Her gospel edged chords are riddled with a prime soul vibe; her charisma is unfailing. I’m talking about Erykah Badu—my crowned Queen of Soul—who kindles a masterly flair in her art, and lends this fire to the artists with which she shares a mic.
I found artistry in her music when my fairytale relationship introduced me to “Out My Mind, Just In Time,” a true love song. “I’d pray for you, crochet for you” leaked from speakers, Badu’s achy vocals swayed along with a piano and a solemn violin. Swelling in my eyes were pools of muddled tears. They frisked down my cheek as the drums kicked in at about 2:49. I had only known Erykah Badu as the woman that sings “Tyrone,” a song with which I never connected.
She begins to wail after a firm, “fu%k this sh!t.” Does she know me? Does she know the relationship I’m in? In ten swift minutes, I decide she is an artist suited for me.
Badu creates incredibly original music that is undeniably homegrown. Unlike many of her Neo-Soul counterparts, her voice is distinct, eerie, a bit aloof, and yet you understand it’s her when you hear that church pew “whoa-oh-oh” in a tracks’ distant coda. Aside from the unique strength of her voice, it’s her musical composition that is always necessary to defining her peculiar sound.
Badu alone is a powerhouse – a magnetic field of cosmic emotion. However, she is another realm of beautiful as a featured artist. Her collaborative input is mystifying. Any track deemed worthy enough for her cloudy clear voice is latterly sculpted as a seamless record. So here’s a list of the five times Erykah Badu’s ghastly featured chords blew my mind.
Maiysha (So Long) Robert Glasper
Q.U.E.E.N. Janelle Monae
Liberation Outkast, Cee-Lo Green
Treehome95 Tyler the Creator
See Thru to U Flying Lotus