Motown - 2000 - 72 minutes

When Erykah Badu first glided onto the scene in 1997, she was hailed as the thinking saviour of R 'n' B. Her book of life debut 'Baduism' became a bestseller and regulation issue soundtrack for coffee houses and coffee tables.

In the three years since that album, Badu has had to watch the competition multiply (Lauryn Hill, Macy Gray, Angie Stone, Kelis and Jill Scott have all made challenges to her title with varying degrees of success) but has released little to support her status. Now, a year after its scheduled release, she presents 'Mama's Gun', a languid riposte, lacking in both clarity and charm.

At 72 minutes, it is a sprawling collection (the type housed in triple vinyl gatefold in the 1970's), which alternates between overcooked and half baked. At her best Badu is still the delicious diva with the charts in her sounds ('Bag Lady') at her worst she repeats the same ideas in numerous songs. A dead end comeback.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Penitentary Philosophy - Didin't Cha Know - My Life - ...& On - Cleva - Hey Sugah - Booty - Kiss Me On My Neck (Hesi) - A.D. 2000 - Orange Moon - In Love With You - Bag Lady - Time's A Wastin - Green Eyes