The Underrated: Erykah Badu's Mama Gun

By @TrueGodImmortal

1. Penitentiary Philosophy 
2. Didn't Cha Know 
3. My Life
4. ....& On 
5. Cleva
6. Hey Sugah 
7. Booty
8. Kiss Me On The Neck
9. A.D. 2000
10. Orange Moon 
11. In Love With You 
12. Bag Lady 
13. Time's A Wastin
14. Green Eyes

Erykah Badu is one of the premier artists of the whole Neo-Soul movement that was spearheaded mostly by the Soulquarians collective and their production prowess. From the work of James Poyser, sometimes Questlove and of course J. Dilla, they would help the artists create a great body of work and Badu's second album was a testament to their great chemistry. Kicking off with the smooth intro feeling first track, the bluesy yet funky track hits hard, as Questlove goes to work on the drums to carry the song over the threshold for the most part.

As that closes, my favorite Badu track "Didn't Cha Know" connects heavily, as the Dilla produced track knocks completely with a melodic soul feel to it along with the smooth background vocals supplied in the intro of the song. Badu coasts over this flawless production, speaking of her struggle of trying to get things together in life, creating a truly classic track that definitely still holds up to most tracks today in the mainstream period. She follows this up with a sequel of sorts to her first hit "On and On", which doesn't hold up to the original, but is still an enjoyable listen regardless.

The jazzy "Cleva" follows and she carefully crafts over the smooth production and creates yet another gem on an already flawless album so far as we near the halfway point. The track "Booty", while peculiar in its title, is a completely funky listen, as Badu talks her shit over a solid production that harkens back to the 70s just a bit at times. Badu has a strong suit for creating tracks full of sass and attitude and this song continued that tradition without a doubt. The soulful vibe of "Kiss Me On My Neck" is purely a relaxer that keeps the central theme of the album alive and once again, Badu kicks a funky vibe to carry the track to a different level.

The acoustic guitars that kick off "A.D. 2000" lead to a very soft yet electric melody, backed by a soulful vibe to make this yet another one of my favorite songs from this album easily. Badu does what she does best on this album and it definitely paid off for her. There isn't a weak track on this album and the moment we arrived at the amazing "Orange Moon", this album was already walking the line of being a classic. The vocals are soothing here along with yet another jazzy production here that fits perfectly for Badu's voice always. She knows exactly how to vocally approach these songs and give them the extra steps they need to become even more. It is one of my favorite things about her as an artist.

As the album nears the end, we get some amazing songs to close it out. "In Love With You" with Stephen Marley is reminiscent of a classic soulful reggae song mixed with the jazzy Neo-Soul vibe and it works perfectly here as both artists create something timeless. The radio hit "Bag Lady" follows and while it has the familiar melody from Dr. Dre's Xxplosive track, the production is much better than the one we hear on the charts. This album version is more soulful and easier to digest for the listener despite being more abstract in essence. The lyrics of the song are truly what carries it to a higher level, as Badu's message to ladies to try and let that old baggage go to enjoy life more resonates heavily.

The final two songs both have a similar feel to her debut album "Baduizm", as "Time's A Wastin" sounds very much like her classic "Otherside of the Game" track from that album, but she spins the vocals and vibe so well that it makes it stand out regardless. The final track "Green Eyes" starts off like an old 50s blues track and her playful lyrics once again carry this song along with her voice, which has the ability to soothe the soul easily. It's truly a great way to close out such an album that should get more credit for its greatness, as it is Badu's best album period.

Revisit this classic and take a true listen. You will not be disappointed. I promise you. Praise Badu.



Popular Posts