Music Reviews

Meshell Ndegeocello

Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape


You sell your soul like you sell a piece of ass.

As uncompromising as ever, Meshell has crossed the threshold to greatness with head held high and her bass thumping funk nastiness. Eight years and three albums after her phenomenal Plantation Lullabies, the woman simply cannot be stopped. She is the radical voice and superb musician that R&B has been screaming for since the demise of funk over 20 years ago. Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape is a clarion call, a merciless scalpel dissecting today’s music, its culture, and the culture as a whole. It’s a Tyson uppercut to the genitals that leave you blissfully gasping for air – with not a single blush found on the artist’s face.

Her hip-hop salsa jam, “Hot Night,” with Talib Kweli, unabashedly samples Angela Davis and Hector Lavoe while screaming for revolution. The sweet ballad, “Priorities 1-6” lists those priorities as: “gaudy jewelry; sneakers made for $1.08 but bought for $150; wasted weed, wasted high; the belief we are legendary underworld figures being chased; sex like in the movies; and a mate to pay bills, bills, and automobills.”

But Cookie isn’t a dry Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn lecture. This woman is funk personified. “Pocketbook” has got to be the deepest groove written in decades. Every time you hear it you get slapped with the stank-face. The same goes for the erotic grind of “Barry Farms,” the retro-jazzy Maceo funk of “God.Fear.Money,” and the molasses throb of “Criterion.” And “Dead Nigga Blvd.” is a complex challenge so burdened with the bass I don’t know whose music is funky enough to lift this gauntlet. She has also enlisted the help of legendary Caron Wheeler for moving ballads like “Trust” and “Earth” (also with Lalah Hathaway). Between her and Pete Rock, Wheeler will be returning to the industry soon enough.

Cookie is an achievement seldom before reached in R&B. Ndegeocello weaves a spectacular, intricate web of fantastic music and emotion. She rakes across the psyche’s landscape to unearth love, pain, vulnerability, and revolution. This album is challenging on all levels, an inspiration to the creative spirit, and a treasure to be shared by all those who can truly appreciate music.

Meshell Ndegeocello:

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