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Erykah Badu: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

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Aug. 15, 2018 | Felix Contreras -- Some folks around the NPR Music office said they felt an almost spiritual connection to Erykah Badu during her visit to the Tiny Desk. And that was before she and her band even played a single note. It came from the waft of earthly scents that followed in her wake, to the flowing dreads and clothes that hung on her like robes.

After her self-introduction, which included a rundown of her spiritual and creative aliases, Badu rolled into one of her earliest musical calling cards, "Rimshot." It's an ode to the sound the percussionist makes when a drumstick is struck against the metal edge of the snare drum. On this performance, as on her 1997 album Baduizm, it becomes a device to play with time — stretching it, stopping it, suspending it. Propelled by jazz chords on the piano and the steady pulse of the acoustic bass, the playful performance unfolded in the tradition of the best bebop.

But the panoramic song "Green Eyes" is the centerpiece of Badu's Tiny Desk performance. It's wide-ranging in scope and musical arrangement and brilliantly executed by the jazz and hip-hop musicians in her backing band. The story of heartbreak is striking enough, but her interpretation showcases her formidable vocal skills. By the time it was over, we were all just as emotionally and spiritually spent as she was from the experience.

Erykah Badu is an artist for the ages. To old-school jazz fans like myself, names like Nina Simone, Betty Carter and Shirley Horn come to mind as much as Billie Holiday because of Badu's singular approach to a lyric. They all cut their own creative path and left behind a legacy that you can identify with just one note. Erykah Badu is on that same path, and one day her name will be mentioned along with the other Elders who share her spirit of musical adventure.

Set List
"Rimshot"
"Green Eyes"

Musicians
Erykah Badu (lead vocals), RC Williams (Keys), Braylon Lacy (bass), Cleon Edwards (Drums), Frank Moka (Percussion), Kenneth Whalum (Sax), Keyon Harrold (Trumpet), Dwayne Kerr (Flute)

Credits
Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Khun Minn Ohn, CJ Riculan; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR.

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NPR NPR Music National Public Radio Live Performance green eyes rimshot erykah badu tiny desk

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50 Comments

    Popular Comments:

