Often referred to as the Queen of Neo Soul, Erykah Badu is highly respected among music fans for her hypnotizing voice and powerful lyricism. Badu gained popularity in 1997 with the release of her debut album, Baduizm. The project received critical acclaim and earned Badu four Grammy Award nominations and two wins. While some artists fail to achieve the same kind of buzz when releasing their sophomore album, Erykah’s second project, Mama’s Gun, is considered a classic as well. Although it’s been more than a decade since Badu’s most recent album, her music continues to to be heard by people all over the world. Continue reading to see our list of the 10 best Erykah Badu songs of all time.
10. Window Seat
Have you ever sat in a window seat on a plane or a bus and reflected on life? If the answer is yes, you can probably relate to this song. In “Window Seat” Erykah reflects on the stresses of daily life and the occasional need to get away and take a break. Not only is the song great, but Erykah made a powerful statement in the video by stripping completely naked while walking down the street.
9. 4 Leaf Clover
“4 Leaf Closer” may not be one of Erykah’s most popular songs, but it should be. Smooth and intoxicating, this song is all about the fear associated with finding love. Erykah uses the symbol of a four leaf clover to represent the level of luck that is often associated with having a good love story.
8. Love of My Life
On the surface “Love of My Life” may seem like your typical love song. However, that isn’t the case at all. The song is actually an ode to hip-hop music and culture. In addition to Erykah’s always on point vocals, the song also features a verse from legendary rapper (and Erykah’s former partner), Common.
7. Bag Lady
Erykah Badu’s music is known for being critical of the status quo, and “Bag Lady” is another song where she creatively addresses the negative consequences of materialism. In the song, Erykah’s bag lady is simply a fill-in for a person who is holding on to too many things that don’t matter. The song was recently sampled in Queen Naija’s 2020 single “Pack Lite”.
Since “Booty” wasn’t released as a single, it’s a song you may not know unless you’re a serious Erykah Badu fan. The song has an infectious beat full of great drum kicks and Erykah’s confident energy is unmatched. In “Booty” she sings, “your booty might be bigger, but I can still pull yo n***a”. She then adds, “but I don’t want him”.
5. No Love
Anyone who has ever been in love with someone who ended up hurting them can probably relate to this song. “No Love” is a vulnerable track in which Erykah opens up about the feelings that come with being betrayed by a lover. Although Erykah has never explained who the song is about, there is a chance it could be about her former partner, Andre 3000.
4. Next Lifetime
“Next Lifetime” is one of Erykah Badu’s most popular songs and it’s easy to see why. The song is beautiful and catchy without sacrificing the style and sound that Erykah has become known for. Throughout the song, Erykah sings about having feelings for someone even though she’s in a relationship with someone else. Since she refuses to be unfaithful, all she can do is hope that her and the person meet again in the next lifetime.
3. Didn’t Cha Know
Life is a journey full of ups and downs, that’s essentially what Erykah Badu is singing about on “Didn’t Cha Know”. Even though she knows she might not always make the right decision, she is confident that she will always end up where she needs to be. Rapper J. Cole sampled “Didn’t Cha Know” on his 2010 song “Too Deep for the Intro”.
When many people think of Erykah Badu, “Tyrone” is probably one of the first songs that come to mind. “Tyrone” is a witty song where Erykah’s creativity really shines as she sings about a trifling boyfriend who spends too much time with his friends. Some people will be surprised to know that “Tyrone” was actually a freestyle.
1. On & On
Released in 1997, “On & On” was Erykah Badu’s debut single, and it was the perfect introduction. “On & On” is the perfect display of Badu’s vocal abilities and her overall artistry. The chorus is probably one of the most memorable of her career. Most importantly, “On & On” will never get old which is one of the true markers of a great song.