Erykah Badu: Q&A
''New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh,'' is the newest from the singer, who talks about her baby and love for Twitter
EW Your last album, 2007’s New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War, was quite political, while the just-released New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh is more romantic and musically lush. Was that always the plan?
Badu I didn’t start out with an intent. It sounded like some of the beats were more sinister, some of them were more melodic. The more sinister ones brought forth the analytical, political, social, logical, left-brain stuff. All the melodic ones just happened to involve emotional energy. I had so much material that I needed to get out. This is where I do therapy.
EW The single, ”Window Seat,” is about wanting to be alone, but also wanting to be wanted. What was the inspiration for that?
Badu Wanting to be alone and wanting to be wanted was the inspiration. [Laughs] It really comes from a mother’s perspective. She gives to everyone. No complaints at all! You just want to be heard sometimes.
EW You’ve really gotten into Twitter, right?
Badu I’ve been on Twitter for about a year and a half. I Twittered when I was in labor [with her daughter Mars Merkaba, who was born in February 2009].
EW Obviously, I’ve never had a baby, but I suspect I’d be too busy screaming to tweet.
Badu Yeah, you probably would. [Laughs] But I was built for this. This was my third home birth. No painkillers, by choice. Just me and the midwife and the daddy [rapper-producer Jay Electronica]. It’s a very special time, and I choose to be very sober-minded and clearheaded. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. I gain so much from being clear.
EW What kind of music does Mars like?
Badu She likes Bootsy Collins and P-Funk.
EW I think all 1-year-olds should only listen to Bootsy Collins.
Badu I think so too. You know what? I’m going to tweet that. I’m tweeting: ”Clark and I agree that all 1-year-olds should only listen to Bootsy Collins.” [She does, in fact, tweet exactly that.]
EW You also used Twitter to get Paul McCartney to clear a Wings sample?
Badu I was going to have to take the song off the album, because we weren’t able to contact him. So I said, ”I’ll put it up on Twitter.” I basically said, ”I’ve got nine hours to clear a Paul McCartney sample. Anybody know what I could do?” Then ?uestlove told me Lenny Kravitz was friends with Stella McCartney. We went from there. And the next morning my attorney called and said, ”Sample just got cleared.” I said, ”Well, ain’t that something!”