Erykah Badu



Those who reported Erykah Badu's artistic demise in the years of silence following Mama's Gun (2000) are forgiven — Badu herself had openly wondered if she was finished with the soul game. A debut like Baduizm, which burned up the pop and R&B charts in 1997, can do that to a recording artist. She also had new motherhood to contend with (note to A&R reps of the future: OutKast's André 3000 is the father) — and the 2003 release of Worldwide Underground, a collaborative EP recorded with a production team dubbed Freakquency, did little to quell rumors that Badu might hang up the headdress.

  All of which made 2008's epic New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War hit longtime fans less like a mere comeback and more like a full-blown, phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes resurrection. Working with a busload of hip-hop talents, including producers Madlib and 9th Wonder (of Madvillain and Little Brother fame, respectively), Badu reprises her twin signatures — fat-bottomed beats and a voice that's half syrup, half sneer — and rallies the troops with politically charged theater. Government, religion, drugs, health care, prison reform, war, Hurricane Katrina — each gets a prick from the singer's sharp pen.

  But Badu can still do smooth, as lead single "Honey," a sequel of sorts to early tourmate D'Angelo's 1995 seduction "Brown Sugar," shows: "Can you stick your pinky finger in my tea?" she coos over sparkly synths and rubber-band bass. And for anyone wondering where psychedelic rock art has been hiding all these years, the answer is Badu's MySpace page (, home to some of the most sensational, mind-bending show posters since the clock struck '80.

Erykah Badu

5:45 p.m. Sat., April 25

Congo Square Stage

Honey - Erykah Badu

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