Rap is often more of a series of insights into a person’s life or lifestyle, rather than meant to enable or edify. Oddly, it’s often the stories that someone shares from their life, and their perspective that often connects over a string of words that water down an experience, found in popular music styles. Lord Badu‘s 22 is more of a commentary of the experiences and struggles found within an independent adult navigating through life. The production is better than most mix tapes, the vocals are clear and the beats are rich and support the ideas and themes within each track.
While not all are specifically about the relationship between God and Badu, he does incorporate the Christian perspective through various scenarios. Badu expresses the sentiments of battling the flesh nature while living a life through salvation in “23rd Ave.” “Rejection” deals with the end of a dating relationship due to cheating. The spectrum of emotions reveals depth and a solidity, being fair to all aspects of what a person feels with the death of a relationship, but also brings a level of forgiveness and the comparison of what is expected in a Godly relationship. “Africana Woman” is a celebration and edification of the natural woman. This is a beautiful and excellent exhortation to the value of black women, which has been neglected and overlooked in American cultures. 22 exudes a certain amount of confidence and an amount of self worth that is contagious and settles into the corners of a soul.
Between the bravado, the confidence, the celebration of culture, there is a sincere faith that is referred, underlined, and at the core of everything that is put forth on 22. You can find this specifically on the tracks “Sola Gratia Pt. 2,” “The Encounter,” and “Visionz,” all really embody the depth of faith that Lord Badu embodies. Lord Badu has put out a product that is full of faith, full of life, and real.
Add that to the 14 tracks, and you have more than 22 reasons to get this album/mix tape.
Lord Badu resides in Brampton, ON, Canada