God-level R&B eminence Erykah Badu releases music on her own terms, whenever she feels like it, and she hasn’t felt like it much lately. Other than the odd collaboration, Badu hasn’t dropped any new music since her goofy-but-great 2015 mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone. So she really has no need to participate in the Tiny Desk Concerts, the NPR video series that artists usually use to hype up new music. But it seems that she just felt like doing one. So she did one.
There are no new songs in Badu’s Tiny Desk Concert. Instead, she runs back old ones. She gently eases into “Rimshot,” from her classic debut Baduizm. And then she does a stretched-out, meditative version of “Green Eyes,” from Baduizm’s even-better follow-up, 2000’s Mama’s Gun. That rendition of “Green Eyes” is something to see.
Badu did her Tiny Desk Concert with what basically amounts to a jazz combo playing behind her. And with them, she digs into “Green Eyes,” expanding it and turning it into a languid epic. The video is no substitute for seeing Badu live, something you should make a point to do at some point in your life. But the video is still something you should check out. It’s below.
Badu’s newest thing is that she’s in the movie What Men Want, so maybe go see that.