Cee Lo Didn't Like "Forget You" At First

Published February 9, 2011

There seems to be a common thread among Grammy-nominated singles this year: doubt.

Chris Brown had to persuade Tyga to drop “Deuces” as a single, and Bruno Mars’s sultry “Nothin’ on You” hook wasn’t enough to get Lupe Fiasco to bite. Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You” is apparently no different.

The single peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, earned gold certification from SoundScan, was performed by Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow on the hit TV series Glee, and inspired countless YouTube parodies, but Lo just couldn’t see it at first.

“I didn’t like it,” Cee Lo told BET.com. “I walked in the door and they had like a sketch of what ultimately became the record. Of course [Bruno Mars and the Smeezingtons, the track's producers] were dead set on 'F**k You,' and I was like, 'I could do that.' It started off as something recreational, just being proactive for the day and then being a little ridiculous because we all had a sense of humor in common. We were just kind of messing around, honestly. The guys really thought we had something special. I didn’t know immediately. Hey, I’ve been proven wrong—very, very wrong.”

Interestingly, Lo and Bruno Mars, who co-wrote the song, have a slightly different account of the session.

“Cee Lo was coming into the studio,” Mars recalled. “I wanted to present him with something. [I] started going to the piano; I came up with, ‘I see you driving around town with the girl I love,’ and I was nervous to sing it for him because I didn’t want him to think it was too silly. I just sang that part to him and he said, ‘I love it. Let’s go.’ And then he went off on a rant. And just you know, ‘Sorry, I can’t afford a Ferrari,’ and just saying all these genius lines.”

Good thing Lo’s skepticism didn’t prevail. Picture someone else singing that song. Mars can’t.

“It was a pure collaboration,” Bruno said. “I wish there were cameras in that session ‘cause it was so much fun. I mean, we talked about cracking jokes, back and forth, and he’s a genius, an incredible singer. And then when he went into the booth and sang the song—no one in the world can sing it like how he sang it.”

Lo's and Bruno’s stories matching isn’t as important as the song’s four nominations. Come Sunday night, it will contend for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Urban/Alternative Performance, and Best Short-Form Music Video.

“You know what? As far as Grammys are concerned, you don’t really get into music to get an award,” Mars, who was also nominated three times for “Nothin’ on You,” said. “But it sure does feel good to be on that level. Because that’s the Super Bowl of music, so when we got the word, it’s an incredible feeling.”

Will “F**k You” add a Grammy to its already impressive resume? Find out when the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards air this Sunday, Feb. 13, at 8 pm EST.

Written by Carl Chery, BET.com Staff, with additional reporting by Marcus Vanderberg

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