Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape

In Billboard's May 11 issue, neo-soul pioneer Me'Shell NdegÉocello described her new album this way: "I wanted to show all the transitions, from Southern stride to gospel to blues to funk.

In Billboard's May 11 issue, neo-soul pioneer Me'Shell Ndegéocello described her new album this way: "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." Without mincing words, Ms. Ndegéocello knows how to create one wicked "mix tape." Throughout, Cookie crackles with intensity, be it of the sexual, political, or religious kind. Tracks like "Hot Night" and lead single "Pocketbook" are funky sensations. A smoldering track like "Trust" recalls "Do Me Baby"-era Prince, while "Earth" finds the singer/songwriter/bassist deliriously beside herself in Stevie Wonder territory. For those whose minds remain open (and curious), Cookie offers huge rewards.—MP