Erykah Badu Shares Her Vision of a ‘New Amerykah’
"It's the album I've wanted to make all of my life," eclectic songstress Erykah Badu tells the BoomBox when asked about her "comeback" album, 'New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War),' which hits stores February 26.
It's been almost five years since Badu released her third album, 'Worldwide Underground,' and the singer admittedly took some time off to nurse her kids instead of her career. "I had a daughter in 2004, but I put out 'Worldwide Underground' in 2003 and I took the time to nurture her ... breastfeeding and mothering and caring for her. And she had an older brother who was six at the time, who also needed mommy's care, love and attention, " Badu explains in a sweet, reflective tone.
The singer also confesses to being a traveling artist, which kept her out of the studio but in front of her fans where she feels at home. "I am a recording artist by career, but I am a performing artist, that's where we make our money. So I got to work," the singer proclaims. "I do most of my creating live, onstage."
Badu's latest creation will truly please her faithful following, who've waited a few years to see what this spiritual talent has to offer in the midst of today's here-today, gone-tomorrow acts. After a few title changes and some creative tweaking, Badu is finally ready to deliver. "My working title was 'Kahbah' ... usually the songs have a different working title than when they do when the album is completed," Badu explains. "[When] the album came to a completion, everything that I was talking about seemed like a testimony to where we are and where we were and people who live in the society [who] breathe every day, walk, think and act as we are, and that's what it's about."
'New Amerykah' features Badu's smooth voice, dropping her usual wisdom to all willing to examine the lyrics while bopping their head to a Madlib or 9th Wonder beat. An obvious hip-hop head but definitely not one to judge anyone's artistic expression, Badu weighed in on the current state of hip-hop while discussing the track 'The Healer' off the new album. "Hip-hop can only go where the people go. Hip-hop is exactly where we are and we are exactly where we're supposed to be. And until we vortex to another place, then that's where hip-hop is gonna be. And it's unfortunate that it's in a state of being programmed at this point, and so are we as people," the singer explains. Badu chants bold statements regarding hip-hop's importance on 'The Healer' with lyrics like: "Hip-hop. It's bigger than religion. Hip-hop. It's bigger than 'my n----.' Hip-hop. It's bigger than the government."
The singer's current state of being is much less complex than the aforementioned, but that could be a result of her new project, which the singer repeatedly describes as her "testimony." "[This] gave me a opportunity to get back around. I was in the same place as in 1997 when 'Baduizm' came out, except I vortex upwards," the singer reveals. "It's like I'm back to the same spot, but I have a little more experience, and a little bit more feeling and creativity, and definitely a lot more things to say."
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