This shit right here? Dope. Erykah Badu’s new album New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of Ankh is a beast; an incense burning, Khemetic language chanting beast, but a beast nonetheless. For those who were put off by Ms. Badu’s last album (New Amerykah Pt. 1: 4th World War), you’ll love Badu again on this new joint. The sound seems just about right for where you would expect an artist like her to be at this point in her career. She definitely has a “sound,” but it has evolved. At the same time though, if you like this new album, you might want to check out Pt. 1 again. I bet you’ll find yourself liking it a little more. Join me on a tour through the 12 tracks of the new jawn…
1. 20 Feet Tall
The 9th Wonder produced track opens with a sound not unlike that of a spaceship taking off. That’s a pretty appropriate metaphor for the experience of listening to any Badu album. Smooth and dotted with the sound of delicate chimes (if sprinkling moon dust has a sound, this is it), “20 Feet Tall” has a mellow feel to it. Badu waxes poetic about a love gone awry. Grab a glass of wine and chill with this track.
2. Window Seat
The video for this song has stirred up all kinds of controversy because Badu strips down in the video and gives us all a view of her very impressive behind. (Serena probably watched that video like “Sheeeeeeiiiit, I’m holdin’ too baby girl.”) Personally, I liked the video, but sans visuals, the song still stands strong. Introspective and soulful, it’s what you expect from Badu.
Clocking in at 1 minute and 33 seconds, this little number is basically bridging tracks 2 and 4. I love when artists spend time making the track order make sense.
4. Turn Me Away (Get Munny)
Badu does not shy away from well-known samples on this album. For this track she samples Sylvia Striplin’s “You Can’t Turn Me Away.” Junior Mafia used the same sample for their 90’s hit “Get Money.” The title is Badu’s way of paying homage to both songs. This track is best described as cute and fun.
5. Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long
This song sounds like a modernized 70’s track, which it is in a way. It samples Paul McCartney’s “Arrow Through Me.” Similar in content to Badu’s “Other Side of The Game,” but not nearly as catchy, this is my least favorite track on the album.
Produced by Madlib and Badu, I want to like it more than I do. I think I want more bass. It has a nice feel to it though. You’ll find yourself nodding your head and I like how the hook comes in.
The late J Dilla produced this track, so you already know you love it. Detroit, what?!
8. You Loving Me (Session)
This is a fun little interlude. If you listen closely to the beginning, you can hear what sounds like someone flicking a lighter as Badu hums in a way that makes you think she has something in her mouth. Hmmmm
9. Fall In Love (Your Funeral)
Definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. Once again going for a popular sample, Badu uses “Intimate Friends” (written by Garry Glenn, performed by Eddie Kendricks). The original KNOCKS! Dope. Alicia Keys used that same sample for “Unbreakable” and Sweet Sable used it back in the 90’s for “Old Time’s Sake.” Badu pays tribute to Biggie by using a line from “Warning” in the hook for this song.
Veeeeeeeery mellow track, almost meditative. It ends with Khemetic words. I love the the clicks and purring. Burn some incense on this one or spark something else. Your choice.
11. Out My Mind, Just In Time
Remember Badu’s delicious 10 minute song “Green Eyes” off of the Mama’s Gun album? This is another 10 minutes of musical drama and beauty. Those Billie Holiday comparisons seem pretty valid on this track. The “chopped and screwed” part is my favorite.
12. Jump Up In the Air and Stay There
When the video for this came out, I wasn’t really feeling the song, but now that I’ve really listened to it, I like it alot. It’s in my top three for songs on this album. Per us-u-al, Lil Wayne kills his verse. The beat is hard too. I play this track 50-11 times a day.
All in all, I’m really digging the album. Do you have it? What do you think?