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Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Erykah Badu's album New Amerykah: Part One

Amanda Parris
Listen to Marvin's Room, Feb 23rd 2018

Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio


After dominating the R&B music scene in the late '90s and early '00s, Erykah Badu went into relative radio silence for five years. She was hit with a major case of writer's block and thought that maybe it was a sign she should retire from the music industry. But in actuality, it was just her brain requiring a break, time and space to gather and absorb experiences and discover new inspirations.

After a five-year absence, Badu returned to the music scene in 2008 with the album New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War). She collaborated with legendary producers Madlib, 9th Wonder, Karriem Riggins, James Poyser and Ahmir Thompson, a.k.a. Questlove, to create one of her most fearless albums. New Amerykah delves into soulful jazz and bumping hip-hop beats with lyrics that address an array of issues such as gun violence, mental health, Hurricane Katrina and tributes to her friend J Dilla, the late, great producer.

This week marks 10 years since the release of New Amerykah, so we’re going to revisit some of our favourite songs from Badu's bold political statement.


A collection of hood parables with hidden messages of resistance, "Soldier" is not only a documentation of social ills, it is also a call to action.

'Master Teacher'

Featuring the vocals of Georgia Anne Muldrow and Bilal, Badu's repetitive call for people to "stay woke" arrived long before it became the rallying cry of today's Black Lives Matter movement.


The lead single of the album included a brilliant music video, which was conceptualized as an homage to classic records and the local businesses that sell them.

Marvin's Room Playlist for Feb. 23, 2018

  1. Diana Ross, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
  2. Donna Summer, “Last Dance”
  3. Zaki Ibrahim, “Love Made Naked”
  4. Erykah Badu, “ Soldier”
  5. Big Black Lincoln, “Pimpin’ Life”
  6. TLC, “Diggin on You”
  7. H.E.R, “Lights On”
  8. Fugees, “Killing me Softly”
  9. Leila Dey feat. Redway, “Do You”
  10. Usher, “Burn”
  11. Jhyve, “Human”
  12. Ruben Young, “Bad Habits”