A true soul-funk diva with a hiphop edge, Erykah Badu would probably be a star even if she weren't a songwriter and producer, though that influence is practically palpable on Mama's Gun. You get the sense that no track was called a wrap until Badu had exhausted every possible angle in her quest to achieve maximum smooth.
Touching on everything from homelessness to her paramours, Badu alternately slinks and storms through songs, pausing for a meditative ballad only to fire up for a funky duet with Stephen Marley. Even at its most lovers-rockish, the disc is fiercely percussive. The rise continues.