November 30, 2000

Can't Fight the Funk

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Erykah Badu, our favorite wrap-on-the-head with the matching dress singer of the ’90s, returns with a bang on her new album Mama’s Gun.

The Dallas native dabbled in dance and drama until she was discovered and signed, releasing her debut, Baduizm in 1997. The album rose up the charts with the help of the single “On and On.”

Like Baduizm, Mama’s Gun blends the genres of jazz, funk, and soul into a good mix of fast beats and slow jams.

Badu’s voice is brassy at times, and sweet at others. It rises and falls, with interjections of scat reminiscent of old-school jazz singers. Mostly, it’s soulful. Her deep, long tones really make you feel what she is singing, even if the listener can’t relate.

Her singing is strong, mirroring the strength of her lyrics. Throughout the album, she comes across as a strong woman with serious self-esteem. What truly makes the album jazzy, though, is the background music. A heavy bass, similar to that of Baduizm, drives the songs along.

Another very cool aspect of the background music is the use of various drums. The sounds swing from a regular old drum kit, to the sweet tones of African percussion. Soft acoustic guitars and flutes complete the beautiful tones that back Badu’s voice.

All of the songs are worth listening to, and their order makes complete sense. The album opens with boldly with “Penitentiary Philosophy,” the funkiest song on the album. The waa-waa guitar riffs and energetic guitars make the listener want to hear what comes next.