In an election year themed around change, Erykah Badu has chosen the perfect time to release her long-awaited fourth studio effort, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War). Meshing the sounds of Parliament with the political consciousness found in the early days of hip-hop, Badu delivers yet another substantive album that's completely left-field compared to the efforts of her R&B peers. Working with an eclectic mix of collaborators such as 67-year-old jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers, DJ/rapper/producer Madlib (Talib Kweli) and Little Brother producer 9th Wonder, Badu combines introspective lyrics with blazing beats to give listeners both an earful and a mouthful. Whether she's musing on the state of hip-hop, what it means to raise a young son in a violent world, or the apathy plaguing many members of the urban community, the soul diva gives her state of the union and shares her vision of a better world in the grooviest way possible. If this is what Badu's America would be like, the revolution can't start quickly enough.
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