Rolling Stone - p.593 stars out of 5
-- "Badu kicks off the first disc by indulging her arty side: 4TH WORLD WAR is mostly dark, minor-key melodies, eerie chants and atmospheric electro beats..."
Rolling Stone - p.91Ranked #19
in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "AMERYKAH is a hip-hop update of Funkadelic's brain-melting sonic stews."
Spin - p.51Ranked #12
in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "Laptop R&B that uses hip-hop as its muse....Badu croons her own future in your ear."
Entertainment Weekly - p.58
"She is both earth mama and mystic, a Billie Holiday jazz-rasp queen with a tangy Southern drawl..." -- Grade: A-
Uncut - p.874 stars out of 5
-- "[S]he's far bolder, singing in a strange, little girl's voice over a solitary Chet Baker-style trumpet or chanting mantra-like over a bubbling African rhythm."
The Wire - p.70
"['Honey'] drips with the kind of sultry retro-funk that proves NEW AMERYKAH to have been well worth any amount of waiting."
Vibe - p.75
"[T]he album is challenging, fabulously out there....It's drenched in a '70s acid-rock aura/ afro-sheen vibe -- a spacious, heady brew of trippy guitars, keyboards, and steady beats."
Q (Magazine) - p.1413 stars out of 5
-- "NEW AMERYKAH blends classic soul with Sly Stone-freak funk and zonked-out hip hop."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1064 stars out of 5
-- "[H]er boldest and best yet, brilliantly eccentric but repaying every indulgence."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.72Ranked #16
in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[S]egueing through haunted hip hop, luscious soul and futurist funk..."
Erykah Badu's 1997 debut album BADUIZM presented a confident young R&B star in the manner of Toni Braxton or Mary J. Blige, and also connected her with underground hip-hop through her use of the Roots as her backing band on much of the record. Since then, Badu has kept to an erratic release schedule: NEW AMERYKAH PART ONE (4TH WORLD WAR) is only her third full-length release. (Badu refers to 2003's funk-oriented experiment WORLDWIDE UNDERGROUND as an EP, despite its nearly 50-minute length.) Similarly, her records have grown both more personal and more outward-focused.
NEW AMERYKAH PART ONE (4TH WORLD WAR) is even more experimental and musically diverse than WORLDWIDE UNDERGROUND, with Badu and her collaborators keeping the loose, jam-oriented, soul-jazz style of the EP and adding cutting-edge hip-hop beats. Lyrically, the album is as politically themed and downbeat as the title and subtitle suggest, with songs nodding to the Nation of Islam, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, drug abuse and the failures of government, with only the affirmative "The Healer," "Telephone" (a touching tribute to the late producer J Dilla), and the sweet-natured first single, "Honey," providing respites from the darkness.