Badu wraps her soul around brilliant funk jams like "The Healer" and "Twinkle," and the effect is devastatingly spare yet filling in a way Jill Scott hasn’t mastered since "A Long Walk." What Badu does is even more remarkable when one considers that the only politics being discussed on New Amerykah are those of her womanhood and relationships.
"Fly free baby fine with me/ I’m in love with a bumble bee," she croons on the breezy "Honey" in obvious reference to Dre (from Outkast). Her delivery can spin wry lyrics too: "Mama coughed up on cocaine/ daddy on spaceships with no brain," she yelps on "The Cell" which works wondrously as an expose on the drug addiction that faces so many in her land.
Her focus on "The Healer" encompasses more than just her art-form, going further to express how misguided it has become in its quest to dominate music. "We’ve been programmed/wake up/we miss you," she loving reminds while dumping down herself musically to scale larger on lyrics. "The Healer" reaches within itself to constantly mourn the late J Dilla as well as the sad state of music. Badu’s production is aided sublimely by Dilla’s efforts as well as 9th Wonder, Madlib and Mike ‘Chav’ Chavarria.
No matter the scenario though, Badu has finally flittered around to giving us the soulful masterpiece we’ve been harping for and she’s accomplished it on her own post neo-soul terms. Here’s the follow-up that rivals Baduizm as the defining artistic venture in her remarkable life.
Many artists only get one brilliant flash but Badu now has two. The only difference this time around, is that her influence will be even quicker, more immediate than the first time as even her peers are recognizing her efforts. The upcoming brilliant album by New York rapper Jean Grae (look out for my review when it drops) features a shout out to Badu on the first track. Grae is without doubt the finest female rapper out there now, and if she can hail the woman who helped make her venture worthwhile then that’s the props I’m keeping in tune with.