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Worldwide Underground

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iTunes Review

Worldwide Underground is one of Erykah Badu’s most thrilling avant-garde works. “Bump It” jumps off with turntable scratches as Badu scats, “Phat beats, Phat drums,” riffs over an electrifying jazz-funk groove, then ends it all with an extended display of vocalese. “Back in the Day” swirls with dreamy, ‘70s-inspired synth lines, while the 10-minute “I Want You” bounces around a hiccupping MP3 sampler. Throughout, she pays tribute to hip-hop’s influence, most notably on “Love of My Life Worldwide,” an energetic rap cipher between Badu, Queen Latifah, Angie Stone, and Bahamadia.


Born: February 26, 1971 in Dallas, TX

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

She grew up listening to '70s soul and '80s hip-hop, but Erykah Badu drew more comparisons to Billie Holiday upon her breakout in 1997, after the release of her first album, Baduizm. The grooves and production on the album are bass-heavy R&B, but Badu's languorous, occasionally tortured vocals and delicate phrasing immediately removed her from the legion of cookie-cutter female R&B singers. A singer/songwriter responsible for all but one of the songs on Baduizm, she found a number 12 hit with her...
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