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A Short Convo With...Erykah Badu (OLD)


Erykah Badu is having a moment. The high priestess of avant-garde soul, who will join such musical heavyweights as Lady Gaga, Green Day, and Phoenix onstage at this year’s Lollapalooza in August, is coming off her acclaimed album New Amerykah, Part Two: Return of the Ankh. And her controversial “Window Seat” video is still sparking debate as she gears up for an upcoming tour. We caught up with the elusive Badu and found out why after nearly 15 years in the business she is still an intriguing figure.—Keith Murphy


VIBE: Is it true that you originally wanted to be a dancer?

Yes. I started at four years old with modeling and at 10-years-old I started ballet and between that time I took jazz dance. And when I got into high school, I went to a Dallas school for performing arts, and I was a dance major from 9th grade to 12th grade. So I danced four hours a day for four years—any kind of dance. I’m a lover of modern dance; I love Martha Graham and Bella Lewitzky. I’m a [Katherine Dunham] student.

During the making of both New Amerykah projects, what did you find out about yourself as an artist?

I’m a loner with it. I’m a control freak in my heart, because I feel there is nothing freaky about controlling one’s own image. I don’t like to look outside of myself for the building of a character or song or costume. Whether my art comes out different or new or not, I know that I’ve at least taken the time and effort to do a creation as if there was a blank canvas. It’s not that my art has never been painted before, but it’s never been painted by me. My aim is to inspire.

You mentioned how the first New Amerykah release was more of a thinking man’s album and very digital while New Amerykah Part II is very emotional and with more live instrumentation. Can you describe the difference in the recording process of both projects?

Well, New Amerykah I is what I call a Pro Tools album. It’s very logical. I primarily used Garage Band on my computer with headphones during the creation of the music. It was almost like singing in the car or singing in the shower [laughs]. You are the center of it all and your creativity is boundless at that point. It just flows out of me. And not just the things that were on New Amerykah Part 1, which were just 10 other songs that were part of how I felt, or what I saw, or what I wanted to report. I’m quite a journalist in my music, in my writing. I believe in making a project or an album and not just a collection of songs. I put together both albums in such a way where the songs had the same  vibration, the same frequency, same thoughts, same colors, and smells. I put them together to make albums along with artwork and energy that would invoke the same energy. And I trust the label to put it in the best frame; I’m the artist, they’re the frame makers and we work together very well that way.

You once claimed at the beginning of “Tyrone” that as an artist you are sensitive about your shit. How do you react to the criticism from hardcore fans that have a certain view of what a Badu album should be, specifically on the New Amerykah projects?

Well most people are really dissecting the artist on magazines and blogs because they’re really genuinely interested. It doesn’t sway me one way or the other, no matter what our debate is. It just lets me know that there are people who are very interested and actually listening and absorbing what I’m doing. Although it doesn’t change my direction, it does inspire me to see how people feel. If I couldn’t create and continue to develop I would die.

Is it true that you and D’Angelo were supposed to record a duet album?

Yes, it was something that was talked about. We actually did one song together—“Your Precious Love”—and we hated it [laughs]. But the label put it out anyway. D and I are two totally different artists. The only thing we have in common is we both stick to our guns. I don’t know if we would even blend well together. In fact, after meeting him, I’ve worked on my pitch a great deal and when I told him that he was angry with me [laughs]. He told me, “Don’t do that, you don’t have to do that. Don’t over think anything, just open yourself and do you.” D seems to be genetically encoded with something that touches people in a way. And that’s his job, that’s what he does. He doesn’t have to be the model human being; I don’t think any of us are.





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Kenneka Jenkins' Mother Sues Hotel For $50 Million After Daughter Found In Freezer

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The lawsuit names the hotel, F&F Realty, Capital Security, and Investigations and Murray Bros. Caddyshack – the restaurant that leased the kitchen – as  liable for Jenkins' death. Martin claims the hotel and other parties failed to secure dangerous areas and hire competent staff to monitor them.

According to court documents, the hotel and security staff ignored multiple warnings about the group of people that were partying in the hotel room where Jenkins was ahead of her disappearance. The lawsuit noted that Jenkins passed several hotel staff members who should have seen that she was in an altered state and prevented her from entering the kitchen.

Hotel personnel also neglected to thoroughly review security footage after learning of Jenkins' disappearance. If they had done so, "they would have been able to locate her which would have prevented her death,” according to the lawsuit. As result of the incident, Jenkins' family claims they suffered tremendous "conscious, physical pain and suffering," humiliation, and loss of wages.

