On Growing Up with Baduizm & Its Lasting Legacy #Baduism20

As a three-year-old riding in the backseat of my mother's car, I'm convinced that Baduizm may have very well been the only project we listened to in all of '97.  The debut is like a sibling to me, we grew up together and it's supported me through many life moments.  Hell, it was released in the gap year of my mom's second child that passed of SIDS in '96 and the child to follow in '98.  To say that I am a fan of Erykah Badu is an understatement; to my friend Wallace's point, "I'm following Badu right off the bridge.  I just need to know what time to be there."  Erykah Badu has maintained a relevancy and consistent catalogue spanning two decades that has left many of her cohorts behind.  The style of her music never changed to fit the times; instead, the times molded around Badu.  Erykah, if you thought Baduizm was acting too grown at 17, kudos to 20.  Here is how Baduizm helped me navigate the past twenty years.

If we were made in His image, then call us by our names.  As a child, you don't realize that this is an affirmation laced over a tight beat.  It instills a sense of assuredness and demands respect from anyone who may have lacked faith in you.  If God is for me, then who can be against me?  The man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all taught me to always approach life open-minded, because there is always something left to be learned.  While On & On teaches us about self-confidence,  Appletree teaches us selectiveness in every way, about everything.  Picking friends like you pick fruit lends itself to many different interpretations: choosing individuals who will nourish your mind, body, and soul; not buying in bulk; and only befriending quality people (no "bad apples").  I don't walk around trying to be what I'm not.  I don't waste my time trying to get what you got has been a mantra since '97, because how can you build yourself if you're busy focusing on what another person is doing?  If they don't want to be down, then it is ultimately their loss.  You gotta get under the umbrella or you'll get rained on.

My bias to Certainly as one of Badu's best (and most underrated) songs may have everything to do with my approach to life and how I was raised.  The world is mine when I wake up; I don't need nobody rolling over telling me the time.  Powerful women are not to be controlled; I move at my own pace, with my own style, in my own timing.  It seems as though men are more often intrigued by and pursue women who have things going for themselves, but as time goes on the things they loved about her can become problematic.  I was not looking for no love affair, and now you wanna 'fix' me, reinforcing the cyclical state of independent women who are guarded in their approach to dating.  Who gave you permission to rearrange me?  Certainly not me.

Do I really want my baby? Badu sings perplexingly over a sultry beat in the opening line of Other Side of the Game.  Erykah finds herself caught in the predicament many Black women find themselves in as a result of the systemic poverty she sings about in Drama See me and baby got this situation.  Baby got this complex occupation.  And it ain't that he don't have education, 'cause I was right there at his graduation.  She knows that eventually his Illegal activities will catch up to her beau and, subsequently, her baby.  However, her loyalty won't let her leave so easily and she knows that the lifestyle she's been afforded couldn't be supported by blue collar work.  So she does what many women caught in this system do: I know you've got to get your hustle on, so I pray.  Clearly, when Badu is in it, she is in it.  Staying through his indiscretions and, no matter how tempting it is to cheat, never dividing her pie (Next Lifetime).

However, Afro teaches us that just because you give loyalty doesn't mean it's always reciprocated.  When her lover puts as little effort in their relationship as he does maintaining his wilting fro, she is fed up.  Why work so hard to grow something you aren't willing to maintain?

You said you were gonna take me to see Wu-Tang baby, so I braided my hair.  
You changed your mind and said we weren't going, but my momma saw you there.
I be blowing up your pager, daddy
, but you never call me back.
Well if you don't learn how to use that pager, daddy, I'm gonna take that ho back.

Broke men (i.e. Tyrone's friend) are most often unappreciative of the blessings you have to bestow upon them.  If he doesn't text you back in a timely fashion, take yourself and your belongings on to someone who can foot 7 pluses for the both of you.

Sometimes teaches us that emotions are fleeting and sometimes, I feel like forgiving youwhile sometimes, I don't.  It also imparts accountability for our actions.  Sometimes, I think that you're draining me.  Sometimes, I want you at home.  Meanwhile, I cannot blame you my love.  Meanwhile, I'm sitting here alone.  Baduizm also speaks to what happens when you're on the receiving end of Sometimes.  In No Love, Badu engages a lover toying with her heart (clearly an Aquarius dragging his feet to admit reciprocity).  How can anyone be such a fool?  When you know you love me yes, you do.   As Erykah admits in 4 Leaf Clover, one must verbally profess their love in order to clear up any confusion.  It is important to keep in mind your value.  You are something special and anyone pursuing you should take their time in conquering your heart so that it may bring them good fortune for eternity.  Don't miss.

Toi Bly