"There's no mistake in the color that it is. It's infused with black-born musicalities," Me'Shell Ndegeocello says of her new Maverick album, "Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape."

"There's no mistake in the color that it is. It's infused with black-born musicalities," Me'Shell Ndegeocello says of her new Maverick album, "Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape," before reeling off such artistic influences as Richie Havens, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman, and "the one I love, Prince."

"Cookie," due June 4, "is all my experiences," the artist continues. "I wanted to show all the transitions, from Southern stride to gospel to blues to funk. Musically, it comes from the African Diaspora. It's my improvisational rhythm and blues, my exploration of self, my anthropological mix tape."

Co-produced by the artist and her longtime guitarist Allen Cato, "Cookie" is, indeed, musically rich. "I tried producing myself this time around, but I just couldn't do it," acknowledges Ndegeocello, whose three previous Grammy Award-nominated albums (1993's "Plantation Lullabies," 1996's "Peace Beyond Passion," and 1999's "Bitter") were produced by David Gamson and Craig Street, among others.

Recorded in the heart of San Francisco's funky Tenderloin district ("The studio was in the booty of the Tenderloin. That neighborhood is the vibe of this record"), "Cookie" features numerous guests, including Talib Kweli, Caron Wheeler, Lalah Hathaway, Michael Hampton, and writer/activist Angela Davis. The set's first single, the Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott and Rockwilder remix of "Pocketbook," features Redman and Tweet.

Lyrically, "Cookie" is thoughtful, provocative, and sincere, with the singer/songwriter/bassist tackling a range of topics from love, lust, and sex to politics, consumerism, and religion. "These words are me," Ndegeocello says of such album tracks as "Trust," "God.Fear.Money," "Earth," "Hot Night," "Berryfarms," and "Pocketbook." "I only wrote what I felt about people and music I love. It's the world through my eyes; a chapter in my memoirs. Perhaps others will also feel what I'm feeling."





Excerpted from the May 11, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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