The Queen of Neo-Soul

Sebastian Fadeus, Staff Writer

Erica Abi Wright, professionally known as Erykah Badu, is one of the most influential music artists ever. Badu was born in Dallas, Texas, and was raised with her brother Eevin and her sister Nayrok by her single mother, after her mother and father split. In Wright’s Youth, she decided to change the way she spelled her first name to Erykah, as she believed her original name was a “slave name”.  

Badu first came on the scene in 1994, where was doing underground work in the music business until she landed a deal with the record label “Universal Records” in 1996. Badu’s debut album released soon after, in 1997, Badu dropped Baduizm, an album which quickly gained critical acclaim and reception, debuting at number 2 on the Billboard top 100. This reception leads to her being nominated and later on winning the Grammy for “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” and “Best R&B Album”. Baduizm is a must-listen-to if you are a fan of R&B music, with standout tracks like “On & On”, “Rimshot”, and “Next Lifetime”, helps makes this a really enjoyable listen. 

In 2000, Badu released her Magnus Opus “Mama’s Gun”, although it didn’t chart as high as Baduizm, I personally feel as if this is where Badu, music-making hit it’s peaked in her artistry. This is the most organic Badu project to date, and it’s apparent with the production style and the vocal performance that she provided. My personal favorite tracks from this album are “Cleva”, “Didn’t Cha Know”, “In love With You”, “Bag Lady”, and “Penitentiary Philosophy”, the topics vary throughout the album, but the most reoccurring topics were correlating to her love life. 


Erykah Badu is one of the most influential musicians, because of her work in Neo-Soul, almost acting as the founder of that Genre of Music, and has influences of multiple music artists of this generation and the future. Badu is still releasing music to this day, and she maintains the highest quality with her music, and I feel like Badu’s discography should be a must-listen for anyone who is a fan of R&B.