R&B acid queen returns...
'But You Cain't Use My Phone'

When legendary soul singer, mogul, artist and eighth wonder of the world Erykah Badu puts out her latest body of work in a mixtape entitled 'But You Caint Use My Phone', you can't fail to listen.

"You better use telepathy, cause you cain't use my phone," rings out over a familiar dubbed voice in the opening track, once again familiarising ourselves with the effervescent voice of Erykah Badu like she never left.

Conceptual albums are in no way a new concept to Erykah Badu and what she has previously delivered, but for obvious reasons it seems like the root of concept for the project lies solely with the man of the year, Drake and his catchy 'Hotling Bling'; possibly the most meme-able video ever created. With the track listing all named after phone references, 'Dial’Afreaq', 'Cel U Lar Device' and an uncanny Drake impersonation on 'U Use To Call Me', Erykah Badu has carefully trod the thin line of a humorous and experimental concept album, based on Drake… and it's worked!

Despite the continuing theme the mixtape is no way disappoints, exuding a level of excitement and appreciation of a body of work that Erykah display’s both through music and her own style. Collaborating with long-time friend, one-time partner, and father of her oldest son, Andre 3000 on stand out track ‘Hello’ - now for some reason not available in the UK - rekindles a magical energy and sound between these artists of the 90’s, that in this day and age is hard to recreate authentically unless musically birthed from that era.

With phone references and dialling tones galore, the trappy dub-ness of the 90’s hip-hop that so many grew from, Badu continues to be unapologetically herself on tracks like ‘U Don’t Have To Call’ and first released track ‘Phone Down’.

Appearing on the Soul Train awards and throwing some shade at Iggy Azalea, Erykah is as forward thinking and magical as when she first delivered 'Baduizm'. It’s safe to say Erykah Badu is never a disappointment in any area and neither is 'But You Cain't Use My Phone'.

8/10

Words: Parris O'Loughlin-Hoste

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