Erykah Badu and Arabic Muslim Culture
with a controversial working album title, references and more
Erykah Badu is one of the most established Hip-Hop/Soul musicians in the United States as well internationally. She's been on the music scene for over 10 years with Grammy Award winning "On&On" chart topper to other multi-platinum albums of hers.
She was well recognised for her sincere sense in music, steering away from what's considered highly mainstream and commercial. She set for herself, regardless to what changes happen in the music industry around her, standards that she'd go by in creating her music.
Erykah has lately showed profound interest and support to Palestinian Hip Hop scene which led her into performing in Tel Aviv Convention Center as in tonight. She said that she's supporting them for using Hip-Hop as a form of Liberation - as she also expressed her views on the War in Iraq by sporting a t-shirt with "Out Of Iraq" slogan across the chest layered on Iraq's map.
When she was asked to name any Israeli hip-hop artists, she wasn't able to as she said she identified best with the Palestinian hip-hop scene, and called them to be part of her tribe.
What's more interesting about Erykah is her huge influence with the Arabic and Muslim culture, as for the promotional poster of the concert in Tel Aviv - following the illustrative style of all her latest promotional manifestos - it includes a large Khamsa (in Arabic خمسة ) which is used by Arabs in jewlery and others to protect from Hasad (envy) and the evil eye. With "Salam" in Arabic which means "Peace" as well as in Hebrew.
Erykah's yet-to-be-released album is now titled "New Amerykah", as the previous working title was "Kabbah" which could've gotten into complications and controversy for titling it after the name of the holiest place to the Muslim community.
Her song "The Healer" she is thought to say the following in her first verse "Um dee lee la Allah, Jehovah...". This accompanied her claims that hip hop is bigger than religion, as she noticed that it's becoming a common factor among a number of countries to voice themselves freely through hip-hop.
Also, aside from having promotional photographs wearing the keffiyya, shmagh or hatta, Erykah's latest music video "Honey" featured her own remakes of animated famous album covers all featuring her singing the song. One of the most interesting was her remake of the album art for "Perfect Angel" by Minnie Riperton. This as can be seen from the screencaps below, had a side label with random Arabic letters.