Erykah Badu's sneaky allure comes from the way she can tinge her own feminine mystique with hip-hop's gruff legacy. Her style is at once funky-slow-singing and funeral-flower-bringing, to paraphrase a Notorious B.I.G. verse she also lifts for her upcoming album, Return of the Ankh, the sequel to 2008's New Amerykah: 4th World War. Badu dropped out of the spotlight with 2003's Worldwide Underground, on which the challenging lyricist of Mama's Gun turned quiet and stonery. Now the Dallas b-girl is back to juice her new release, scheduled for the end of March. If leaked tracks "Jump into the Air" (unofficial) and "Window Seat" are any guide, expect her journey to continue far into the spacey wilderness overhead — this time with more instrumentals.
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