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Using “love” as a springboard, Badu approaches the concept with the skill of a short-story writer

 (like 151st Street homegirl Toni Cade Bambara dropping bombs in Gorilla, My Love) crafting

meditations on the subject that range from the waiting on her man sister in “Gone Baby,

 Don’t Be Long,” which samples Paul McCartney’s heartbreak ode “Arrow Through Me,”

to the groupie chick bopping backstage to a Biggie beat on “Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY).”



CDs by Erykah Badu


Baduizm  /  Mama’s Gun  / Worldwide Underground  / New Amerykah Part One  / New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh


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New Amerykah Part Two

Return Of The Ankh by Erykah Badu

Reviewed by Michael Gonzales


March 24, 2010

Even before the release of her first record Baduizm in the winter of 1997, Erykah Badu was considered something special. Signed by Kedar Massenburg, who two years prior had a hand in presenting D’Angelo’s groundbreaking Brown Sugar to an appreciative public, Erykah was introduced as the second coming of Billie Holiday.

While that kind of hyperbole might be impossible for even the most seasoned singers to live up to, Badu was ready to tackle the record company–construed comparisons with vigor. In a series of showcases staged for tastemakers and music critics at New York City’s now-defunct Soul Café a few months the her debut single “On & On” became inescapable, it was obvious Badu sounded nothing like Lady Day.

Yet, watching her on stage, where she was full of sass and soul, showing a personality that was both granola and ghetto, it was apparent that Badu had her own thang going. Coming at a time when “neo-soul” was all the rage, Erykah refused to get caught up in the trick bag of categories. Instead, she was just being as jazzy-rock-hip-hop as she wanted to be.

Unlike other artists of her generation who failed to live up to their early hype, Badu is constantly striving to reinvent herself aurally. On subsequent discs, especially the monumental Mama’s Gun (2000) and Worldwide Underground (2003), Badu has shown that she is not afraid to experiment with various sounds and textures. One minute she might be backstroking in classic breakbeats, the next she’s knee-deep in some brand-outer-space-new funk.

Though a bit kooky in her style, rocking Afro wigs and baldies with the same finesse, in the studio Badu has always been a maverick artist who writes, produces and nurtures music into creation as though it were a baby. Having given birth to her third child Mars Merkaba last February, it would be easy to attribute the lovey-dovey vibe of New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh to the joys of motherhood and partnership with her man, producer/ rapper Jay Electronica.

“Concentrating on my music lover and my babies,” she sings on the blissful “Window Seat,” which sounds like it was equally influenced by Bessie Smith’s blues and Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own.” Certainly, Badu is a beast in the studio, having been compared to everyone from Alice Coltrane to Bjork, but the real music in her songs can be heard in the lyrics.

“Looking for the holy ghost, found it in a missing note,” she sings on the ambitious “Out My Mind, Just in Time.” Have mercy, the girl puts together words in a way that would make both Ntozake Shange and Rakim proud.

While Return of the Ankh could be labeled a “love” album (especially when compared to gritty There’s a Riot Goin’ On textures of New Amerykah Part One) when you’re talking about Erykah Badu it’s just not that simple. As the artist herself recently remarked, “With Part One, I was standing at an apex, looking at what was going on around me politically, socially, and economically. With Part Two, I’m hovering over me, looking at what’s going on inside of me.”

Using “love” as a springboard, Badu approaches the concept with the skill of a short-story writer (like 151st Street homegirl Toni Cade Bambara dropping bombs in Gorilla, My Love) crafting meditations on the subject that range from the waiting on her man sister in “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long,” which samples Paul McCartney’s heartbreak ode “Arrow Through Me,” to the groupie chick bopping backstage to a Biggie beat on “Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY).”

Working with her usual posse of collaborators including the late J. Dilla, Madlib, ?uestlove, SA-RA Creative Partners, Karriem Riggins and James Poyser, the woman of the hour comes through in the name of soul. As she sings on “Love,” a Dilla produced gem, “…you love me, I like it.”

While Emek’s beautifully rendered cover portrays Erykah as a cold cyborg (perhaps her version of the robot girl from Midnight Marauders), Badu’s splendid Return of the Ankh is her warmest album in years. Right on, sister. Write on.

Source: SoulSummer

posted 25 March 2010 

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Erykah Badu broke onto the scene with her debut album, 1997's Baduizm, and was instantly hailed as a key figure in nu-soul. It was widely praised and hit No.2 on the Billboard 200, eventually selling over three million copies and winning two Grammy Awards. Her second album was a live album, the imaginatively titled Live (1997), which went double platinum. She collaborated with The Roots and took…

Videos:  Annie Dont Wear No Panties  /  On and on

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Generation Soul: Can Dru Hill Revive The Vocal Group?

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02_My_Story,_My_Song.mp3 (24503 KB)

(Kalamu reading "My Story, My Song"

Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 17 April 2012




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Related files: Why Chesiel Matters / Barry Michael Cooper  / Shaft: Isaac Hayes' Revolutionary Soundtrack Why Greg Tate Matters  / An Interview with Michael A Gonzales 

Such Sweet Thunder  / Boogie Down Inferno / Slow Down Heart / Soundtracks of Quincy Jones  / White Boy MusicReturn Of The Ankh by Erykah Badu