Erykah Badu is one consistently funky black diva, but she rarely sizzles stronger than
with Southern Girl. The steam must be rising down South, for her
phrases ooze a heat rarely heard since Peggy Lee worked up a Fever. Similarly this track
is all the hotter for a minimalist approach. But while Peggy’s finger snaps merely
provided timber for her flame, here we have Razhel’s a capella razzle dazzle to turn
up the temperature.
A million MIDI leads, and a million bass and percussion samples, in a million studios
around the world and none comes close to this one man rhythm machine. With a beat-box
technique steeped in the inspiration of Bobby McFerrin and Al Jarreau he creates deep,
organic bass lines and a tapestry of percussion with no more than his mouth, body and a
bucket load of talent. Mind you I’d hate to wipe the splutter from the mic once his
finished with it.
Beyond this cooker from Badu and Razhel, the CD is filled with homogenous hip-hop; very
smooth, very urban, not very original. Offerings from 702 and Majic do have more artful
programming in their frenetic, varying beats than most of the genre, and a little
diversity is offered by the eighties soul of Zapp & Roger’s I Want To Be Your Man
and Bell Biv DeVoe’s new jack swing-styled Poison.
There’s also an unfortunate attack of Shak (O’ Neal) who raps about as well
as I slam dunk; and a little too much r&b filler.
Personally, I’d buy this just for the Badu track. Or come to think of it I
wouldn’t. I’d buy one of her albums instead. But having said that, this is an
above average compilation of urban, hip-hop with the odd very soulful moment, even aside
from Badu’s, and including the concluding Ode To Pootie which
features some impressive vocals from the trio of Tara Jeffers, Quana Drew and Lorria
Overall, not precisely my cup of tang, but I did find enough cool beats to make me
wanna shake my pootie.