Queen of cool Erykah Badu returned with a new mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone late last month, and now she has opened up about the role that Drake and Hotline Bling had on its creation.
The viral video hit of the year has been responsible for many things. But beyond the endless sea of memes it generated and the dance movement it started, it is responsible for some good music too.
In a new interview with Pitchfork, Badu praised Drake and his chart-topping, media-dominating, meme-and-gif-spawning marketing goldmine for reinvigorating her musical aspirations. ‘‘It was Drake’s song that helped me reboot the music hard drive inside of me. Once I embodied that, I was off and running because I knew how to use the frequencies to fit my tastes.’’
Badu has always pushed the musical envelope in her sound, but after hearing Drake’s track with her son, Seven, she was enticed by the possibilities that digital recording had over her usual methods. ‘’New Amerykah Part One was a psychedelic trip, but it had an analog base. With But You Caint Use My Phone, I didn’t use any analog-based material, all digi.’’
Badu was also keen to point out that the new album was also inspired by her desire to be heard by a new generation of music lovers. ‘’People who say that music is dead or hip-hop is dead are refusing to evolve. And if you want to relate to a certain audience or generation, you have to speak their language. I truly believe that.’’
Her remixed version of Drake’s sleeper of a hit also sits alongside Hello, featuring a collaboration with her ex-husband Andre 3000. The Outkast rapper helped propel her newfound vision with a stirring verse of his own. Badu keen to credit him for his input, ”André went over to Zach’s house and put a verse to it—I was out of town—and they sent it to me over email. I was like, ‘You have totally annihilated the track! This is it!”.