#26. I met Cee-Lo Green and Goodie Mob (Tampa, 1996)

In the Dirty South, the Good Die Mostly Over Bullshit.

Before my very first ever interview with people I considered “famous,” I debated whether or not to bring my sad bag of dirt weed to share.

The ATL group Good MOB had been riding high on the love for their classic debut, Soul Food. Their second album, the damned solid Still Standing, would soon drop. So, I didn’t wanna bring em no dirt weed. Also, I didn’t want to drive with any type of weed in Hillsborough County, Florida, where you can’t do anything without getting caught.

I greatly admired Goodie MOB, even more than I did their collaborators OutKast. Soul Food — which coined the phrase “Dirty South” — remains one of my favorite records ever. Cee-Lo was especially amazing; not just a gifted rapper equal to Andre or Big Boi, the man could also sang (he always maintained that he could not sing, but he sure could sang). I wondered when he’d become truly famous. With all that talent, it seemed to me only a matter of time. And I was right!

But years before Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse recorded “Crazy” under the Gnarls Barkley name — and long before Cee-Lo would plead no contest to slipping ecstasy into a date’s drink and then having his way with her — in 1996, I met the four-man Goodie MOB outside of a Black radio station in Tampa, where they were set to be interviewed.

When I nervously walked up to their white van, the tinted front passenger side window rolled down. And there was T-Mo

“You got that good green?” he immediately asked me.

“OH NO!” I shouted, mortified. “I was totally gonna bring a…”

T-Mo laughed and rolled the window up in my face.

But then the van’s side door slid open. Cee-Lo, with his shirt off, looked like a tattooed Black Buddha. I hopped in and felt very small and white, sitting between Cee-Lo and Khujo. As I nervously asked my questions, Big Gipp proceeded to roll a massive blunt in the back of the van.

They were, however, all southern hospitality: super warm and funny, with great ATL accents. They appreciated that I asked question about music, and seemed to like me well enough, though they did not share their blunt with me.

When they were all good and high and I was not, they left me and walked into the radio station — thus ending my first ever interview with some famous people.

Michael Patrick Welch’s “132 Famous People I Have Met” series is FREE, but please consider donating to his VENMO (michael-welch-42), or to his PayPal account (paypal.me/michaelpatrickwelch2), so he can feed his kids, pay his mortgage, etc.

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