Artist: Erykah Badu Track: "The Healer" Album: New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War Listen

Madlib's stark, bass-heavy production and Erykah Badu's warm but weird personality combine for one of the best tracks of the year. This one has a bizarre, Eastern feel, with the low-end almost obscuring everything -- another sign that Madlib is eager to challenge even the most established recording techniques. Badu follows along just fine, though I'm not sure if I agree with her assertion, repeated several times, that "hip-hop is bigger than religion." I had heard she's been enlisting some big producers for her new album, and Madlib was a good choice. She talks about working with him in the video below.