Erykah Badu Shows Why She’s One Of The Best Performers Alive & A True Legend
Twenty-one years after her debut album, Erykah Badu is actively adding to one of music’s most revered catalogs. The Dallas, Texas native Badu sings, she DJs, and she carries her passion for performing with her everywhere. Last month, Erykah received the Soul Train Music Awards “Legend” recognition.
Badu was presented the trophy by SZA. Badu’s speech thanked her mom and recognized the passing of fellow Soulquarians member, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, Jr.
In a performance that followed, Ms. Badu shows that her connections to some of her most beloved songs is a living, breathing thing. She makes them feel new, alive, and as if anything can happen when she brings them out. Erykah opens with “Green Eyes.” Her full-brimmed hat covers her eyes with arms at her sides under a poncho-like shawl. A green silhouette of the trumpeter appears over Erykah’s shoulder, a nod to her late song collaborator (who arranged the number’s brass section). While maintaining the whimsical quality that Badu achieves (and so few others can), the performance is one of grace and vocal finesse.
At 3:00, Erykah moves into “I Want You” with a spirited stage rendition. The lights then turn blue. Erykah performs “Tyrone,” bringing many women in the audience to their feet at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Orleans Arena. Using this energy to her advantage, the Motown songstress involves the crowd. Staying in that soulful chamber, she moves to “Other Side Of The Game.” The performance arguably sounds better than it did 21 years ago on wax. She breaks the performance down and out to the point it feels like multiple songs. Badu’s background singers deserve praise as well. Badu closes out the medley with an equally captivating rendition of “On & On” the evokes cheers midway through the performance. As the 20-minute mini-concert winds out, Badu takes a few whimsical spins and exits the stage like a true living legend of music.
In 2018, Erykah worked with Thutmose on the song “Pressure.” She has hosted the previous three ceremonies. Twenty years ago, Badu co-hosted with Patti Labelle and the late Heavy D.