rudolph mantooth banksy . 2018-11-20
She looks like a babylonian demon or a homeless, soul crushed holdover on Skid Row
121 2 . Reply
V Font . 2018-11-20
black women are amazing!
121 2 . Reply
LaDaryl Hale . 2018-11-20
When the camera man says Wow!!! You know she left her mark on Tiny Desk. Now give us Jill Scott... Please...😩
121 2 . Reply
Sara Osorio . 2018-11-20
you sounds like amy Winehouse, I love it
121 2 . Reply
Simba Elijah Charles Kiage . 2018-11-20
perfect
121 2 . Reply
Tom Pankratz . 2018-11-19
Im Here
121 2 . Reply
O_o . 2018-11-19
also known as black magic witch
121 2 . Reply
Joi Lewis . 2018-11-19
Every time I try to sing along with her same intensity I cant do it without crying
121 2 . Reply
LOAFROK . 2018-11-19
Queen.
121 2 . Reply
Soleil Johnstone . 2018-11-19
she so good and beautiful
121 2 . Reply
Dondi Cornett . 2018-11-18
EB's incredible. Uh regg bro like self would wife n be equals with her! lol. Wadu
121 2 . Reply
Kimz Wimz . 2018-11-18
"If you can't be what I need you to, I don't' know why I FUCK with you!!!" She betta' WHEWWWWW #mood
121 2 . Reply
Lapin Everfly . 2018-11-18
Anyone? What is the name of this song at 9’51?
Great live , beautiful creature
121 2 . Reply
bdr5518 . 2018-11-18
Badu is a musical artistic genius
121 2 . Reply
Keith Wright . 2018-11-18
She look like carrie or sum ancient demon
121 2 . Reply
Grauzio Mc . 2018-11-17
beautiful maravilhoso harmonioso peacefull
121 2 . Reply
MsIGetLotOfThat . 2018-11-17
What’s the orange on her finger tips? Green eyes is a spiritual experience. I don’t even notice how long it is since it sounds like multiple songs in one!
121 2 . Reply
Go Getta . 2018-11-17
Soooooo delightful
121 2 . Reply
juve77 . 2018-11-17
Green Eyes will always be one of my favorites. “Mama’s Gun” Album is still in constant rotation. 🙌🏾
121 2 . Reply
Adonis Bradshaw . 2018-11-16
Green Eyes ❤️ Vybing.. literally buzzing - Queen, thank you x
121 2 . Reply
2480tiff . 2018-11-16
No auto tunes here. Pure raw
121 2 . Reply
Diogo Rodrigues da S. Frutuoso . 2018-11-16
I'm still addicted to this after months, still feel fresh and mindblowing.
121 2 . Reply
Ydontcha Blowme . 2018-11-16
AND WHAT DA FUQ is UP WIT CHO FUCKIN FAYCE!?! Naaaah...Hellll nahhh.
121 2 . Reply
Ydontcha Blowme . 2018-11-16
This bitch... Also known as, "This bitch fuckin' crazy AF" Yo, ya fiddy...knock off da shit bitch. Jus' sing...Ya gimmicks ain't gon' hide that sharp ass voice. AND STOP FUGGIN REPEATING
121 2 . Reply
Jabulani Harvey . 2018-11-16
sorcery...same alchemy as Esperanza Spalding....and got her some Jill Scott ......the great school of Jazz
121 2 . Reply
Ronnie Mayo . 2018-11-16
Wow, that woman can sing... always loved Badu.
121 2 . Reply
Oso legend . 2018-11-15
When i hear Erykah Badu i just wanna burn some incents and smoke a fat joint to it.
121 2 . Reply
AquilaChe . 2018-11-15
That was so beautiful!
121 2 . Reply
Michelle Direlle . 2018-11-15
And whatta band... 💚❤✌🎉🤗🤤
121 2 . Reply
Michelle Direlle . 2018-11-15
I love her so much!
Welcome to my Youtubechannel, Michèlle D.& Social Media Presence (Card Readings in Design, Music and Voice)
Michelledirelle.com
121 2 . Reply
fi bi . 2018-11-15
0:46 We got kinneth...on sex
121 2 . Reply
Funky Buddha . 2018-11-15
QUEEN
121 2 . Reply
LCapitan Cromartie . 2018-11-15
OMG, there HAS to be more! This was undoubtedly Serene! She did the perfect medley from my favorite albums and I can't count the times where I closed my eyes to spiritual take this in. I swear I am Thankful to be born in an era that still has Soul music...Much love to the band, I could attend this set every. single. day. If I could! 👑💜🎶 #BADU
121 2 . Reply
Amanda Basson . 2018-11-15
Windheok (Namibia, Africa) need to have her at the Jazz festival 2019!
121 2 . Reply
Richard Scott . 2018-11-15
My Sister. Give me the Orange Moon
121 2 . Reply
Young-eun Yeo . 2018-11-15
This is crazy fucking good
121 2 . Reply
chinafrog . 2018-11-14
if i would have to personify mother nature, she would be it
121 2 . Reply
Jason Romano . 2018-11-14
Eryka we (i) love you and your music
121 2 . Reply
Jay Dixson . 2018-11-14
this song literally makes me cry every time i hear it. ever since i heard it for the first time when i was 12 with my dad on a road trip and he sang it word for word... i've been in love with it. and shes from Dallas which makes her perfect lmao. thank you NPR, and thank you Mama Badu.
121 2 . Reply
Bradly Smith . 2018-11-14
Killed it...badu is everything
121 2 . Reply
WorldofWumbo thewiz . 2018-11-14
I think I've watched this 15 times in the last 24 hours easily. I've always loved Erykah Badu but this just hit me like nothing else
121 2 . Reply
Sarina Lewis . 2018-11-14
Yeeeeeeeees Erykah give me life!
121 2 . Reply
OneLove-Lokos . 2018-11-14
She can try to look ugly all she wants, shes still beautiful.
121 2 . Reply
Richard Dowling . 2018-11-13
Sounds like Amy Winehouse to me....
121 2 . Reply
Анд Ру . 2018-11-13
black Janna Aguzarova )
121 2 . Reply
Johannes P . 2018-11-13
1.4K of the human population has no soul. Sad.
121 2 . Reply
Wayne Marlow Jr. . 2018-11-13
I have to meet her before i leave this earth
121 2 . Reply
Book of Eli . 2018-11-12
that voice is still clear and golden...Beautiful!!!
121 2 . Reply
Schwarzer Birkendreher . 2018-11-12
eem wow what shall i say ? Nothing!!! JUST LISTEN
121 2 . Reply
JherikaMedranoVEVO • . 2018-11-12
She’s a beauty
121 2 . Reply