The Roots, D’Angelo & Erykah Badu Are Hypnotizing On This Throwback Remix (Audio)

In 1996, The Roots dropped Illadelph Halflife, and with it came the D’Angelo collaboration, “The Hypnotic.” As its title suggests, it was indeed a hypnotizing record, not only musically but also lyrically. In the song, Black Thought spun a tale of love and loss starring a woman named Alana, who would eventually disappear from his life. By the time he was able to find out what had ever happened to her, she had died, “a victim of the wicked system that controlled her.” With its Neo-Soul inflections, it arrived more than two years before the band’s masterpiece with Erykah Badu, “You Got Me.”

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As part of the Soulquarians crew, D’Angelo and Erykah Badu teamed up frequently with fellow members (and Roots Crew representatives) ?uestlove and James Poyser on an individual basis, but both singers appeared, together, on a remix to “The Hypnotic” tucked away on the 1997 soundtrack for the movie Men In Black.

Featuring entirely new verses from Tariq, “The ‘Notic” also includes D’Angelo’s version of Earth, Wind & Fire’s hook on “Shining Star.” Though Ms. Badu does not have a passage to herself on the record, her soulful voice can clearly be heard harmonizing with her “Your Precious Love” collaborator.

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A full-fledged Soulquarians LP never materialized, but songs like “The ‘Notic” remain potent reminders of the magic that happens when superbly talented musicians from different walks of life are able to create the kind of chemistry that stands the test of time.