most likely DF member to get lost in a crowd, he’s arguably the hardest one to forget about in a recording studio.
Son, it could be debated for hours about Cee-Lo’s hottest verse-there were so many from the whiney rapper on Goodie Mob’s Soul Food album that it was sick-and with the long-awaited release of his solo debut, Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, that debate will likely only grow longer and more intense.
Equally preachy and teachy, Cee-Lo sparkles throughout the 16-track, 5-interlude release. Riding some down-home guitar plucks Willie Nelson couldn’t do better, Green goes into all of the imperfections-he admits to being cheap, far from handsome and a loud snorer-on “Country Love” that some young lady has seemingly overlooked to still be with him. Cee-lo stays on a similar theme with the clever “Spend the Night In Your Mind,” a cut that will remind many of dead prez’s simple-yet-smart “Mind Sex.” “Damn” is kinda like a freestyle for the 23rd century, complete with millennial blips and more hot lines than Ms. Cleo. “Gettin’ Grown” and “Young Man,” the CD’s lyrical highpoint, will also have you reaching for the “rewind” button with their soft piano tinges and unflinching call-outs to the listeners who need to hear the uplifting messages most-young black males.
Perfect Imperfections isn’t all about sing-songy, spiritual messages though. Cee-Lo gets his party on Sly and the Family Stone style on “Closet Freak,” while on “Follow Me,” “Super Chicken” and “Basehead Jazz,” Green treks to a galaxy similar to the one on Outkast’s Stankonia. Because of all of the excessive shouting and heavy rock influence, however, the results here are somewhat suspect. But by the time you’ve encountered these songs, you will have already been so overwhelmed with hip hop/soul/funk-fused perfection that Perfect Imperfection’s few missteps won’t much matter.