Ursula Rucker is in love with Prince. “If I would go through a hard time,” she says in her bio, “I would listen to something otherwordly godlike so sexy and so fine. It was all I needed.”
With her latest release Ma’at Mama, she gives those of us who jones for some of that Love Jones poetry, just what we need. With a little touch of Prince’s influence, as provided by producer Anthony Tidd, who uses traditional African percussion, guitar, and synthesizers to back up the goddess’ shameless thoughts.
Ursula, from Philly, might best be known for her stints on three of The Roots albums. Yeah, she was that sista with the scathing commentary that closed out the proceedings with her mezzo-soprano wordplay. Her lyrical prose and strong voice opened up the minds, hearts and loins of many a listener across the globe. Since then she’s released two previous albums (2001’s Supa Sista and 2003’s Silver and Lead) where she worked with producers like 4Hero, King Britt, Louie Vega, and Jazzanova.
Here, the goddess continues to share her truth, in all its unabashed beauty; piercing thoughts that probe the depths of “Black Erotica,” a sexy rant that is sure to please the libido; stylish linguistics that offer up the goodness of spirituality in “Spiri-chant;” thoughtful strokes offered to the children (“Children’s Poem”), where her stark, emotional words and melodies paint a touching, sorrowful ode to our younger generation.
In other words, there is no place this wonderful woman’s lyrical cadence does not transcend, uplifting the soul through verse. Rucker has never been afraid to take it to the heart. She can easily ride exotica (“Poon Tang Clan”) as more involved fair (“L.O.V.E.”). She speaks for her fellow sista’s (“For Women”), as well as for all god’s children. The woman is just as effective acappella as over the lush backgrounds laid out by Tidd.
If some serious soul searching is what you’ve been missing in your musical library, the goddess is back to fill the void. Listen closely.