Erykah Badu Showing Love To SZA Proves There’s A Lovely Bridge In R&B’s Generational Gap

R&B is a genre that brings out feelings like no other. Over the years, we’ve seen it take many forms, from new jack swing to a more futuristic vibe. In between, there have been acts that play up the “alternative” route like SZA. The singer allowed everyone the opportunity to feel the love (or lust) with her soothing performances of singles “The Weekend” and “Love Galore” from her well-received debut, CTRL.  

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Her imagery played into the album art for the album and paired with her sporty look, it seemed like somewhere there was a feeling of Erykah Badu’s aura–or at least her influence. The feeling then transformed to comparisons and later, to tweets that caught the singer’s attention.

If anyone knows SZA’s and Badu’s discographies, it’s painfully obvious that the two couldn’t be more different. It’s what makes R&B so fulfilling. While Badu’s signature flow was pigeonholed into the industry-created term “neo soul” some lifetimes ago, it has left a big influence on the changing shift of R&B.

The grooves of the past three decades have birthed so many impactful acts like Miguel, Frank Ocean, The Internet, Janelle Monae and growing acts like Lion Babe, Raury and many others that own a sound that transcends the genre. It’s why Badu has no qualms showing love to the singer while reminding the kids that they both can exist in the world that gives us all that special feeling.

Hip-hop’s elder critics could take a few lessons from Ms. Badu on extending the olive branch to the acts of today. R&B’s generational gap might be just as wide as hip-hop’s, but there’s always a bridge to be built.

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