Erykah Badu – Worldwide Underground

R&B's hippie queen trances out

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Though it features 12 tracks and lasts an hour, Badu’s latest comes billed as an EP, presumably by a label unwilling to market this as a priority release. Her honeyed brand of soul has always focused more on grooves than tunes, and here she does away with the latter almost entirely. “Bump It” and “I Want You” are horizontal synth-funk jams, with an enchantingly drowsy Badu scatting over the top. Even the presence of militant rappers Dead Prez on “The Grind” can’t upset the languorous atmosphere. Frequently intoxicating.

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