Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
Cee-Lo always had star power: his pesky scampering rapping anchoring Goodie Mob’s songs, the bright, inspired moments on his 2002 and 2004 solo albums. He finally broke through in 2006 with St. Elsewhere, the first of two collaborative albums he recorded with DJ and producer Danger Mouse. Here, Cee-Lo showed off his versatility as a singer rather than a rapper, commanding his partner’s quirky pop arrangements with class, wit and just a bit of grit. “Crazy” conquered the world and inaugurated the third act of Cee-Lo’s astonishing career. Fitting that their first encounter was in the late 1990s after a Goodie Mob concert, Danger Mouse still and up-and-comer, pressing a demo tape into the hands of his heroes.