Tag Archives: Erykah Badu

Track Breakdown: Time Machine Edition-A.D. 2000 by Erykah Badu

Track Breakdown: Time Machine Edition-A.D. 2000 by Erykah Badu

by Dan-O

The public perception of Badu has always been that she is nuts. She dates important musicians and messes up their heads. I have to be honest…her discography is full of songs that make perfect sense to me. She’s weird but I’m weird and the public isn’t great at keeping a safe space for us. Her second album ,Mama’s Gun, was released November 21, 2000. It must have seemed like an especially odd album because that is the same month Creed was charting unironically.  The music on the charts was easy to figure out: Aguilera fit a mold perfectly, Britney Spears and N’Sync were branded within an inch of their lives. An audience looking for simple icons must have thought Badu certifiable. Only one other album in 2000 can be considered a partner to Mama’s Gun and that’s D’Angelo’s Voodoo. Both albums use a genre usually considered comforting in order to throw complex conversations at the listener.

I was definitely 20 years old and in the United States Army. We spent a lot of time going places and hiding from work that didn’t need to be done. I remember being in the Mojave desert in August under a Hummer (for shade) listening to Voodoo and Mama’s Gun. While stationed at Fort Hood I got a crash course in the levels of Southern Hip Hop (before it took over the world). My best friend was from SouthEast Atlanta and preached Dungeon Family, Kilo Ali, and Badu.

The world was so different once I picked up the language. Erykah Badu has forever after been my Neo-Soul Fiona Apple. While most major artists are hungrily announcing or pursuing accomplishments A.D. 2000 questions the nature of success. Not every Badu song is fancy poetry. Orange Moon (as an example) is just a pretty song about love. She always worked with the best musicians, the guitar-work on A.D. 2000 is light and precious and forms a groove that doesn’t resemble the hi-hat driven sound of Bag Lady or the horns dancing on Booty. Every song adds the ingredients differently. The music has to sound free in order for Badu to actually love it.

A.D. 2000 is a chant. She is really good at chants. “No you won’t be naming no buildings after me…to go down dilapidated. No you won’t be naming no buildings after me. My name won’t be misstated.” She says it over and over with very good reason. We all should. Don’t ever ever be under the impression that having a building wear your name is a huge benefit to your name. Your name should be more important than any building. You should make it that way. Paint with all the colors because you don’t have lots of time and the world is changing. Don’t ever let your name be misstated misapplied or mishandled. Guard it like Badu or Tom Waits does.

Mama’s Gun is not known as her classic. If anything, people think of it as her almost classic. Baduizm (her debut album) is supposed to be THE ONE but it never hit me as hard. We used to put A.D. 2000 on and freestyle while her voice rang in the background and the stereo set to repeat. No matter where she fits in the history of the music she has been my umbrella when the world rains down. She knows what’s important and uses her fears to focus on those things.

I remain thankful to live the rest of my life within the lessons contained in this songs chorus.

 

They call these things mixtapes but we have to pay for them?

They call these things mixtapes but we have to pay for them?

by Dan-O

Whenever people look at me and say the mixtape doesn’t exist anymore; no difference exists between albums and mixtapes…I have to look at them confused. What do you mean? I know it’s an album because I paid for the thing. This all changed a while ago and now Kendrick Lamar calls my favorite album he ever released a mixtape (Section 80) so I’m forced to roll with this (respecting the artists wishes). A lot of these non-mixtape mixtapes have dropped recently and I wanted to give a quick update on two important projects you need to check out. These are on ITunes and the second is on Amazon for digital purchase.

Erykah Badu-But U Caint Use My Phone

I have had my fair share of Badu-ruining-great-rappers conversations and while it is fun to believe in (like magic or the Electoral College) it is also entirely irrelevant. If Common puts out a bad album I’m not going to act like he was under someone’s spell (I wish I could for UMC) but more importantly Badu has an incredible career of her own. She creates deeply lyrical masterpieces like Mama’s Gun or chant heavy hooky albums like New Amerykah Part One and both kinds work for her. But U Caint Use My Phone is her doing it again, and while most will come for the stellar remake of Hotline Bling (called Cel U Lar Device) or the breathtaking collaboration with Andre 3000 (called Hello) this has a lot of top tier Badu. Phone Down might be my favorite song on the project because somehow without declaring itself vividly sexual the song overflows with it. She sounds assured and calm, so confident in who she is she doesn’t need to shout just give a gentle warning and she has your attention. She not only promises that she can make you put your phone down but have you so bamboozled in her you won’t know how to unlock it.

