It’s been a while since we heard the sultry, soulful voice of the talented Ms Erykah Badu. The interwebs collectively made a happy sigh when she dropped the only cover of Hotline Bling that matters, sparking talks of a new mixtape entitled But You Caint Use My Phone, a nod to her infamous song Tyrone. Well, the talks were true, and keeping her word, Erykah dropped her new mixtape on the world at midnight. If you’re a fan like me, you were anxiously waiting for a “green light” tweet to storm iTunes and hop on the soul train. All aboard! It’s a ride that was worth the wait.
Off the top, I love EVERYTHING about this project; the cover, the arrangement, the loose theme, the fact that Drake is on two tracks – without any mention in the track listing – and just the overall feeling I get listening to this. After the intro, which has he chanting the classic punchline of Tyrone, she gets into the cover that creatively jumpstarted the project, which I skipped. Only because I’d listened to it about a million times by this point. Next was the proper studio version of Phone Down, which she premiered on Periscope a few weeks ago. The rest of the project was a completely fresh experience (double entendre intended).
She drops her neosoul take on the New Edition classic Mr. Telephone Man, and even a buttery electro-funk twist on Usher’s U Don’t Have To Call. The highlight for me, though, was the Andre 3000 featured Hello, which seems to morph organically into the sonic elements of Sade’s Kiss Of Love – a classic record that was the main ingredient of MF DOOM’s Doomsday. The project is stitched together with Erykah’s signature interludes and melodies and reprises. It had a sound that would make for an amazing like show that I would pay upwards of $300 to see.
I’ve been a fan of Erykah since Baduizm dropped in my grade 9 school year. I’ve followed her “on and on” ever since. What I’ve always admired about her is her ability to give her fans exactly what they want. She has yet to disappoint me. You Caint Use My Phone is no different. It’s relevant and immediate (recorded within the past month or two). She’s really good at using the internet machine, and this project is a great tangible example of that. Pop it in, double click (or, however you will bump this) and zone out as you knock out your Black Friday shopping!
Erykah admitted that she encoded her actual phone number across the three covers she dropped leading up to the release. How cool is that? Let me know if you figure it out!