I normally like modern r&b/neo-soul/whatever you want to call it about as much as I like Donald Rumsfeld.
I dig old school r&b, of course, but I can only take so much of the crap that currently makes up that genre.
The exception to all of this, though, is Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun
, a fantastic album and one of my favorites that I could see many people not taking seriously. Take this disc seriously, though, because practically every track is gold.
Some background that might be interesting: Badu had a relationship with Outkast's Andre 3000 that resulted in a child. When they split up, both musicians used that drama as inspiration in the studio. Outkast made Stankonia
, with Andre writing "Ms. Jackson" about the incident, and Badu released Mama's Gun
, reflecting on the break up on the 10-minute "Green Eyes."
Enough with the facts ... the album, like I said, is fantastic. Opener "Penitentiary Philosophy" sounds like early Hendrix, the J Dilla-produced "Didn't Cha Know" is full of passion, the playful "Time's a Wastin'" features the best vocals on the entire album and "Green Eyes" is flat-out incredible.
The strongest track, though, is "In Love With You," a duet with Stephen Marley. Yes, its a fairly simple love song, but both singers sound spectacular and the acoustic guitar that plays throughout is great. If you just want to download a song, try this or "Penitentiary Philosophy," which is more rock-influenced.
Though there might be a few tracks that don't blow your mind, there isn't really a bad
song here. And it has a high replay value, especially considering the genre, which can get old rather quickly if you're not in the mood.
Anybody that likes older r&b should check out Mama's Gun
! Yeah ...