Erykah Badu (born Erica Abi Wright on February 26, 1971 in Dallas, Texas) is an American R&B/hip hop artist whose work crosses over into jazz. She is best known for her singles “You Got Me” her collaboration with The Roots, as well as her own songs “Tyrone”, “Love Of My Life”, “On & On”, “Bag Lady”, “The Healer”, “Honey” and “Soldier”. Her lyrics are highly personal urban philosophy which throw emotional challenges in the face of the listener. She weaves unusual musical influences together creating a rich texture of sound.
Some music journalists have labeled her nu soul, nouvelle-soul or neo soul, often comparing her to Billie Holiday in lyrical delivery and grouping her with Maxwell and D’Angelo in musical genre.
Baduizm, Badu’s highly acclaimed debut album, was released in early 1997 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. Lead single “On & On” reached #12 on the singles charts in both the U.S. and UK. Badu received notice for her introspective lyrics and jazzy, bass-heavy sound, and was hailed as one of the leading lights of the burgeoning neo soul genre. Her sophisticated style of singing drew many comparisons to Billie Holiday. Baduizm eventually went triple platinum and, along with “On & On,” won Grammy Awards at the 1998 ceremonies.
During that year, Badu became involved with rapper André 3000 of OutKast, with whom she had a child, Seven, who was born in 1997. Their relationship ended sometime in the late 90s.