Erykah Badu is a famous face in hip hop culture. More widely known as Erykah Badu in her various television and film roles, she has become one of the most successful African American voices in popular culture. Born in segregated Mississippi, Badu grew up with four younger sisters in poverty. She was a bright, intelligent child who achieved high grades at school. At age sixteen, she began performing on the local stage, which led to her being scouted for music positions in both church and school. Eventually, Badu was signed to Jive Records where she released several albums and singles including “Who’s That Lady?”
Eric Curtiz was the singer/songwriter behind Badu’s musical career. While Badu was becoming successful with her singles “Who’s That Lady?” in early 1970’s, Curtiz was also making his own unique contributions as a recording artist. Starting out as a member of Outcasts, a trio of rappers that became known for their politically incorrect lyrics, he finally found his way to Erykah Badu where he could express his opinions without the support of his peers.
The first single from Erykah Badu’s debut album was “Famous Mothers”. It featured appearances by Flavor Flav, Smokey Mo, and the Babyillas alongside production from DJ Premier, Jazzy Jeff, DJ Premier, Scarface, Don Henley, and the Roots. The single reached number two on the Hot R&B Songchart. Two weeks later, the single “Who’s That Lady” featuring Erykah Badu and Mark Wills Again was given a debut on the Hot Rap Songs chart. It eventually peaked at number 17.
Once she got over her strained relationship with Badu the singer made a second solo album entitled Picking Up Girls In South Dallas. It was released under the name Erykah: The Beginning. It featured appearances by Smokey Mo, Jazzy Jeff, and Scarface along with production from DJ Premier, J. Money, and several other artists. The album was again a hit as it debuted at number ten on the charts.
After finishing up work on her second album, Erykah decided to release an additional single called Black Forest. It was recorded in New Orleans during the midst of Hurricane Katrina. It was a huge success as it topped the R&B/Hip Hop Charts and went gold. Another artist that was a big fan of Erykah’s was former rap star, Jill Scott. Jill Scott’s son Jay Taylor (also known as Jay Z) is said to be a fan and he made sure that his mother would receive copies of Black Forest on CDs.
While singles such as Picking Up Girls In South Dallas and Black Forest didn’t quite make it to the chart heights of Erykah Badu’s first two albums, they still managed to chart well. Her last album Boom! ended up at number 34 on the overall albums chart.