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3.7 out of 5 stars30
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2008
In 200? Erykah surprised/shocked a few people with the release of `Love Of My Life' a duet with Common dedicated to hip-hop (she even raps on the video). This was a little bit unusual for the lady who had built a reputation as the neo-soul queen. Truthfully that track should not have been so surprising as the 1st single to her previous album sampled none other than Dr Dre (Xplosive from 2001). It was therefore not such a huge shock when I learned that the 1st single to her new album was produced by 9th Wonder (great video). What did shock me however was how far she takes the hip-hop influence in her album.

Most soul singers would have gone with Will.I.Am, Wyclef Jean, Kanye West or even The Neptunes (see Estelle) to create a radio ready but hip-hop sound. Ms Badu goes underground (in an attempt to channel the late great J Dilla) choosing Madlib (MF Doom), 9th Wonder (Little Brother) and chief contributors Sa-Ra Creative Partners.

The result is a disjointed effort which at first listen sounds like a mixtape styled blending of rhymes over beats. The production tends to be the dominant presence in this album when it was her voice (and skilled penmanship) that fuelled her past albums. Erykah herself also strays from her mainstay of melodies that accentuate her voice and opts for chants that are delivered in a rap like fashion, `The Cell'. As if taking a queue from collaborator Georgia Ann Muldrow she even distorts/contorts her voice to create an instrument sounds on `The Cell', `Twinkle' and `Master Teacher'.

Only in the final quarter of the album does Erykah return to the style that she is best known for. `That Hump' and `Telephone' leave you wishing that the album could continue for another 30 minutes.

After several listens however you as you begin to grasp the politically charged lyrics and you grow accustomed to the musical stylings of Sa-Ra the album starts to grow on you. And while it is far from my favourite Erykah CD it does have a place in my collection; next to J Dilla's "Donuts", filed under the section WAY AHEAD OF ITS TIME
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on 28 February 2008
WOW!! This album has had so many mixed reviews, from what i've seen online. If people understand Erykah, they will know that she is NOT your everyday kinda woman! She is a deep,sacred,virtuous, unique black woman on a WHOOOOOLE other level, and she is on her journey to even higher, spiritual, creative heights, both personally and musically, and boy am i travelling with her!! lol...
I'm loving this album!! i guess being an old soul helps (i'm 25 and LOVE 70s funk, from vicki anderson to james brown, and classic soul) and i also love Madlib's beats from the albums he has out at the moment, and the work he did with Madvillan. The man's a genius! And of course i'm a huge neo-soul fan :).. I just can't wait to listen to it some more, so i can delve into the lyrics and even more of the production! I'm loving the whole album, but especially 'me', 'soldier', 'the cell' (man what a beat!), master teacher, honey and telephone..

This is MOST DEFINITELY different from her previous albums, so i wouldn't advise anyone who hasn't listened to it yet, to listen to it with her previous work in mind! If you're a commercial head, u won't like this album or 'get' it, SIMPLE lol.. You'll only like 'honey' lol, but if you're a deep neo soul/alternative/funk lover, u will luv it!.. If you're an Erykah fan and disappointed with this album, after a few more listens i think u will begin to feel it, especially if u embrace her individuality! :)..

At the end of the day, it all depends on your personal musical tastes and also by viewing Erykah for MORE than just the music, and not to 'pigeon-hole' her music, and by capturing her essence as a person and the essence of her music, and understanding and appreciating that people grow and change...
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on 15 September 2010
Being used to the smooth, neo soul vibe that Ms. Badu created on her three previous albums, I had expected more of the same with the fourth album. But wait.....

Change is good. More of the same shows a lack creativy, Ms. Badu must have decided. In doing so, she sends to hell on a surprising rollercoaster of an album. I had received "the return of the ankh" as a birthday present last month. I did not play it until I had purchased this album to see where she was at.

Where she was at it, it seemed, was to advise her public that this is very much a politcal, though provoking album with mad beats and samples from people as varied as Curtis Mayfield and Roy Ayers. All fresh, all fabulous.

The Promise opens the album sounding like a 70's blaxploitation movie and all the better for it.

The Cell - stunning use of glacial digital beats that gels beautifully with her warm honeydripping voice.

Me - A personal description of her life. A point of note. At the end there is an absolutely amazing biography of her life sung in harmony/competition with a lone trumpet. The notes of the trumpet player get higher and matches them.

All in all, a stunning (yet diversifying ) return to form for the gift to your ears that is Erykah Badu.
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on 7 June 2008
Not me, and not Erykha Badu! If you want an album of songs that are designed to be radio friendly, then go and buy Mary J Blige's lasy album (or any of them really?). EB ROCKS! Listen to her albums:

Baduizm - totally chilled, laid back grooves, spine tinging stuff
Mama's Gun - Late night funk, sexy, tripping
Worldwide Underground - Get ready to go out with this, summer day, sexy
New Amerykah Part One - Pure hip-hop, sexy, difficult, loud, slightly dangerous, controversial

I can't pick a favourite EB album, as I get more excited and more surprised with every release. This latest didn't dissapoint. After just one listen, I realised that it sounded like nothing I have ever heard before.

I admit, I am not an expert on "Hip Hop" (to me in 1989, Betty Boo on casette was Hip Hop! ;-), but as I've gotten older, I've opened my mind up to different music. If this is Hip-Hop, then I love it!

Prime example-the first single from this album isn't even listed on the track listing-it's the last track, mixed with something else at the start and end. Pure class!

EB doesn't nead to join the pack-she's not even the leader of it. She's beyond that, and this proves how far ahead she is. This music isn't written for reviews or the chart, it's been crafted for the people who understand her and want to listen to her.

