Look beyond the obvious popularity of Eminem, Kid Rock and their entourages and you’ll find subtle yet more meaningful evidence that Detroit has become a big-time player in the hip-hop world. Bahamadia, with her comeback EP, BB Queen, isn’t the only highly respected veteran ditching the hometown and original crew in favor of the D this past year.
Similar to Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, the majority of BB Queen was recorded and produced here and bears the unmistakable touch of the Motor City artists who collaborated on it. Since her 1996 debut, Bahamadia has evolved from the predictable New York sounds of Gang Starr and the Beatminerz to create a magnificently diverse album. From the opener, “Special Forces,” a posse cut sure to hit the college mix-show circuit, to “Pep Talk,” an excursion into drum ’n’ bass which closes the EP, her distinctive soft-spoken flow fits into every context.
“Commonwealth,” an ode to the everyday woman who shops at TJ Maxx, and the soulful “Beautiful Things” (produced by rising talent Dwele), a social commentary on the world’s depressing problems, show Bahamadia’s introspective side. On the other hand, “One-4-Teen,” featuring labelmates Slum Village, is made for the clubs with a bass kick that begs the volume to be turned up.
In fact, the only real problem with BB Queen is its brevity. Containing only five full songs with two interludes, it’s a frustrating listening experience that will leave fans asking for the rest of the album. BB Queen is not enough of a good thing, and here’s hoping that it won’t be another four years before Bahamadia’s next release.
Luke Forrest writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.