get funky to new janelle monae & erykah badu collab ‘q.u.e.e.n.’ – out now [stream +review]

April 23, 2013

Get funky! The new Janelle Monae single ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ featuring Erykah Badu that we told you about is out now. Stream/download it below to hear them sing (and rap!) their asses off while you wait for Janelle’s Monae’s new album ‘The Electric Lady’ + check out a spot on review from AFROPUNK contributor Justin Allen below. We leave you with these poetic lyrics by Ms. Badu: “The booty don’t lie”! – L. C-D

“Am I a freak for getting down?” Janelle Monáe sings in the chorus of her new single “Q.U.E.E.N.” from her forthcoming studio album, titled The Electric Lady. To accompany her, the smooth and poetic vocals of Erykah Badu.

Compositionally, “Q.U.E.E.N.” is a gumbo of genres. A funk-punched tune of liquid synth, deep sole and crisp jazz, the track infuses the attitude and cadence of rap with classic musicality sugar-coated with an energy of shameless defiance, bold self-expression and sharp social commentary. “Hey sister, am I good enough for your heaven?
 Say, will your God accept me in my black and white?” Monáe questions, before later asserting, “They keep us underground working hard for the greedy, but when it’s time to pay they turn around and call us needy.

At a time in which much music, sonically, is becoming more and more abrasive—the mainstream prevalence of dubstep and EDM—within a harsh socio-political context yet, lyrically, remains superficial, Monáe and Badu have presented a work that seeks to shake its listener awake with insightful content, impeccable composition and undeniable style. The song, too, renews the deep impact of braggadocio as an art form of performed confidence from the perspective of a marginalized voice rather than an act of excessive arrogance. “Walk in the room, they throwing shade left to right. They be like ooh, she’s serving face,” the singer begins, concluding the song with a question: “We rising up now, you gotta deal, you gotta cope.
 Will you be electric sheep?” she asks. “Electric ladies, will you sleep? 
Or will you preach?”