I received a text from a friend Friday demanding that I get to NY immediately because Erykah Badu, aka Lo Down Loretta Brown, was having a listening party somewhere in Brooklyn and said friend needed to meet the songstress. Being the supportive friend I am, I hopped on the first thing smoking to NY to figure out how we could bask in the ambiance that is Auntie Badu.
There is never a dull moment in Fatbellybella’s twitterverse, so it was fitting that miss Badu announced that she would be curating her listening party via social media last week with guest DJs Q-Tip and DJ Soul in Brooklyn.
As expected, the line was wrapped around the block as fans awaited entry into the Queen’s personal honeycomb hideout. Filing into Williamsburg’s beautifully constructed Kinfolk 94, fans from all over were lured into the space with a few things in common: the Queen Bee, Miss Erykah Badu, and real hip-hop music.
DJ Soul warmed up the booth and an hour later the woman of the night arrived wearing her famous black top hat, a replica honeycomb bracelet, and camel-brown trench coat. Starting the night off with the opening track “Caint Use My Phone (Suite),” Badu smudged the DJ booth with sage, and smoke filled the air as the disco ball illuminated the room and faces of those who immediately chimed in singing along as she peeled her coat off, flashed a smile, and set up shop for the night. Badu played tracks from the “But You Caint Use My Phone” mixtape, which features “Cel U Lar Device” (Hotline Bling Remix), singing along with her fans and sipping her cranberry juice throughout the night and even throwing a small screwed mix in.
Later, hip-hop legend Q-Tip, as well as the talented Blue Note aArtist Robert Glasper, arrived to support Badu. Q-Tip and Badu vibed back and forth and even gave fans an impromptu old-school duet to hip-hop classics like Biggie and DMX. As if the night needed more authenticity, a drummer joined in Q-Tip’s set by the DJ booth. Between the disco lights, and the energy oozing from the DJ booth, the night was nothing short of priceless. By the end of the night, the only thing missing was my pair of roller skates. Before we all knew it, the security guard was tapping someone in Badu’s camp to remind them the funkadelic celebration had to come to an end. Once she packed up, Badu encouraged the crowd to “believe in yourself and if you have an idea write that s— down,” she made her way through the crowd taking countless usies with fans who clearly didn’t want the night to end.
Though she has been in the game for years, Erykah Badu’s music remains relevant and modern. With the release of this mixtape, she continues to use her smooth vocals to captivate fans of every demographic. Her ability to bridge the gap between generations keeps Badu winning. She remains true to herself adding “doula” to her résumé and using her music to heal and create conversation. Badu maintains an authentic connection with her fans, haters, and anyone else she decides to embrace through her use of social media and more importantly her music.