Yes it’s deeply intelligent in its handling of our communication in the modern age; the separation our constant cell phone use creates between lovers, friends and family but more important than that Erykah Badu is still dope in a year where Missy Elliott and Janet Jackson have proved the same.  So it may cost you money to pick this up but you will be supporting one of the really unique voices in the hip hop universe.

 

Alex Wiley-Village Party 2: Heaven’s Gate

I listened to Village Party everywhere. I don’t mind saying it. I spent all of last year listening to it but never reviewed it. The mixtape just seemed too impossibly atmospheric and different to properly describe. Alex Wiley destroys the wall between bars and hooks and just sways from word to word swimming in the beat. Listening to Alex Wiley is being delightfully inebriated and I’m clearly not the only one loving the experience. When Twista spits hot fire on Japanese he’s audibly taken with the vibe. It’s all vibe and it’s all different, how comforting must that be for an artist who suffered long in hip hop’s underappreciated tier because of how different his music was? Chance the Rapper doesn’t stick out at all on Navigator Truck, this is Wiley’s world and all the offbeat vocalists live here in harmony.

I am in no way saying that Wiley gets over on his chant/singing. If you listen to Play you will find yourself in observance of his slinky style reggae flow where he pounds words one after another until he slows down fading into the bass and the playing children just to emerge dropping bars feverishly. As much as I love to hear any gifted lyricist declare themselves by the force of their lyrics songs like Residual Effects (Shout out to Hippie Sabotage who do GREAT work on Village Party 2) are as hypnotic as those old Cypress Hill weed love songs.

Village Party 2 does what the first did, it takes me out of the world for as long as it’s playing and it probably does a better job than its predecessor. I’ll be honest; I had no qualms paying for this one.

 

 

 

Mixtape Review-Surf by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment

Mixtape Review-Surf by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment

by Dan-O

As massive and overwhelming as Surf felt on the first listen, the more I come back the bigger it feels. I find myself listening to songs I’ve heard lots of times and grunting in awe at how sharply and warmly resonant each moment is.

The narrative you’ve heard is correct. Chance the Rapper is a top talent in hip hop and he allowed himself to be an element of the music on Surf. He pops in not to drop lazy bars but with lines that blow you back, things you wish you’d written and could take credit for(like everything Chance says on Warm Enough). Chance gives the best of his work to a project not primarily his and it makes you like him a lot more. It’s the top actor who takes a smaller part to be in the best movie. After it’s over you’re left thanking the actor in your head for having the foresight to not pull a Denzel (sorry Denzel but you ball in isolation on some bad movies). Surf is great for Chance’s brand.  I cannot picture Drake or Kanye just sitting to the side bobbing their heads and waiting patiently for their song. For Chance it’s about the music being good first.

The narrative you haven’t heard is Donnie Trumpet didn’t come out of nowhere. Him and the drummer on Surf (Greg “Stix” Lanfair) were from the Chicago hip hop band Kids These Days and Kids These Days were awesome! Trumpet dominates Surf and as chaotic as Kids These Days could be the sonic temperament of Surf is bound to the loving blasts of the trumpet. It’s everywhere from Nothing Came To Me to Windows and Something Came to Me. The musical experience is a hard shot of cheerfulness that can only be given by the trumpet and everyone wants in. Big Sean raps next to Kyle, B.O.B. raps next to Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu comes out of nowhere and it ends up cohesive. Publications have written articles explaining all the guests and what order they come in. It’s dizzying, the amount of talent on display. Everyone’s voice, no matter who it is, comes out of that trumpet. Keep in mind that large portions of it are just local Chicago kids every bit as talented as the major players. If you didn’t know any of these dudes maybe you need to type “Traphouse Rock download” into your search engine and dig in.

From the outrageous party of Slip Slide to the your-grandmother-will-dance- to-this Sunday Candy the whole project feels like a generational flag planted in music. We are talking about J. Cole, Big Sean, Chance, B.O.B., Noname Gypsy, Janelle Monae, Raury all jumping on this project and giving their best to it. No generation of hip hop previous would have come together like this (sorry but Scott La Rock had to get killed for Self-Destruction to happen). It speaks well of rap music now that so many not only answered the call but were excited to be there, not picking away at other peoples time to get more or questioning who this Donnie Trumpet kid is…they all just created this massive work everyone fits into. I have no idea if Surf is the best thing to come out this year but it’s definitely the most important, the one we will be talking about years from now; the perfect summer music. The kind of mixtape you can press play on whenever you’re sad and end up with a smile.

Stream or download Surf below:

http://www.datpiff.com/Donnie-Trumpet-The-Social-Experiment-Surf-mixtape.712394.html