The Latest Wave of Black Genius

Erykah Badu's latest release puts her in the club. Who else makes the cut?

Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu

“Had two babies different dudes/And for them both my love was true/This is my last interview/hey, that’s me

This year I turned 36/damn it seems it came so quick/my ass and legs have gotten thick/it’s all me.”

Lorraine Hansberry once said, to achieve the universal, you must pay close attention to the specific. Anyone who’s ever grooved to Badu’s “Tyrone,” knows just how specific sister girl can be:

“Now every time, I ask you for a little cash. You say no, turn round and ask me for some ass.”

And then of course, there’s the infamous chorus:

I think ya better call Tyrone/And tell him come on/And help you get your shit.”

She is a shining example of what is really a generation of singer-songwriters: Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Goapele, Alicia Keys, Martha Redbone, Amel Larrieux and even though her tracks are so commercial they are easy to dismiss, Missy Elliot is such an artist that she could’ve rolled with Picasso and Braque, Basquiat and Haring, Rothko and Pollock.

#2) Thelma Golden for being a curator of vision.