Erykah Badu talks ‘But You Cain’t Use My Phone’ from inside a party bus

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Erykah Badu and Andre 3000 Say ‘Hello’.

It’s well past dusk on a recent evening and Erykah Badu is stretched out on plush leather seats inside a sleek party bus equipped with blacked-out windows and a ceiling with green, white and yellow lights mimicking a constellation of stars. NEW YORK – Erykah Badu’s new mixtape, “But You Caint Use My Phone,” released today on iTunes/Apple (available otherwise Dec. 4), is all about cell phones in this time and place.In a particularly good time for greeting-titled singles, Erykah Badu has followed Adele with the release of a stellar new song, “Hello.” The 44-year-old artist recruited Andre 3000 for the track.Actor Mandy Patinkin narrates “The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs” (Showtime at 9 p.m.), which offers an in-depth look at the CIA and the often-controversial techniques the agency employs in the war on terror.

Obviously, “Hello,” Adele‘s first single off her album “25″ is everywhere, from “Saturday Night Live” to “Star Wars” spoofs on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” but the British pop superstar doesn’t own the word. Andre’s contribution to the track went down particularly well, with one Reddit user commenting: “Man Andre just comes through like once a year with an 11/10 feature like clockwork it’s crazy.’ Badu, 44, also is host for the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards, which air Sunday at BET and Centric. “I’ve had this on for about two months,” Badu says of the outfit she’s wearing for this interview, backstage at “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” – shiny black overalls, sky-high top hat and a chambray button-up with a wooden bowtie that reads “HELLO”).

Putting her own spin on The Isley Brothers’ “Hello It’s Me,” Badu croons, “Hello, it’s me, it’s me, baby / I thought about us for a long, long time / Maybe I think too much but something’s wrong / Something that said it doesn’t last too long, too long / Maybe I shouldn’t think of you as mine, mine, mine, mine, mine.” Outkast alum Andre joins the track, rapping, “Okay, challenge / Leave your phone unlocked and right side up / Walk out the room without throwin’ your bitch off balance / It’s either on or off, ain’t no in between when it’s valid.” The collaboration is a rare new release from the two famed performers. The origins of the record, her first new material since 2010’s acclaimed “New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh),” begin with Drake’s zeitgeisty, meme-spawning smash “Hotline Bling.” A few weeks ago the singer uploaded her cover of the ear worm — recorded as a birthday gift to her close friend and road manager Big Mike — to her Soundcloud where it became a viral hit, logging 1 million streams in just two days. “What it also did was introduced me to that frequency of music because I hadn’t done it,” Badu, 44, said of the cover (the two were texting back and forth, she said, as we were riding around town). Here, she talks about the hosting gig (earlier this month in Las Vegas), new music and platinum-selling rapper Drake, whose “Hotline Bling” single she remixed and released in October.

Sunday talk shows: “Capital Download” (WUSA at 8:30 a.m.) talks to Republican strategist Karl Rove; “Fox News Sunday” (Fox at 9) hosts former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a GOP presidential candidate; “White House Chronicle” (WETA at 9) has G. A previously released cut off the mixtape, “Cell U Lar Device,” is a remix of Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” Badu wrote, produced and recorded the mixtape over 12 days. Alongside producer Zach Witnessin, Badu explored our reliance on staying inter-connected and our dependency on smartphones over a taut, 11-track mix of rattling beats and her ethereal voice putting new flips on indelible, phone-inspired hits from New Edition, the Time, Usher and the Isley Brothers that are woven in and out of one another. Andre 3000, meanwhile, has jumped on one-off singles in recent years, but counts his last full-length studio album as the 2003 Outkast record, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. And this time around they made me an associate producer, so I had an opportunity to write my material, which I think is really cool – to, you know, see my things crystalize – my words and my sense of humor, which is pretty unique and self-serving.

The van rattled from the thump of Witnessin’s productions and her own vocals, which were occasionally interrupted by her own voice as she offered notes about particular records. A: I thought that, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity to expose myself to this naked place. this place that I had not been welcomed before.’ I’m known for the singing, and stuff like that. King (R-N.Y.); “This Is America & the World” (WETA at 10 and WHUT at 7:30 p.m.) is on location in Benin, exploring the role of infrastructure in the West African country; “Meet the Press” (NBC at 10:30) hosts Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson; “Face the Nation” (CBS at 10:30) hosts Carson and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, another GOP hopeful. On Sunday night, Erykah Badu hosts the “Soul Train Awards 2015 ” (BET at 8), featuring performances by Boyz II Men, Brandy, Jazmine Sullivan and (here’s a throwback) Cameo. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds will accept the evening’s Legend Award. “A Salute to Downton Abbey” (WETA at 8), hosted by Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), will get you ready for the show’s sixth and final season, which premieres Jan. 3.

Director Ron Howard examines our fears about aging and the latest scientific studies on the subject in “The Age of Aging” episode of “Breakthrough” (National Geographic at 9). What’s interesting is you’re taking a style of music that’s very prevalent right now on urban radio and you’ve taken it further than just minimal beats. One of the reasons why it doesn’t keep their attention is not because it isn’t brilliantly crafted or phenomenally written or an exquisite body of animation.

On “Live,” the album “Tyrone” was on, I said, “the atoms in the body rotate at the same rate on the same axis that the Earth rotates, giving us a direct connection with the place we call Earth.” Well since then the Earth has sped up — the rotation and the vibration. I used tuning forks and singing bowls in the music in post production, just trying to create some frequencies that felt really good that I always use in all of my works.

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