On this day in Hip Hop History, one of the originators of Neo Soul, Erykah Badu, released her award winning, triple platinum, debut LP, Baduizm.
In 1993, Badu discontinued her enrollment at the historically Black university Grambling State University to concentrate on her music full time. She began working and touring with her cousin Robert Bradford and eventually gained the attention of Kedar Massenburg, who at the time was the soon to become the president of Motown Records. The relationship they built allowed Badu the opportunity to sign with Universal Records and from January to October of 1996 record this legendary album.
Baduizm was one of the first of its kind. Two years prior, singer D’Angelo opened the door for the synchronous of modern R&B with 70s soul, but it still was a much different sound than what Badu was cultivating. Baduizm embodies an authentic sound, one reminiscent of traditional jazz singers like Billie Holiday. The live instrumentation and smooth mastering of her vocals allows for the album to feel as if the listener is at a local jazz club listening to Badu give her all emotionally through each track.
Although lyrically cryptic, the knowledge of this album easily penetrates and resonates through the mind of the listener, forever changing their view on the limitations of R&B music. The subject that Badu touches on during this album are every day parts of life but her explanation and delivery are so poetic that it allows the listener to analyze themselves in a whole new way.
This album, besides being critically acclaimed, was well awarded for its greatness. In 1998, at the 40th Grammy Awards, Badu took home the awards for Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Performance for the single “On & On.” She was also nominated for Best New Artist and “On & On” nominated for Best R&B Song. Badu was also nominated for six awards and won three at the 1997 Soul Train Awards. She won the awards for Favorite Female Solo Single (“On & On”), Favorite Female Solo Album, and Best R&B, Soul, or Rap Song (“On & On”). The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The three singles from this album, “On & On,” “Next Lifetime,” and “Otherside of the Game” can all be considered hits in the R&B/neo soul world and across all genres.
After this album, Erykah Badu went on to build one of the most successful and iconic careers in music. She released five studio albums and two mixtapes, the most recent of which, But You Caint Use My Phone released this past November . Badu is currently living in Texas and raising her three children: Seven, Puma, and Mars. She has been working on various artistic projects ranging from music to film to fashion and has shown no signs of slowing down, thankfully. Take some time out today and start your morning off right with this amazing soulful album, there’s no doubt that you will feel the positive vibrations thought the rest of your day.