There is an urban legend that suggests that Erykah Badu has the power to mesmerize anyone who stares into her eyes for too long. Allegedly, it’s the same power that caused André 3000 and Common to switch up their respective styles after dating Badu.
Although there isn’t much substantial evidence to support this urban legend, there is proof that she has the ability mesmerize an audience with her performance.
Badu served as the headlining act for the 2015 Funk Fest at Wolf Creek Amphitheatre in Atlanta. Shortly after 10:30 p.m., Badu took the stage, her natural hair was free-flowing, a reflective visor covered her eyes, and a lit incense hung from her lips. The capacity crowd at Funk Fest was witnessing Baduizm at its finest and were captivated before she ever mumbled a word.
Badu and her band hit the stage and opened with the self-assuring “20 Feet Tall” before going into the heartbreak melody “Out My Mind, Just in Time.” She picked up the pace by performing her breakout hit, “On and On” and placed an emphasis on the lyric, “What good do your words do if they don’t understand you, don’t go talkin’ that s— Badu, Badu.” But on this night, everyone in attendance understood Badu and were willing to follow her on the journey.
She took a moment to create a makeshift beat on her MPC before singing her ode to hip-hop, “Love of My Life.” However, the fan favorite was clearly a Caribbean rendition of “Tyrone.” Female audience members especially got a kick out of singing the lyric, “You need to call Tyrone. Hold on, but you can’t use my phone.”
For the majority of her one and a half hour set, Badu kept the crowd engaged with her stories of love, spirituality and personal growth. She superbly represents the essence of hip-hop and soul for a generation that could use more powerful female voices. And that’s why it’s easy to be enthralled with Ms. Badu.
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