But the feeling of unity was short-lived. “We had a benefit for Khujo, and Cee-Lo didn’t come,” says Nikki. “Everybody and their mama in Atlanta came out and performed for free, from T.I. to Bonecrusher. Everyone was pissed, but Cee-Lo’s mom had passed away not long before. I figured he had a lot going on.”
After Khujo left the hospital, he got together with Gipp and T-Mo to re-form Goodie Mob without Cee-Lo. They released an album titled One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (KOCH, 2004). The group denied that the title referred to Cee-Lo, although the cover showed three members of Goodie Mob with a chimpanzee filling the fourth spot. Cee-Lo was reportedly “pissed” about Monkey, but he speaks about it calmly now. “I was more disappointed than angered,” he says. “This was around the time it had become fashionable to put your personal business out, and I was like, This is not the way.” When the album did not sell well, Cee-Lo felt vindicated. “I think Cee-Lo just let them shoot themselves in the foot,’” says Ramon. At the end of the day, one monkey does stop the show. It was even easier to forgive and forget when Gnarls Barkley’s debut album, St Elsewhere (Downtown, 2006), sold a million copies on the strength of the double-platinum, Grammy Award-winning single “Crazy.”
After his success, Cee-Lo had a new appreciation for his former band-mates. “I’m not trying to outdo, outshine, upstage anyone,” he says. “I cannot do Goodie Mob alone. No grudge that I could have outweighed the collective good we could do.” Last summer, the group decided to overlook their differences and give Goodie Mob another stab. Now they’re back in the studio with Rico and making plans to perform again.
“Me and Cee-Lo have talked throughout this whole time,” Gipp says. “People thought it was real beef when it wasn’t.”
Gipp’s main concern is setting the record straight on Southern rap. “I take it as a slap in the face when I see kids coming up, praising Jay-Z and these other cats. Back in the day, they wouldn’t even talk to southern rappers,” he bristles. “Ludacris, Jeezy, and T.I…. They praise Jay-Z and to me, Jay-Z ain’t never said anything besides how to sell dope.”
“Look at how it’s cool to be a Kanye West!” he continues over the phone into the wee hours of the morning. “I hate seeing muthafuckas like Fonzworth Bentley, dudes all on TV, with these old strange clothes on don’t nobody wear in the everyday world."
Gipps is perhaps even more disappointed by the other branch of the Dungeon Family––OutKast. “I’m going to tell you the truth,” he says. “I’m pissed off at Dre and Big for not really doing OutKast right now. Sometimes people trying to run away from something you can’t really run away from.” ––Linda Hobbs
WATCH behind-the-scenes footage (below)