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Music / Erykah Badu

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Her cypher keeps moving like a rollin' stone.

"Art is the absence of fear."

Erykah Badu (born Erica Abi Wright, February 26, 1971) is an American musician from Dallas, Texas. She is best known for helping in the rise of Neo Soul.

Her rise to fame came with her first album, Baduizm, which was released in 1997. The first single, "On & On", was a huge hit, and the album received positive reviews from critics, debuted at number two on the Billboard charts, and won many awards. She also recorded her first live album, simply titled Live, around this time. During this time, she also became notable for her fancy African headwraps, which came in many colors.

In 2000, she recorded her second album Mama's Gun, which, according to critics, "had a more organic sound than her last record". It spawned the hit "Bag Lady", which remix topped many charts. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award. Her next album, Worldwide Underground, came out in 2003, and while not getting as great criticism as Mama's Gun and Baduizm did, it nonetheless got good reviews. It, according to Erykah herself, was designed to be "one continuous groove".

In the 2000s, she also started a series of albums called New Amerykah, and the first of which came out in 2008. The album was recorded mainly on a laptop. The second album in this series, titled New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh), came out in 2010.

In 2010, she caused some controversy with the video for her song "Window Seat", in which she gradually stripped herself nude while walking through a Dallas neighborhood in full public view. The video was inspired by a group called Matt and Kim's music video for their song "Lessons Learned".

Badu is also notable for being barred from entry into Malaysia by the immigration and customs in 2012 on the grounds of putting on a temporary tattoo of the Arabic glyph for "Allah" in one of her earlier shows in some other countries, due to the Information Minister of the time listening to the demands of the extremist conservatives. Needless to say, her Malaysian fans weren't happy with the government's move.

Her music incorporates elements of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Jazz. Her later albums also incorporate elements of Electronica and Funk. Lyrically, she is known to be very deep, as opposed to most R&B music. She's also known to explore her African heritage a lot, as if her headwraps, clothing, and constant afros give any indication.


  • Baduizm (1997)
  • Live (1997) (live album)
  • Mama's Gun (2000)
  • Worldwide Underground (2003)
  • New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) (2008)
  • New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (2010)
  • Feel Better World! ...Love, Ms. Badu (2015) (mixtape)
  • But You Caint Use My Phone (2015) (mixtape)

Her music contains examples of: