Cover Smother: Erkyah Badu Dials Up Drake's 'Hotline Bling' With Jazzy, Funny Flair


Since I've been rotating around 'Planet Janet' these last few days (more about that trip later...), Erykah Badu's sudden return to the music front completely slipped right by me.

Whoops now.

Not to say that I haven't been entertained by her humorous tales of motherhood and her war of words with Little Miss Shit Stirrer Azealia Banks via social media, but Mama Badulla Oblongata is musical nourishment, and well, she needs to 'feed me' and feed me now. Fortunately, we'll have something to nibble on soon as Badu is prepping to return, not with a full album (*sad face*) but a mixtape (*happy face*) entitled, But U Caint Use My Phone. Cleva.

To guide us into this new venture, Badu has released her spin on Drake's "Hotline Bling", rewiring the song to infuse her eclectic funk-meets-jazz sensibility. In beginning all is standard fare --- Badu harmonizing and tweaking some of the lyrics, then she needles in her usual wit with a humorous voicemail message with lines that feel like a nod to the chuckle-worthy impromptu monologues of Millie Jackson: "If you're calling to beg for some shit in general, press 4" and,"If you're calling to ask for some free tickets in a city near you, and know she don't really fuck with you like that, press 7" (for the record I'd press 8, cause I want a Slip N' Slide party with Badu DJ'ing). This voicemail bit alone puts her take above those from Disclosure, Sam Smith, Kehlani, and Keyshia Cole, who've all taken "Hotline Bling" under their wing recently.

Along for the ride she brings Zack WitnessEthan Worland, Ben Hixon, and her son with Andre 30007 Benjamin (who helps with the additional lyrics), and they add their instruments and charms to the Baduizm spell as the song slips into a dreamy, jazz fusion kinda moment that turns Drake's nocturnal booty call track into something classic and refine. You don't even notice that seven minutes have gone by, because well, that's heaven for ya.

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