As the world gets ready for an epic Verzuz battle against two R&B powerhouses, we thought that there was no one better to honor than Erykah Badu. You know her—she’s the iconic neosoul singer whose music has inspired numerous artists and fans.
Badu introduced the world to her style with Baduizm, her Grammy-winning debut album, and ever since she’s been making her mark in the industry.
Ahead of Saturday night’s battle, we’ve got an A–Z guide to Badu, her music and the things that make her magical.
Badu has four. Badu's Baduizm earned her a Best Album win with the album's single "On & On" picking up one for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1998. She has a Grammy for "Love of My Life (And Ode to Hip Hop)" and earned another after teaming up with The Roots for "You Got Me."
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 23: Erykah Badu winner Best R & B song in the Pressroom at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
H is for HBCU
Badu attended Grambling State University before pursuing music.
I is for "I Love My Boyfriend"
That song was later changed to "I Love Jesus." Badu's mom told Okayplayer that the singer used to write and record songs at her Ganny's—what she called her paternal grandmother—on a piano. "They recorded a song called…what was the name of it? Some boyfriend song about love, 'I love my boyfriend.' I love something…and the grandmother didn’t approve of that ‘cause she was a church lady. They had to change the lyrics to 'I love Jesus.'"
J is for Jill Scott and Queen Latifah
Badu formed the Sugar Water Festival with these two singers. Started in 2005, the festival was designed to bring awareness to health issues African-American women faced.
K is for Kolleen
She's Badu's mother and she's also the muse behind "Ms. Jackson."
L is for "Love of My Life"
Of course we sing this song every time we hear it.
M is for Mars
Mars is her superfly mini-me and her daughter with rapper Jay Electronica.
N is for neosoul
And you already know Badu is the queen.
O is for "On & On"
We play that song on repeat.
P is for Puma
Badu's 15-year-old daughter is just as talented as her mom. Have you heard her vocals?!
Q is for Questlove
It's well known that The Roots drummer is her Soulquarian friend.
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Recording artists Erykah Badu (L) and The Roots music group member Questlove perform onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)
R is for rappers
She's dated very cool ones—Andre 3000, Common, The D.O.C., and Jay Electronica—there are even jokes about the effect she has on them, but the singer says she's learned a lot from them too. "I learned just as much from them as they learned from me. I’m a cold motherf--ka though. But the people I’m with are cold too. They’re a reflection of that. Become a cold motherf--ka and the motherf--ka will just come like magnets."
S is for Seven
Her first child, and son with Andre 3000, makes his mom proud every day.
T is for "Tyrone"
The 1997 hit is an iconic gem.
U is for Unicorn
Because she's one of a kind.
V is for vegan
The singer has practiced a meat-free diet for more than two decades.
W is for "Window Seat"
The video for the track caused quite a stir. She even had to pay a fine for stripping down in the video.
X for Xtal
It's short for crystals. (Get it?) Badu loves crystals, once telling a fan on social media that "Crystals hold the memory of this planet." She also swears by crystal deodorant, telling The Breakfast Club:
"You have to stroke underarms 100 times on each times. But then you don’t have to put no more on for three days. I swear to God, Jesus, and two more White people. I should have a seminar for that because it’s giving the rest of us “earthy” people a bad name. If you don’t know how to use your rock deodorant, do something different. It’s a crystal—it’s an actual crystal. It neutralizes the skin. It has to send a signal to the big brain so neurologically you can stop being musty."
Y is for "You Got Me"
It's a hit song she worked on with The Roots. It won her and the group a Grammy.
Z is for zen
Badu find peace through meditation, yoga, and different exercises that help keep her focused and at peace