Erykah Badu. New Amerykah (Return of the Ankh). New York 2008. Universal Motown
Influenced by R&B, 1970s soul, and 1980s hip hop, Badu became associated with the neo soul subgenre in the 1990s along with artists like D’Angelo. Her work has often been compared to jazz great Billie Holiday. Early in her career, Badu was recognizable for her eccentric style, which often included wearing very large and colorful headwraps.
The album’s music is a dense, stylistic amalgam that primarily incorporates funk, soul, and hip hop genres, as well as jazz and electronica.The New Yorker called it “a politically charged neo-soul suite with cutting-edge production”, while Nelson George described the record as “a complicated mesh of soul, electro sounds and references, simple and obscure … a musically challenging album that owes much to Radiohead and Curtis Mayfield.
Allmusic: New Amerykah, Pt. 1 is an album that sounds special from the first play, yet it will probably take years before it is known just how special it is.
Greg Kot wrote that, ” Badu has made a record that defies efforts to categorize it.” He remarked that its “murkier, funkier vibe” draws on the “hypnotic funk” of early 1970s albums such as Miles Davis’s On the Corner (1972), Herbie Hancock’s Sextant (1973), and Sly & the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On 1971.