Amid the glut of sound-alike sameness dominating hip-hop circles in the '90s came this thoroughly refreshing groove-fest from one of the genuine success stories of the year. With a phenomenal grassroots marketing campaign sparking staggering sales of her first single “On & On,” Dallas songstress Erykah Badu mixes sultry soul grooves with rhymes flowing freely from a dusky voice that recalls Billie Holiday. Other than an exceptional cover of Atlantic Starr's “Touch a 4 Leaf Clover,” Badu wrote all of this album, and tracks like “Rimshot,” “Appletree,” and the right man/wrong time tale “Next Lifetime,” reveal depth and sophistication.
— Kevin O'Hare
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