Erykah Badu psyched many when she launched the era of 2008’s New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) with “lead single” “Honey”, a flirtatious throwback-baked R&B gem that ultimately had little tie-in with the set’s highly-praised psychedelic freak-funk soundscapes and socio-political dialogue (no wonder it ended up being stripped onto the album as a “hidden track”).
The track would, however, make a perfect fit on the High Priestess of Headwraps second New Amerykah installment Return of The Ankh, a sort of yang to World War‘s yin that presents Badu making a return trip to the less experimental neo-soul sleekness of her breakthrough Baduizm days with a focus on more traditional matters-of-the-heart themes. Mid-album track “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long” stands out as one of the better displays of this more streamlined approach to songcrafting.
Based around a seducing sampled loop from Paul McCartney & Wing’s mostly forgotten 1979 dip into slinky blue-eyed-soul territory (their minor Back To The Egg hit, “Arrow Through Me”), “Baby” employs Erykah’s always welcome girlish coo to capture the role of a girl with such “a fiendish crush” for a hustling chap, she barely knows what to do with herself whenever he leaves her side to start his “workday” on the streets.
“I know you got to get your hustle on,” she casts him off (while simultaneously winking to her early-career tune “Other Side of The Game”, which featured the same exact line), but while she’s projecting understanding on the surface, internally she’s bubbling with anxiety for his quick return so they can take their relationship to the next level (“I can’t wait to see how you move/…So gone baby, gone baby, don’t be long”).
Stream the song below, followed by Erykah’s thought-provoking, Matt & Kim-inspired clip for the enchanting “Window Seat”, and a MP3 offerings of “Gone Baby”‘s sample source and a “Honey” live performance.
New Amerykah Part Two (Return of The Ankh) drops March 30th.
“Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long”:
BONUS DL: Paul McCartney & Wings “Arrow Through Me (‘Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long’ Sample Source)” (alt)