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It has been almost three years since Janelle Monáe‘s heady studio debut album, The ArchAndroid, and fans have been eagerly awaiting her return.  After a couple of scant guest appearances since 2010, the tuxedo-wearing Kansas City native drops a funky new single, “Q.U.E.E.N.” featuring the vocals of alternative soul icon Erykah Badu.

Monáe unleashed the fresh jam via her website earlier this evening after hinting about the record a couple of weeks ago via Twitter.  The track is an ode to an artist’s right to remain an individual. And who knew that Monae had bars? She throws that sneaky left hook towards the song’s dramatic end.

A portion of Janelle Monáe’s rap verse:

Are we a lost generation of our people? /Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal/She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel/So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal? /They keep us underground working hard for the greedy/But when it’s time pay they turn around and call us needy/My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti/Gimme back my pyramid, I’m trying to free Kansas City

As expected, the ladies and their distinctive voices mesh well; the song creates a natural bridge between one of the premier artists of the neo-soul movement in Badu with the futuristic, throwback style of Monáe .

Janelle Monáe’s sophomore album, The Electric Lady, will see a fall release.

Check out “Q.U.E.E.N.” below. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Photo: Records