Erykah Badu Worldwide Underground (Motown) Erykah Badu's third album is a collection of songs firmly rooted in soul with smatterings of 1970s disco and plenty of nods to 'old skool' hip-hop. 'I wasn't thinking singles, I just wanted to groove,' said Badu in a recent interview about Worldwide Underground's release. And she wasn't joking. Sunny grooves litter this CD, some with unexpected interludes, weird intros or disintegrated endings that would have to be reworked to be suitable for single airplay. This is a stark contrast to her heralded 1997 debut Baduizm, which burst with radio-friendly material, and Mama's Gun, her angsty second outing. A mellow intro and outro bracket a showcase of mostly uptempo tracks. Things don't get much funkier than Danger and the horn-infused smooth Think Twice into which it is mixed seamlessly, which like many tracks include some male backing vocals and rap insertions. But the best-known guests are female, with two appearing on the superbly produced disco-rap crossover Love Of My Love Worldwide: Queen Latifah and Angie Stone add no-nonsense, smooth-edged rap and soulful vocal range respectively. Freakquency, Badu's production team, take credit for the relaxed but polished sound overall, which includes subtle snippets of unusual drum sound, scratching and human beatbox and special effects that just about register to the listener without being flash. The album seems a bit short at just eight tracks plus a hidden one, but the feel-good funk in this collection is perhaps best not padded out.