It’s been far too long since Erykah Badu was in the headlines for her music, but thankfully that changed when Badu released her But You Caint Use My Phone mixtape early Friday morning, featuring the excellent remix of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” re-titled here as “Cel U Lar Device.” But Badu saves the best moment on her new release for the last, a collaboration with OutKast’s André 3000 that finds both artists at the peak of their powers. André is still as whimsical and playful as ever, but he’s added a sermon-like weight to his rhymes. And Badu’s transition to goddess is completed during the gorgeous closing harmonies on the track. “Don’t change, don’t change, squirrel,” they curiously sing. As much as it makes you want to laugh, it’s as sincere and comforting as any sentiment addressed to a human. And it drives home the essential beauty of these two auteurs; as left-field and “weird” as their music can be considered, it works because you know they care.
But You Caint Use My Phone is available as an Apple Music exclusive for the next week.