Erica Abi Wright (born February 26, 1971), better known by her stage name Erykah Badu is an American recording artist, record producer and actress. Her work includes elements from R&B, hip hop and jazz.
She is best known for her role in the rise of the neo soul sub-genre, and for her eccentric, cerebral musical stylings and sense of fashion. “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. “Baduizm” eventually went triple platinum and, along with "On & On," won Grammy Awards at the 1998 ceremonies.
Badu recorded her first live album, “Live,” while pregnant with Seven (her child with rapper André 3000 of OutKast), and the release of the recording coincided with the his birth. “Live” reached #4 on the Billboard charts, selling double platinum, and spawned another R&B hit single in "Tyrone.”
Badu also collaborated with the Roots (who had previously handled production duties on a number of tracks on Baduizm) on their breakthrough 1999 release, “Things Fall Apart. “She was featured on the song "You Got Me", co-written by Jill Scott, which hit the top 40 and won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
After taking some time off to raise her child, Badu returned in 2000 with “Mama's Gun,”an album primarily produced by the Soulquarians and noted bassist Pino Palladino. A remix of one of the album's songs, "Bag Lady", was issued as the first single and topped the R&B charts for seven weeks. Despite not charting as high as her first two albums, “Mama's Gu”n was another platinum-selling success, and "Bag Lady" was nominated for a Grammy.
By 2000, Badu was in a romantic relationship with fellow Soulquarian Common, and "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)" was released as a collaboration between the two on the “Brown Sugar: soundtrack. "Love of My Life" hit #9 on the pop charts, topped the R&B listings, and Badu was awarded her fourth Grammy for the song in 2003.
After the release of “Mama's Gun” and "Love of My Life", Badu went through a period of writer's block. She hit the road throughout 2002 and much of 2003 on what she dubbed the "Frustrated Artist Tour", in search of inspiration to write and perform new material. The conclusion of the tour saw Badu head back to the studio with new material, and in September 2003, the “Worldwide Underground” album was released.
“Worldwide Underground” reached #3 on the Billboard charts and was certified gold not long after its release, and Badu received four further Grammy nominations for the album. After almost four years and the birth of a daughter, Puma, it was revealed in 2007 that Badu had three albums in the works over the course of 2007 and 2008.
"Honey", a new single produced by 9th Wonder, was leaked online in November 2007, and the new album, titled “New Amerykah Part One (4th World War),” was released on February 26, 2008. According to Nielsen Soundscan, “New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)” has sold 359,000 copies in the United States.
Badu released her fifth studio album, “New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)” on March 30, 2010. The album debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 110,000 copies in its first week