Erykah Badu Official after party @ Goodgod!
The universally regarded ‘Queen of Soul’, Erykah Badu swapped her crown for a party hat when she took to the Danceteria stage at GoodGod last Thursday night, playing an intimate DJ set under her moniker DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown. With her 16-year career (including singing, songwriting, producing, directing, acting and now apparently DJing), Badu has dominated the charts, raking up multiple Grammy Awards and selling multi-platinum albums. Since her beginning, it has been her unique approach to soul and the way she has refined the genre - by mixing traditional soul vocals, staccato hip-hop rhythms, laid-back jazz grooves, her sharp wit and social-conscious writing-style – that has allowed Badu to continue her reign.
With such an impressive discography and history behind her, it’s really no surprise that Erykah Badu is an exceptionally kick-ass DJ.
(Warning: Wax-Poetic ahead.)
Walking into the Danceteria, I knew immediately I was about to witness something truly special. With DJ Libre already spinning tracks to a packed out room, the energy was blinding. DJ Libre had already set a funk/soul/jazz precedent for the night and the crowed was greedily eating it up, dancing and responding meaningfully to him. As an opener, DJ Libre was fantastic in capturing the mood of the evening, and keeping the audience attracted and interested in what was happening.
DJ Libre performed for over an hour and then like a dream, Erykah emerged, dressed in a way closely resembling Flavour Flav (i.e. big sunglass, big hat, big jacket) walking through a flurry of cheering fans, phones and cameras at the ready, all trying to get a glimpse. She situated herself on the decks, and after a brief introduction we were off.
It’s hard to come up with words that can honestly capture the magnitude of an Erykah Badu DJ set, so I’ll curb the fancy talk and tell it like it was. She was fantastic. This woman was definitely made to perform, through any medium.
Like her music, she spun a genre bending one and a half hour set including the likes of MGMT, Stevie Wonder, Big Luther, Grandmaster Flash, D’Angelo, Nasty Girl, Michael Jackson and so many more, while putting her own personal touch on each track she played. She was attuned brilliantly to the audience, knowing exactly when to change tracks and incorporating many call and responses to keep everyone involved and interested, and interacted significantly with the audience, allowing people on stage to dance and sing with her and at one point even standing in the crowd. Badu’s execution was impressive, blending R&B, nu-soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, and even some psych seamlessly, and transitioning between tracks and genres effortlessly.
Above her performance was the crowd’s warm reception of her. The diverse crowd was extremely welcoming, and embraced Badu with tremendous amounts of unconditional love, responding eagerly and wholeheartedly to every new track and every call from Badu herself (two words: High. Energy.). It’s something that is easily overlooked, but it’s remarkable how live music just seems better when you’re apart of a crowd that has so much goodwill as opposed to animosity.
Badu ended the night on a soft, slow note, making her thanks and saying her goodbyes before backing off and letting DJ Mo’Funk take over.
To conclude, Erykah Badu kicks ass and you’ll never be able to convince me otherwise.
By Gabriella Khouri
Photography by George Zeaiter