Erykah Badu Reminds That Live Music Is Supposed To Sound BETTER Than The Record (Video)

Erykah Badu is the latest guest at the Tiny Desk. With some gold-accented fronts in, the veteran singer brought her grace, style, and showmanship right along with her singing gifts to the Washington, D.C. bureau. The Dallas, Texas native also brought her incredible band. The ensemble includes a flutist (Dwayne Kerr) and an upright bass player (Braylon Lacy).

Like most concerts, the Tiny Desk (a product of NPR’s All Songs Considered) is a place for artists to play songs old, but usually, promote a few new ones too. From 2015’s But You Caint Use My Phone to a handful of a la carte songs and collaborations, Ms. Badu has been busy in recent years. However, she makes the moment unique by returning to her first two albums. There, she avoids the hits and the singles. Instead, “Fat Belly Bella” (as she introduces herself at the top of the set) rocks out to two fan-favorite Neo-Soul album cuts.

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She begins with a rendition of Baduizm‘s “Rimshot.” Twenty-one years old, and the song that book-ended her game-changing debut (which one “Best R&B Album” at the Grammy’s) still sounds fierce. Then, Badu quickly moves into another album closer. Erykah and her band play “Green Eyes,” the 10-minute finale jam to 2000’s Mama’s Gun. Just as she did on the LP, Badu shows some different sides of her range and style in playing this cut 18 years later.

The original version of “Green Eyes” features onetime Roots member and Soulquarians O.G., James Poyser.

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Badu’s band includes frequent Big K.R.I.T. (“Might Not Be OK”) collaborator Kenneth Whalum on saxophone. Her longtime musical director RC Williams is on keys.