I can’t remember the last time I was as excited for an album to come out as I am about Erykah Badu‘s New Amerykah, due in late February, but I suspect it was sometime in the 90s. I’m actually so pumped it’s making me kind of anxious–I’m afraid this record’s going to burn me like Alien: Resurrection, which I was convinced would be the best movie ever made but turned out to be, well, not. Winona Ryder as a robo-babe seemed like such a foolproof concept.
Everything from New Amerykah that’s made it to the Web, however, has been completely excellent. First there was the Madlib-helmed “The Healer,” which is just the latest argument for recognizing J Dilla tributes as their own subgenre, one that will eventually either redeem hip-hop or secede from it entirely and go live on a wilderness compound in the Pacific Northwest. And now there’s “Honey,” which flips the dark narco-drone of “The Healer” to do a little glowy, synth-spiked late-70s soul-funk. The video is a special shout-out to crate diggers, but the song itself is one of those rare universal jams, the kind of tune whose appeal can reach across any demographic demarcation.
I can’t even tell which part I like best. The double-whammy Ohio Players/Okayplayer pun? The shout-out to the Japanese import of Minnie Riperton’s Perfect Angel? Or maybe the several-layers-deep incredibleness of the “Hey Ya” video parody that comes from out of nowhere? I figure making hilarious and un-mean jokes about your ex-boyfriend’s mega-smash puts you officially on the next level.