Ross teams up with Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo Green on this soulful track. The collaboration originated from the two artists running into each other in L.A. Ross told Cee-Lo about a song for which he wanted the Gnarls singer to provide some vocals. The Miami rapper sent the song off, and it was completed in a fortnight. "He had verses on it already," Cee-Lo told MTV News. "But [the words] 'Tears of Joy' is all I needed. Ross did Ross, which is great. [The song] represents the contrast/contradiction which is life."
The song opens with a short clip of a speech from Black Panther leader Bobby Seale.
No I.D. produced the track. The Chicago beatmaker originally teamed up with J. Cole for the song but the rapper was not able to produce the goods. "I couldn't have did what Ross did on that, because [I] was in a bad place," Cole admitted to MTV News. "Me and No I.D. was in the studio, but the label was on me about some hits, so it was a bad session. I squeezed out a verse on 'Tears of Joy,' but I was not in a good place to do anything close to what Ross did on that."