After just a few years of working together Gnarls Barkley has already won multiple Grammy Awards, sold millions of CDs and gained a reputation for being focused on “unrestrained creativity and an enviable sense of musical freedom” (Mojo).
Both rapper/vocalist Cee-Lo Green and multi-instrumentalist and producer Danger Mouse have had impressive musical careers as solo artists before forming Gnarls Barkley. The duo met while on tour and began working on songs together. They collaborated on the songs “What You Sittin‚ On?” for Lex Records in 2004 and “Benzie Box” from the Dangerdoom album The Mouse and the Mask in 2005.
When they released their first CD, 2006’s St. Elsewhere, the duo almost immediately jumped into the national spotlight with the international hit single “Crazy.” The single made history by becoming the first song in the U.K. to reach No.1 based on downloads alone. St. Elsewhere established Gnarls Barkley as a place for Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse to experiment with music. “Both artists have stepped outside their regular roles to make what feels like a genuinely instinctive, love-fueled record that zings with an enthusiasm for all spectrums of music,” wrote Dot Magazine. The Guardian wrote, “the mass of disparate sounds are perfectly bound together by some astonishing songwriting.”
In 2008, Gnarls Barkley released their second CD, The Odd Couple, featuring “intriguing new sounds each time, from heavenly organs to cartoon noises” (Paste) for “a milestone in modern psychedelic soul” (Uncut). “These pop-art pranksters deliver,” wrote the Onion AV Club. “The Odd Couple is the exhilarating sound of the band geeks and theater weirdoes taking over the school.”