Erykah Badu’s Drake Cover Breaks New Ground & Returns Home At Once (Audio)

Preparing her alleged upcoming mixtape, Erykah Badu appears to be trying some new things. “Hotline Bling” covers Drake’s recent scorcher, but on Badu’s terms. From the mixtape reportedly called But U Cain’t Use My Phone, Erykah offers some “Buduism” in a song co-written with her son, Seven Benjamin (Andre 3000’s son, as well).

While the new single lives in the framework set forth by her onetime Universal Republic label-mate, Badu adds lyrics of her own—and a major interlude playing on customer service touchstone menus. For core fans a bit confused by the simplicity or the reliance on Drizzy’s hit for inspiration, think again. Beyond the heavy drops of originality (including some bells and other percussion), things really kick into gear after the halfway—as the sweet vocals take over, with lots of interplay with the beat.

In the 1960s, artists in the same (and other) genres used to take the same lyrics and composition to extract totally different tones. Is “Hotline Bling” a sparkling reminder of the lessening degrees of separation? After all, from Wu-Tang to Sade, Drake does this. Others do too.

Could an Erykah Badu mixtape bring some much needed excitement to the medium?

Related: The Game & Kendrick Lamar Put In Work Over a Flip of an Erykah Badu Classic (Audio)