Of course, this is only MY opinion. But EB - Keep doing it. You are the Queen xx
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on 13 March 2008
I've long been a fan of Ms. Badu and followed her career with great admiration. As has been noted elsewhere, this album marks something of a departure for her. The smooth, soulful grooves have largely disappeared, and in their place, a funkier, harder sound. On paper, it sounds like a step down, but make no mistake, this is a terrific album. It's a mark of true talent and self-belief that true artists like Erykah can step outside of the comfort zone that elevated them to their current position, and be brave enough to put out something different like this.

Some fans have apparently been expecting some kind of re-hash of what's come before. I would appeal to them to lose their expectations, because life's a journey; it's not static, and that includes how music progresses. This release has a more futuristic, conceptual feel to it, inviting you to travel with it and indeed it's best listened to chronologically.

Badu has returned, proving not only that she's still 'got it' but that she's unafraid to take risks, push her music out there, and it's worked. A terrific listen. I love it.
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on 10 March 2008
Firstly i must say that i only give 5 stars to albums athat are classics,i dont believe in giving 5 stars to an album unless it really deserves it. Anyway i was really looking forward to this and am slightly disappointed though only slighty. Badu's albums bar the debut have always been patchy and this is no exception,when shes on fire she's awsome but like her previous albums theres some downright bland and bizarre tracks too. Things start off really well with Amerikahn promise..a smokin 70's funk fuelled track prod by Roy ayres..this sounds like it was made in the 70's..great opener. The madlib prod tracks are the worse on the album..so boring and just never go anywhere..the brilliant 9th wonder prod single Honey is another highlight as is Telephone and That Hump..soldier is not bad but the rest is very middling.

Worth getting for amerikahn promise,Honey and telephone alone though

Can do better miss badu.
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on 29 April 2008
Erykah has never dissapointed yet. The more you listen to this the more you love it. There's more creativity, subtlty, soul and attitude than any other major album that I have heard in the last few years. You can tell that this is the album that she wanted to make rather than playing it for the sales. lovely, outstanding, energising, Erykah Badu!!!!!!!!
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on 18 August 2011
It has been a long 5 year wait for Erykah Badu's highly anticipated fourth album "New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War". After quite a long silence, you would hope it would be well worth it. To some extent it is as the album is exciting in parts and very entertaining, but it misses the mark on occasions and can sound a little too weird at times.

"Amerykahn Promise" is quite a funky track and a very good choice to open the album. The second track "The Healer" is the highlight for me - it is very addictive and has very cool hip-hop influences. "Me" has a more jazzy vibe and has subtle arrangements, but ends up being a little bland and has a repetitive melody. "My People" is once again a blend of hip-hop and soul, and has some African influences, but this time the lyrics are too repetitious where Erykah sings "Hold On, My People" throughout the whole song. "Soldier" is a little more exciting and is a funky groovy track. "The Cell" and "Twinkle" are both experimental jazzy tracks that are a little too chaotic. "Master Teacher" is another experimental track, but this time sounds a little too simple. "My Hump" is quite a groovy track with a nice flow and "Telephone" is a very pleasant dreamy soulful ballad. "The Real Thing" is another funky track with quite an addictive horn section and the final track "Honey" is a nice slice of R&B.

"New Amerykah Part One" is Erykah's worst effort so far, but still remains an interesting purchase for her fans. The music is quite experimental and even futuristic even though some of songs are not that inspiring or well though out. It just about gets a 4 star rating as it does have creativity and Erykah Badu is trying, maybe too hard, to be different.
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on 3 March 2008
I must agree with Brit (13 March) on this. Amazing the number of people who want to categorise and limit the absolute freedom in which someone can move with regards their musical expression. Erykah doesn't owe it to us to stick to one type of musical expression even if she does it so well, she is an artist after all.
As much as I like her early stuff, I'am continually challenged to appreciate musically what she's done on subsequent albums (a bit like a soul-head appreciating the artsitry behind another musical genre like classical).

This album is a lovely mix of different flavours, which are still very Erykah in their essence. It certainly harks back to the sample/interlude-rich hip hop albums of old, giving it a nice filling.
Tune after tune I'm hooked (many of them are growers, and growers are often the best tunes because the creativity of the track is often buried, so you have to uncover it after several listens or listen to it within the right setting/feeling/crowd).

All that said, I'd love to hear the horns back in accompaniment. If I had one criticism of this album it would be that she wasn't able to pull in someone like D'Angelo to duet with her on a track like 'master teacher'. Anyway, bring on the concerts.

Final point - I don't see how an album like this can be getting less than 4 stars (the quality of 'telephone' alone gives it 2.5 stars). I therefore can't consider those giving less than 4 stars as being true fans of Erykah - I at least can't see how they're experiencing this album in their right-brain.
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on 11 March 2008
She is back by dope demand..11 year course thus far with 2 more albums due this year, though the hiatus was 8 or so years since Baduizm or mama's gun or worldwide underground, lets get involved to a great looking piece of work.

Couldn't really understand a couple of 'coffee table wallpaper lover' comments..but all are welcome to their own reviews.

I have personally enjoyed the Questlove\James Poyser collab with the EB in remembrance of the mighty J DILLA worthy of 6 stars alone.

Also not forgetting the LA crew Sa Ra creative who have added their unique tastes....and stonesthrow own MADLIB, look for and check anything produced by him and you shall not be disappointed....and Karrem Riggins production of,'Soldier' a producer and artist not to forget...

BuyBuyBuyBuy

ps I would agree with Heidi on the art..
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