Picks and Pans Review: Mama's Gun
Erykah Badu (Motown)
Album of the week
With her mature vulnerability and heartbeat phrasing, Badu has won enviable comparisons to Billie Holiday. But here she sings in a languid, honeyed style that sounds less like Lady Day and more like another jazz-influenced R&B crooner, Sade. While this is only her second studio album and her first in three years (her Grammy-winning triple-platinum debut, Baduizm, and her follow-up album, Live!, were both released in 1997), Badu, 29, has been busy launching an acting career (The Cider House Rules) and a family: She and ex-boyfriend “Dre” Benjamin of the hip-hop group OutKast have a 2-year-old son, Seven. Badu, who cowrote all 14 of these songs and duets with Stephen Marley on the reggae-flavored “In Love with You,” proves she hasn’t lost her flair for poetic, dreamy soul.
Bottom Line: This pop Gun hits the bull’s-eye