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Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu brandishes Mama's Gun Saturday.
Spencer T. Tucker/N.Y.C. Department of Parks and Recreation

Erykah Badu steadfastly refuses to be conveniently placed in a box, and why should she? Throughout her career, the Dallas native and resident has continually experimented with music and fashion, making her the complete antithesis of the cookie-cutter R&B singers we've become accustomed to. With some 'nu' Badu due in February, the eclectic soul diva — known for her trademark Afro and wearing everything from a red kimono to plaid bell-­bottoms onstage — says she's dipped into her "hip-hop purse" to make sure the album, Nu AmErykah, is unlike anything she's done before. While that may be true, two studio efforts, a live album and one EP have shown Badu's stylistic inconsistencies to be consistently ear-pleasing. Not to mention that whatever she creates in the studio is sure to sound even better live. Experiencing Badu in person is to experience an artist with elegance, energy and passion; she always seems to be on a journey, always welcoming listeners along for the ride.


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