Don’t give Erykah too much credit for winning this category. After all, she had to beat only a hard-bodied gimmick (Ciara), urban pop music’s longest-running joke (Akon), an empty-skulled platinum portal (Beyoncé), and a widely loathed megalomaniac whose debut R&B adventure was horrendous at best (Kanye West). Raphael Saadiq was a worthy opponent, but he doesn’t have the same degree of name recognition. And though the media have been hesitant to criticize even Badu’s strangest, least accessible efforts, you can’t deny that her most recent release, New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War (Motown), was righteously in tune with her past gloriously belted, forward-minded soul spreads. Same goes for her most recent Boston concert, with the Roots at the Orpheum in May 2008.