Famed hip-hop quartet Goodie MOB have been offering fans a few glimpses of their upcoming reunion album, the highly anticipated Age Against the Machine, and on a muggy evening in midtown Manhattan, T-Mo, Khujo, Big Gipp and Cee Lo Green dropped into Daddy’s House to give the full preview of the album for journalists and friends.
The socially aware group first emerged in the mid-;90s, rapping about race, spirituality, family and street life in the Dirty South and though they never became crossover stars, Goodie became one of the most acclaimed groups of the era, and among the acts responsible for putting Atlanta on the hip-hop map.
They reunite a much older and wiser group of emcees, and with the charismatic Cee Lo having become a bona fide pop star after his unexpected success as one half of the eclectic Gnarls Barkley duo (with DJ Danger Mouse) and also with his own solo career.
“A lot of people see what I’ve become as ‘commercial,’ ” Cee Lo said, acknowledging the changes, “as opposed to ‘critical.’ ”
The multifaceted singer-songwriter-rapper revealed that he finds such criticism “insulting.” And as the audience sipped TY KU sake and Shaheem Reid moderated the evening, the tracks previewed indicate that this “grown man” Goodie MOB is better than one may think at balancing their own maturation as men, Cee Lo’s solo stardom and persona and the socially-conscious material on which they made their name.
“Special Education” has already gotten the world’s attention, and the MOB is guaranteed to still shock some — in unexpected ways. But as Cee Lo pointed out, “It’s all in a spirit of love.” The crew seemed content with where they are and where they’re headed, and with this standing as their first album as a quartet since 1999’s World Party, they’re enjoying the ride and the vibe. And fans are enjoying the return.
Quietly, Goodie MOB has always had some of the most devout fans in hip-hop, and Cee Lo perfectly summed up why they’re still so beloved.
“We don’t make music to make you dance,” he explained. “We make music to make you move.”