Cee-Lo Green Is The Soul Machine (Arista) Rating: NNNN
The Goodie Mob and Dungeon Family member's newest solo release works on a few levels - as a straight funky hiphop album and as a tribute to and extension of the work of the great soul and funk artists of the 60s and 70s. It's also a successful collaboration with various star producers and MCs, including Jazze Pha, Timbaland, Organized Noize, Ludacris, T.I. and, surprisingly, DJ Premier. People may not immediately take to Cee-Lo's distinctive high-pitched drawl, and he occasionally goes off in a direction that probably pleases him more than anyone else, but the beats, guests and vibe are never crappy. It looks like experimentation has reached mainstream hiphop, and, as Martha Stewart says, it's a good thing. Will you exchange a pack of cigarettes for this knit cozy?