As previously reported, 19-year-old Jenkins attended a hotel room party on the ninth floor of the Crowne Plaza on Sept. 9, 2017, around 1:13 a.m. in a fully coherent state, the lawsuit claims. Around 2:30 a.m. Jenkins' and friends reportedly were leaving the party when she realized she had lost her phone. Two hours later, friends told Martin that her daughter was missing. After Martin contacted the hotel desk, security reviewed the surveillance footage, but did not find anything at the time. Jenkins was officially reported missing at 12:36 p.m. on Sept. 9.

Jenkins was found 21 hours after she was reported missing. Her body was discovered in a double-door walk-in freezer located in an unused kitchen that was accessible to the general public, the lawsuit said. The sticker on the door of the freezer, which contained instruction on how to open was barely visible.

Upon further review, surveillance videos show Jenkins stumbling into the kitchen and walking toward the freezer around 3:32 a.m. She was reportedly visibly inebriated at the time.

Jenkins was pronounced dead on Sept. 10, 2017. Her death was a ruled an accident caused by  hypothermia, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

In addition to the damages regarding her death, Jenkins' family is suing to cover the expenses of her funeral, which was held last year.

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Gucci Mane Says Eminem Isn't The Current King Of Rap

While some people are still debating who the king of R&B is, Gucci Mane is mulling over who is the king of rap, and according to him, it shouldn't be the genre's previous champion Eminem. During a recent appearance on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, Gucci stated that Eminem shouldn't be crowned the king of rap.

When asked whether Eminem was the current crown holder, the Evil Genius artist said, "you got to come up with a better name."

He added: "I ain't playing Eminem in my car. You playing him in yours? You sliding around playing Eminem in your car, you and your ol' lady?"

Em may not be the king in Guwop's eyes, but his rhymes are still making headlines and racking up numbers. His last project Kamikaze, which dropped in Aug. 2018, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 434,000 album units. His single "Killshot," which took aim at Machine Gun Kelly also earned 38.1 million views on Youtube within the first 24 hours of its release, making it one of the biggest hip-hop videos of the year. Numbers don't mean everything, but they definitely prove he isn't washed.

Check out the clip of Gucci Mane talking about Eminem below.

Gucci is me. I don’t know any regular black people who just ride around listening to Eminem in their free time. Or ever, really. #TooManyNapkins pic.twitter.com/FjIeLBh3Wc

— Stefan Grant 🚀 (@STEFisDOPE) December 17, 2018

READ MORE: Eminem Drops MGK Diss Track, 'KillShot': Listen

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Rolling Loud Founder Says Cardi B's Management Was Aware Of Offset's Stunt

Cardi B's headlining set at the Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles came to a shocking conclusion on Dec. 15, after her ex Offset crashed her performance to deliver yet another public apology for his infidelity. Twitter instantly erupted with some debating whether the stunt was appropriate and others pointing the finger at festival organizers for allowing Offset to steal Cardi's shine. Despite fan assumptions, Rolling Loud co-founder, Tariq Cherif stated that they were in no way involved in the surprise appearance.

In a statement to Complex, Cherif said the festival has no control over who takes the stage during the scheduled artist's set. "Headliners and their teams have full control of the stage and who is allowed on it during their set at Rolling Loud," he said. "The festival does not interfere with or influence a headliner’s set list. We have never and will never do anything to change a headliner's set."

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While Cherif noted that the festival wasn't responsible for the mishap, he said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that Cardi B's team was aware of the surprise. Organizers also reportedly sent a direct message to the Bronx rapper on Instagram shortly after the incident to apologize.

In addition to being accused of facilitating Offset's appearance at the time, many critics also accused Rolling Loud of hyping up the situation on Twitter. Fans cited various tweets from the festival's page – in which they seemed to be applauding Offset – as evidence that they were involved. Cherif attributed the tweets to "bad intel."

"We were tipped off that Cardi was going to have multiple surprise guests, corroborated by what she said in her IG Live. One of specific guests we were told about didn’t end up showing up so we deleted the tweet, which is standard for us when things change as the night goes on," he told Complex.  "Deleting old tweets with bad intel isn’t usually alarming but once we realized that we were getting dragged for the surprise interruption, we panicked and deleted the tweet bc we knew it was going to make things look worse. In hindsight, deleting those tweets actually made us look worse. We recognize that it was a poor decision."

Cardi B and Offset have both spoken out about the situation.  Cardi asked that people respect her ex, while Offset explained that his public apology was a result of his infidelities being publicly revealed. No matter what parties were involved in the stunt, it's unfortunate Cardi's Rolling Loud set couldn't just be about her.

They also deleted this. pic.twitter.com/FdEfTh22HS

— blah (@fushigiqueen) December 16, 2018

READ MORE: Offset Crashed Cardi B's Rolling Loud Festival Set

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