Songs You Didn’t Know CeeLo Green Wrote for Other Artists

CeeLo Green lives in the space connecting hip-hop and soul music. His terrific voice echoes gospel singers of the past, albeit without the spiritual themes. Green’s voice is the juxtaposition of gospel and profane, with easy melodies and say-it-straight lyrics, at once ‘of the time’ and classic.  

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He was introduced as part of the Dirty South group Goodie Mob, but became most famous with his neo-soul duo Gnarls Barkley, a collaboration with Danger Mouse. They scored a massive global hit with “Crazy” in 2006. 

Green, whose real name is Thomas DeCarlo Calloway, has an instinct for cool hooks and R&B melodies. Artists call on Green looking for their own “Crazy.”

The songs below date back to Green’s Goodie Mob days from the ’90s. On the early recordings you can hear his distinct approach, where he’s recycling old singers to create a new style. 

Let’s listen to some songs CeeLo Green wrote for artists other than himself or Gnarls Barkley. 

1. “Git Up, Git Out” by Outkast

“Git Up, Git Out,” the third single from Outkast’s first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, describes the risk of allowing conditions and circumstance to determine the outcome of one’s life. It’s about taking control of destiny. Green’s hook is inspirational. Life’s choices can be the difference between ‘living’ as a noun, adjective, or verb. The song features Green and Big Gipp of Goodie Mob. Early in Green’s career, he was showing hints of becoming a future icon. 

You need to get up, get out, and get somethin’
Don’t spend all your time tryin’ to get high
You need to get up, get out, and get somethin’
How will you make it if you never even try?

2. “Do Something” by Macy Gray

Macy Gray samples Outkast’s “Git Up, Git Out” on “Do Something.” Gray’s début album On How Life Is sold 7 million copies and introduced the world to a new generation’s soul singer. On “Do Something,” the album’s first single, Gray argues against victimhood. Channeling the classic voice and empowerment of Aretha Franklin, “Do Something” is the sound of earning respect. 

Where you been
I’m further behind now
Than I was back then
Lost in some old maze

[RELATED: Where Are They Now? Macy Gray]

3. “Don’t Cha” by The Pussycat Dolls

The Pussycat Dolls are a Hollywood burlesque act turned pop group whose début album, PCD, was released in 2005. “Don’t Cha,” the album opener, features Busta Rhymes, who co-wrote the song with CeeLo Green. Before “Don’t Cha” became the Dolls’ biggest single, it was recorded by Tori Alamaze—a backup vocalist for Outkast. The chorus recycles “Swass” by Sir Mix-a-Lot, who is credited as a co-writer. Green’s production and easy melody guided The Pussycat Dolls’ version of “Don’t Cha” to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me
Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me
Don’t cha
Don’t cha, baby

4. “T.O.N.Y.” by Solange

The video for “T.O.N.Y.,” the final single from Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, follows a frantic Solange into a bathroom where she reads the result of a positive pregnancy test. She’s holding a note that unpacks the song title’s acronym, The Other Night Y? CeeLo Green wrote the song with producer Jack Splash. Here Green, once again, shows how visceral and grounded his writing can be. 

Tony don’t call no more
No, not at all, no more
Maybe there is something wrong with his phone
Or maybe it’s mornin’ and the thrill is gone

5. “Lose My Mind” by Brett Eldredge

The second verse of “Lose My Mind” opens with Gnarls Barkley’s hook from “Crazy.” “Lose My Mind” was the lead single from Illinois, the second album from Eldredge. The song went to No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart. The interesting thing about “Crazy” is its celebration of self-doubt. On “Lose My Mind,” Eldredge reinterprets the lyric as an attraction to a girl who leaves him guessing. Using the padded room analogy, Eldredge finds pleasure in feeling crazy on “Lose My Mind.” 

You make me crazy
And I kind of like it
You show me that apple girl
And I want to bite it

6. “5% Tint” by Travis Scott

ASTROWORLD is Travis Scott’s third album, and it débuted on top of the Billboard 200. It was awarded Album of the Year at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards. CeeLo Green’s psychedelic co-write “5% Tint” wasn’t even a single and still has nearly half a billion plays on Spotify. 

That’s somebody baby mama inside of the Benz
While I’m tryna tip
Shawty said she holding 
Got a razor in her lip

7. “Hello” by T.I.

“Hello” opens with CeeLo Green’s distinct rasp, as he bid’s adieu to the jealous ones. Green has a history of sounding pleasing while telling his enemies off—his best known song is called “Fuck You.” “Hello” was written by CeeLo Green, Pharrell Williams, and T.I. “Hello” is from T.I.’s eighth album, Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head; it landed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Top Rap Albums charts. 

Just keep going and don’t look back
And look forward from where you’re at
There’s some jealousy in your rearview
Wave hello, hello, hello

Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Fan Rebellion

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