Editor’s Note: Our recurring “Portrait of the Artist” playlist series pays homage to the artists responsible for the most inspired and indispensable discographies of all time. We hope you enjoy these tributes, and stay tuned for many more to come.
Forty-five years ago today, the incomparable Ms. Erykah Badu was born. Twenty-six years later, the magnetic, Dallas-bred singer-songwriter blessed the world with her sublime debut album, its title evocative of a quasi-spiritual movement inspired by its creator’s adopted surname. Baduizm. Accusations of hubris against the music gods be damned, the album proved to be a divinely inspired statement of purpose firmly rooted not in Badu’s ego or self-righteousness, but in a more universally accessible spirituality and bohemian-cool consciousness.
Throughout the nearly two decades since her initial breakthrough, we’ve witnessed her penchant for creative experimentation blossom and her music evolve in thrilling ways as a result. From 2000’s Mama’s Gun to her But You Caint Use My Phone mixtape released this past November, the Mother Soulquarian has continually taken the script, redefined it, and most certainly, flipped it.
In honor of Badu’s prolific recorded repertoire and her 45th birthday, we’ve curated a special Spotify playlist that spans her dazzling discography, as well as her indelible collaborations with the likes of Bonobo, Busta Rhymes, Common, D’Angelo, Robert Glasper, Guru, J Dilla, Talib Kweli, Janelle Monáe, OutKast, The Roots, Wu-Tang Clan, among many others.