The artist resists another person’s attempts to “rearrange” and “control” her (“Certainly”), and remembers with affection her grandmother’s sound advice about life (“Appletree”). On “Drama,” Badu tells anxious listeners, “Lift up your hearts to God/Lift up your souls/Teach your children wisdom.” The hit single “On & On” denounces intellectuals who fail to acknowledge God. Unfortunately . . .
. . . This song also includes the f-word, an inappropriate use of God’s name and other profanities. “Otherside of the Game” finds a woman excusing her man’s dishonest business dealings because “it pays the bills.” On “4-Leaf Clover,” Badu embraces various superstitions (“Touch a four-leaf clover . . . hold onto your rabbit’s foot”). She subtly applauds the offensive rap group Wu-Tang Clan (“Afro”).
Smooth instrumentals and sweet, passionate vocals make it easy to like Badu’s sound. But any upbeat musings here are poisoned by coarse vocabulary and waffling morals. Best to avoid this inconsistent effort.