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Neo-soul began in the late ’90s when vocalists who grew up listening to Curtis Mayfield, Prince and De La Soul made their own records, and in doing so, finally made the urban music charts interesting again. Now progressive-rap aficionado Cee-lo has decided to throw his hat into the ring. It was his group, Goodie Mob, and their friends and collaborators in Outkast and Organized Noise who broke away from the East Coast/West Coast rap dichotomy with their own, Southern-fried-soul-style hip-hop. On “Cee-lo and His Perfect Imperfections,” he breaks out on his own, belting out gritty funk, old-school R&B and the occasional rhyme.

Calling his debut ambitious is an understatement. Written, arranged and produced by Cee-lo himself, “Imperfections” is vain and self-indulgent in the best possible ways. Horn sections, gospel harmonies, beats and acid-rock guitar all lay down together in a gorgeous, sweaty heap.

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