Erykah Badu Dedicates A Mix To Roy Hargrove & Shares A New Song That’s Money (Audio)
In the last week, a principal musician within the Soulquarians family passed away at 49 years old. Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, Jr. played on Common’s Like Water For Chocolate, D’Angelo’s Voodoo, and Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun. On the last of the three, the Waco, Texas native played on “Green Eyes” as well as “Booty.” Roy is also credited with arranging the three other horn players on the Grammy-nominated 2000 platinum Motown Records LP.
Three years later, Roy would play and lend his vocals to the Donald Byrd cover “Think Twice” on Erykah’s Worldwide Underground LP. Outside of his feature work, Roy had formed The RH Factor, a super-group including The Roots/Soulquarians’ James Poyser, sample source Bernard Wright, bassist Pino Palladino, and others. They released three albums between 2003 and 2006.
Over the weekend, Erykah Badu tweeted her collaborator’s name. However, as a guest on NTS, Hay, and Sonos’ The Sound Of Colour series two days later, Ms. Badu chose the theme of green. She used a two-hour mix recorded in Dallas, Texas to honor her friend and fellow Lone Star State native, and play some of their work together.
If you can make a mix cry, this is it. “DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown” has a selection of songs that make one feel a range of emotions. Early in the set, she plays “Green Eyes,” honoring the most recognized collaboration with Hargrove. The mix begins somber, thoughtful, and cathartic. Gil Scott Heron, Joni Mitchell, and Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes’ “Peaceful Ones” join “Green Eyes” in the first 25 minutes.
After a short break, Badu moves into Weldon Irvine’s “Morning Sunrise” and the Seals & Croft rendition of “Summer Breeze.” One can feel the warm sun on their face as Badu eventually moves to Al Green’s achingly good “Something.” The mood is dynamic.
Eventually, Badu returns to Dr. Lonnie Liston, playing the same “Garden Of Peace” that Ski Beatz sampled for JAY-Z’s “Dead Presidents” series. The mix moves into Digable Planets, Al Johnson & Jean Carn, and others.
Hip-Hop is mixed in many places, playing Earl Sweatshirt, Shabazz Palaces, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony with Eazy-E. Although the songs usually play through, Erykah does play bits and pieces, some instrumental loops, and keep the mix fresh. You can hear quick bites of Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, and more.
Shortly after playing her “Agitation” song, Erykah debuts new music at 1:05:00. It is with a male collaborator, but it is unclear who. “So right now, we’re gonna go into some really cool sh*t,” introduces the DJ. The song consists of organ keys, a Jazz-style vocal delivery, and a gripping harmony. “Money can’t buy me love, but it can keep me in some fresh sh*t / Money can’t buy me love, but it can sure get me the next sh*t / Money can’t buy me love, but travel the world and see some fly sh*t / Money can’t buy me love, money can’t buy me love,” sings Badu. Joined by the male vocalist after the first run, they do a rendition together. The song ends, and the DJ punches in Dave Chappelle’s “I’m rich, b*tch!” tag.
The moment, related to the concept of “green” fades fast as Badu switches over to some G-Unit-reigning era Young Buck counting his cash. Pink Floyd’s “Money” anthem from Dark Side Of The Moon is among the selections that follow, along with Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.,” Jay Electronica’s “Victory Is In My Clutches,” and “Friday Morning” by fellow Texas act Khruangbin.
In the closing section of the mix, Erykah plays Burning Spear, Oliver Lake, and Earth Wind & Fire in an Afrocentric-themed segment. Playing to an interlude at the top, Stevie Wonder’s “Superwoman” is a closing number for this astoundingly good, partly tribute mix.
As a note, this Mixcloud mix can only be streamed three times by US listeners.