Erykah Badu "The Healer/Hip Hop"

Erykah Badu "The Healer/Hip Hop"
From now until January 13, I'll be featuring my favourite tracks of 2008, some of which have already appeared in Click Hear throughout the year, some of which haven't.

There were many comebacks in 2008, but for some reason more outlets wanted to focus on Britney Spears than, say, Erykah Badu. Maybe it's because ever since 1997's Baduizm everyone knows that she's been capable of greatness, but a long stretch (five years) since the unimpressive Worldwide Underground had some people worried she had lost her way.

But Badu came returned to 2000's Mama's Gun form and delivered what could be argued as her best album, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) - at least that's how I hear it. With a forward-thinking crew comprised of Sun-Ra, Madlib, 9th Wonder, ?uestlove and Georgia Anne Muldrow on board as co-producers, Badu ignored all the rules and delivered her most challenging effort yet, a multi-layered kaleidoscope of off-balance retro-futurism jacked up on all sorts of psych-funk jams, avant-hop beats and lyrics that reflect her current state, one centred on simply living her life, hassle-free.

"The Healer/Hip Hop" was an indisputable standout. While it may initially sound a bit lethargic and downbeat, Badu's lyrical weight uppercuts the production, which sounds like it crept out of Roots Manuva's closet. Recalling the vibe of Dead Prez's classic "Hip Hop" joint, Erykah spits an optimistic message with her creaky, sedated drawl, telling us that hip-hop is "bigger than religion... bigger than my niggas... bigger than the government," that "This one is the healer, hip-hop." It's may be subtle but it's also one of the choruses that I never forgot throughout the year.

Also, she got Pharoahe Monch on the remix, which packs that extra bit of bite some people might have been looking for.

Erykah Badu "The Healer/Hip Hop"

Erykah Badu feat. Pharoahe Monch "The Healer/Hip Hop (Remix)"