Before Cee Lo Green’s career fell into the toilet thanks to a sexual assault charge and a wacky Twitter defense, he was a respected pop/R&B singer.
Before Cee Lo Green was a respected pop/R&B singer, he was a respected singer/MC, arguably the best rapping singer/singer rapper not named Lauryn Hill. Cee Lo’s ATL homeboy Andre 3000 gets the props these days, but quiet as kept, Cee Lo was dropping intense spacey lyrical knowledge (and doing it in muu muus!) when Dre was still rocking sports jerseys, rookie braids and homophobia on records. Not to say 3000 was never not nice with his, or even that 3000 stole chunks of his identity from Cee Lo. I don’t think you have the Andre 3000 of Aquemini or Stankonia without the influence of Cee Lo and the rest of the Goodie Mob, though.
“Big Ole Words (Damn)” comes from Cee Lo’s debut solo record, 2002′s Cee Lo Green & His Perfect Imperfections, and finds the perennial multi-tasker strictly on his emcee shit- delivering a STUNNING display of internal rhymes, alliteration, and wordplay that, if you’re a Golden Age hip-hop fan, will have you looking for the stop button on your device of choice and screaming “did you hear that shit?” to random folks. I’m pretty sure that the first time I heard “Big Ole Words”, I sat slack-jawed, staring at my CD player like Cee Lo himself had reached out of the device and punched me in my face.
I hate to be the “get off my lawn” dude, but when I was growing up and listening to hip-hop, you didn’t get respect unless you were nice with the pen. I still have issues appreciating hip-hop songs that aren’t lyrically sound. Granted, a lot of stellar lyricists lack charisma, didn’t know how to make good records, or both. This is why no one born after, say, 1995 knows who Ras Kass or Canibus is. Now, “Big Ole Words” isn’t hooky or radio-friendly, but it does feature a charismatic emcee who rhymes his not-insubstantial ass OFF. Seriously, these are legendary verses. Drake couldn’t see shit like this with X-ray vision.
“Now I don’t wanna ever hear nobody else say god damn a nigga from the South can’t rhyme.” With that, Cee Lo closed the book on that particular discussion (even though, truthfully, I think everyone was giving the South their props by this time.)
NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…
“Big Love” by Fleetwood Mac (1987): “Big Love” might be the most danceable Fleetwood Mac song. It came during a period that saw rock veterans like Peter Gabriel, Supertramp and Steve Winwood making their most club-friendly music so the slight change in genre shouldn’t have been especially surprising at the time. What surprises (somewhat) is that it works so well. Lindsey Buckingham is at his screaming-est here, the mood is urgent yet mysterious, and as with anything Lindsey, there’s some pretty nasty guitar playing involved. A great single on an album that was full of great singles (there will be two more from Tango In The Night on this list.)
The grunts/moans that punctuate the last half minute or so of “Big Love” are a bit odd, and I’d definitely avoid the live version that appears on 1999’s The Dance because the moaning sounds much less sensual and much more like Lindsey’s doing mid-song squats and is out of breath.
“Big Ole Butt” by LL Cool J (1989): Story (Verse) 1: LL is at the mall; drinking a milkshake and relaxing. He spots a young lady named Tina, who is exotic full of grace and poise. She has legs that would put stockings out of business. He admits to Tina that he has a girlfriend and that he’s dogging around. Tina appears to be nonplussed, invites LL to her place, and then they have sex. LL seems to be getting off on the fact that he’s cheating on his woman. He then goes back home, and tells his lady that he’s leaving her for Tina because she has a ginormous gluteus Maximus. He does this with a devilish grin, apparently feeling no sorrow for his possibly devastated girlfriend.
Story (Verse) 2: LL has decided to head over to the local high school at 3 PM (it’s not as creepy when you consider that he was 19 or 20 when “Big Ole Butt” was conceived and recorded.) He’s cruising around in his jeep with one of his homeboys when he spots a girl by the name of Brenda. He asks his friend to stop the jeep, because Brenda has the kind of booty that he’d always remember. He doesn’t ask Brenda if she’s above the age of consent, but I guess it’s possible that Brenda was a super-senior, which could’ve made her even older than LL was at the time. Anyway, Brenda heads over to LL’s house, and they engage in coitus so vigorous that it makes LL perspire. When the two are finished, LL wipes the sweat from his eyes and, totally famished, heads to the kitchen to eat some sweet potato pie. Tina busts in while LL is in mid-snack. LL shrugs and says that he did, in fact, sleep with Brenda. In fact, the plumpness of Brenda’s rear end was so attractive that LL has decided to leave Tina.
Story (Verse) 3: LL’s appetite for women is voracious. So, apparently, is his appetite for food. He rolls out to Red Lobster with his homeboy Brian for shrimp and steak. Apparently someone tries to engage LL in a fight in Red Lobster’s parking lot, but LL ignores the instigator, noting that his buddy Brian is packing heat. LL sits down, orders his food, and flirts with his waitress, Lisa. Lisa admonishes LL for flirting because he’s got a girlfriend. LL laughs it off and says it doesn’t matter. He also says he’ll be back later. At 10 PM, LL pulls up to the restaurant, Lisa lets him in and they have a marathon sex session in the restaurant (which may or may not involve those amazing Red Lobster cheddar biscuits). Either there is some Tantric shit going on, LL and Lisa are horny as goats, or there’s some power napping in between the sex, because LL looks at his watch and realizes that 11 hours have gone by and the restaurant is opening for business. What he also soon realizes (well, remembers) is that Brenda also works at Red Lobster. Unrepentant, LL tells Brenda that her co-worker Lisa has a phat ass, and that she, not Brenda, is now his girlfriend.
And then I’m assuming LL and Lisa remained together forever. Or maybe Brenda borrowed Brian’s 9mm and shot LL and Lisa. Because the song ends.