The late 90's and there is a new movement in R&B, Neo Soul. Hip Hop beats with a lyrical melody and a soulful delivery. One of the early leaders and a standout in the style was Erykah Badu and her first CD was Baduizm.
I remember seeing the video for the single On and On, on VH1 and it made me think wow Billie Holiday is singing with a Hip Hop beat. I called my buddy Spencer he watched a agreed with me. The video was very good and a great show case for Erykah.
The rest of the CD is very good and I can see the reasons why it was so critically and popularly received. The tracks are lyrically dense but very easy to listen to. The track Next Lifetime is a heartbreaking track about regretting on what can't be due to commitment to others. Afro is a freestyle track that is too funny and is a nice up note in the middle of the CD.
I have to admit in R&B and Hip Hop I am very picky. Generally I am not the biggest fan of the 90 popular era. I think like many different types of music when it gets too popular many artist that aren't really that good show up. Hard Rock, Rap, Disco and heaven knows the Boy and Girl groups have really sold out for the dollars and the record companies. So if I am going to listen to the style of music it has to either be the best example of that style or the artist should be doing something to reinvent or move the style ahead. Erykah Badu is certainly one the artist who fit into that category.
Neo Soul lasted for a while and Erykah Badu followed up this CD with a great live release and continued putting out great music. For anyone who wants to hear what Soul sounds like with a Hip Hop beat you should start with Baduizm.
Remember listen to the best your ears deserve it.