Monday, July 6, 2009

Erykah Badu: Queen of Soul

I used to listen begrudgingly to Erykah Badu as a child as my parents would constantly play her music in the house and on car trips. It would suffice to say, that I grew up listening to Badu's ballads, but I never truly understood the astounding rhythm and lyrics her songs held until I revisited her music recently.

She is/was the epitome of soul. Her voice is like no other and it adds a uniqueness to her music, evidenced in the song above. Her song weaves her personal philosophies on life into a rich, multi-influenced rhythm. The lyrics aren't superficial, like some artists I hear these days. They dig deeper into questions of human existence. My favorite line in this song is: "A man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all." So true.

It seems that Ms. Badu, also takes great interest in choreographing her music videos. The cinematography here is great and I love the setting that she chose for this song. It harkens back to the roots of the southern soul movement that combined R&B with gospel music to create a new style. 

I also appreciate her nods to Africa in many of her clothing choices. She is known for wrapping her head in colorful headwraps and wearing African jewelry and clothing. As someone who would like to see Africa represented more in mainstream America, she does me a great service by mixing her American singing style and notoriety with African influences. No wonder she proudly holds the crown as the "Queen of Soul."

The Queen at work:


  1. wow. so first thank you for introducing me to her. she is lovely and so is her musics. I completley agree with your observation that she digs deeper with her songs. they arent superficial and stupid like "if you seek amy" by britney spears. all though those sorts of song are good for a month or two of drinking and dancing they dont go beyond that. although i just started listening to ms. badu literally today she has a style to her singing that makes you listen to her lyrics and feel her words. love her pictures theyre so beautiful. I love that you talk about how she brings africa into modern america even though i am not a descendant of africa i have strong spiritual ties to the great place and love that she represents it with her style.


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