There is nobody like Erykah Badu, the "queen of neo-soul" who rejected her title, a philosopher with a voice like smoke, the only person on this or any other planet who could take a remix of "Hotline Bling" and turn it into a 36-minute "suite" about disconnection. She's playing a potion-mixing psychic in What Men Want, the gender-flipping remake of Mel Gibson's 2000 rom-com, because she can. And this morning NPR uploaded her new Tiny Desk Concert which is, obviously, quite brilliant. Badu opens with "Rimshot," from her classic 1997 LP Baduizm, but it works mostly as a warm-up. The real performance is "Green Eyes," the jazz-grounded, broken-hearted closer to her 2000 LP Mama's Gun. Here, with a full band, she stretches things out further, improvising vocal lines and acting out each bar like she's running through the train of thought for the first time. It's amazing, and you can watch it in full over at NPR.
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