Recently profiled for The New Yorker by Kalefa Sanneh, the Godmother of Soul herself, Erykah Badu discussed the new title she has added to her long list of professional roles. On top of releasing umpteen remixes and a mixtape, shitting on Iggy Azalea, appearing on the cover of the May issue of The Fader and being a social media extraordinaire, activist and doula (birthing attendant), Badu is now also the Music Supervisor for an upcoming animated series on Comedy Central called Legends of Chamberlain Heights.
Towards the end of the lengthy profile, achieved through intimate access to Badu and her life, Sanneh revealed that the musician has been “working on the music” for a new Comedy Central animated series called Legends of Chamberlain Heights, which is co-executive produced by her partner, Carl Jones (Black Dynamite, The Boondocks). As Sanneh points out, it was a particularly inspired move on the network’s part. Though Badu did have to interview alongside all other candidates (“I had to interview alongside all these other composers… Talked all kinds of shit. ‘Deadlines? No problem!’”), she provided Comedy Central with a unique opportunity. Rather than paying the exorbitant fees to license old recordings, it could simply hire a Grammy-winning, chart-topping singer to make some new ones.
Thus, Badu became one of the show’s biggest assets: “I’m acting as the conductor and the orchestra.” She said, explaining her role. “I have to look at the clips they send me and create all of the music from scratch, acquiring sounds and musicians along the way.” With the show set to debut with a 10-episode run later this year, it is already being optioned for a second season and is considered a “top priority for Comedy Central” according to Jones.
Co-created by former UCLA basketball players Quinn Hawking and Josiah Johnson, Legends of Chamberlain Heights tells the story of three friends who ride the pine of a high school basketball team in the fictional community of Chamberlain Heights. Jones, who notes that there are some tonal similarities between Legends of Chamberlain Heights and his previous work on The Boondocks, pointing out that not only do the characters sit on the bench on their basketball team, but that they also “kind of sit on the bench of life.”
Image: The New Yorker