Back in stock. Subtitled 4th World War, New Amerykah Part One is the first release in five years from the woman born Erica Wright. The wait was worthwhile though, as this smart, eclectic set, her fourth, adds to the grand tradition of socially conscious soul music. Literally so in the case of opener Amerykahn Promise, spun by Badu straight over an obscure seventies funk track by Roy Ayers's protégés Ramp. The Healer is effectively a tribute to the power of hip hop to ground otherwise lost lives, while the deeply felt Telephone commemorates her friend, the late producer J Dilla (and was in fact written the day after his funeral). The Healer and That Hump deal with the damage caused by drug dependency and Soldier is a hard-hitting analysis of the state of Black America. None of which would count for much if the music didn't connect. Though Badu's quirks remain intact - the vocal / saxophone duet at the conclusion of the otherwise ice-cool Me (what else) is easily resisted - a terrific team of collaborators including idiosyncratic producers Madlib, 9th Wonder and the three man unit Sa-Ra keep New Amerykah Part One endlessly imaginative, tough, twisted beats sitting alongside softer jazz-funk grooves. The US public certainly assented, sending New Amerykah towards the top of the album charts.