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I’ve always felt a special magnetism toward Erykah Badu. She holds some sort of high-priestess sway over me.
Expounding in the metaphysical and the philosophical over honey-dripping hip-hop beats.
With a vivacious and seductive sass, her albums have kept me simultaneously grooving and inspired.
She’s a ghetto prophetess on the microphone and she's the Empress in your tarot deck.
With her relaxed and soulful voice she is addictive, sensual and powerful, all at once.
She has been an activist, a song-writer, a lyricist, an actress, a mother, a daughter, a lover, a record producer, a musician, and the face of Fashion Designer Tom Ford's White Patchouli fragrance.
Musically her work is an eclectic fusion of R&B, hip-hop, and jazz idioms. She is especially adept at dialects and the jargon and manner of speaking that is colloquial to those in the African-American diaspora.
Every culture has its own collection of wise sayings and she seems to know them all. When she sings she offers sage advice about how to live in difficult circumstances, especially where there is limited opportunity and resources.
Her lyrics consciously and subliminally transfer underlying ideas, principles and values to her audience in an effort to uplift her listeners.
She is a "spirit-worker" and indeed inspired to transform an audience's emotions so they can thrive, and not just survive their struggle.
Sharing these gifts she has become a cultural icon in the U.S. inner-cities, best known for her pivotal role in the rise of the "neo-soul" sub-genre of R&B Soul music.
"Other Side of the Game" is my favorite track of hers. It's a track where Badu sings to her boyfriend, who is involved in the street drug game. She drops a jewel in his ear on the recurring chorus; "what you gonna do when they come for you." -- They being the boys in blue. She is at once vulnerable and understanding of his plight, recognizing the limited options her man has living in the ghetto. -- "I understand the game", she croons.
Another favorite is "Next Lifetime" where Badu addresses sexual infidelity. "Now what am I supposed to do, when I want you in my world? How can I want you for myself, when I'm already someones girl?"
"Tyrone", "Danger", "Honey", and "Sugar Free" (a.k.a. "Back In The Day") should not be missed either.
Sexy, smooth, and supremely creative, her music is drenched in a powerful aura of feminine energy. All her work is a true work of art.