Cee-Lo Green ‘lays it down’ with new television show on Fuse
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Cee-Lo Green wasn’t exactly looking to become a television star -- until the opportunity was handed to him.
When the cable network Fuse went to the Gnarls Barkley rapper-singer with the idea for a new music show, “Lay It Down,” he couldn’t turn away.
“It’s more than me wanting to do this, it’s someone wanted me to do it, which was very flattering and a compliment in the fact that I was asked to be a part of it,” Green said. “That was gratifying for me.”
In the interview- and performance-based show, set to premiere in October, Green will act as host -- and sometimes collaborator -- as he puts artists such as Lil Jon, Ludacris, T-Pain, N.E.R.D., Janelle Monáe and Public Enemy in the hot seat to break down their biggest hits and discuss the inspiration behind specific verses and beats. It’s a setting reminiscent, says Green, of a ‘modernized midnight television special.’
He said he hopes the show will provide fans an inside look at and artist’s creative process and offer little-known details behind some of the hits. For instance, Public Enemy’s “Yo! Bum Rush the Show” was written in the back of a U-Haul truck by Flavor Flav.
“I think this was an opportunity for everyone to be intimate about their own process, approach or formula, but true art isn’t exposed in its entirety. I believe it’s an opportunity to express a bit and reveal a bit but still maintain some mystique,” Green said.
Sal LoCurto, senior vice president of programming at Fuse, said adding shows such as Green’s to the network’s programming block only further sets it apart from other music networks such as BET, VH1 and MTV -- all of which have turned their attention to reality television.
“We are the only music channel. [BET, VH1 and MTV are] past tense. They’re not really music channels,” LoCurto said. “I always say it’s kinda like rooting for the Dodgers and expecting to see Sandy Koufax pitch. It’s a bygone era.”
Jason Hervey, executive producer of the show, said Green was targeted because of his vast career, be it from his days as a member of Goodie Mob to his solo career to being one half of Gnarls Barkley.
“He can connect to the artist and the subject really on any level, and there is such a knowledge and a passion for music and his fellow performer,” Harvey said. “I think there’s an admiration, you know, and there’s a point of view that really is unrivaled unless you’ve walked in the many different shoes within the musical career that he has.’
With production on the first season of the show wrapped, Green is back to focusing on his upcoming solo album, “Lady Killer,” as well as a new Goodie Mob album -- his first with the group since 1999’s “World Party.”
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy