Erykah Badu has been hailed the Queen of Neo-Soul since her 1997 debut, Baduizm, but that didn’t stop Prince from telling her to step her music game up.
Recently, Badu sat down with Stretch and Bobbito for the season two premiere episode of their NPR podcast What's Good. Badu is a magical presence and doesn’t take herself too seriously as she cracked jokes about herself throughout the convo. The singer got giddy when speaking about one of the world’s greatest legends, Prince. “All the kids called me Apples, from fifth grade to 12th grade,” Badu told Stretch and Bobbito. “Prince had this movie that came out, Purple Rain, and there was a lady, Apollonia [Kotero], I was a Prince fanatic. And Apples was my short name for Apollonia.”
Badu then went into full details about the first time she met the late megastar. “He was my rhythm guitarist on stage at Paisley Park where I performed live with him,” Badu revealed. “He wanted to meet me and play with us on stage. He was an amazing human being. Real honest. And he liked to laugh, too, so we were just giggling and s**t, laughing at people. We kept in touch here and there over the years.”
Prince, a musical genius that played 27 instruments and penned a string of hits for Sinead O'Connor, Tom Jones, The Bangles, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Chaka Khan, shared his disappointment in one of Badu’s projects. “I remember I came out with [my third] album called Worldwide Underground [in 2003],” the singer said. “He came to one of my shows. I got in the limo with him and he said, ‘Now look, that's not nothing.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘That ain't finished, that's not nothing, you need to come on with it now. Whatchu doin', whatchu doin'?’ I was like ‘Oh, well, It's just a process. It's just like a little demo.’ He said, ‘It sure is.’ I said, ‘alright.’
Following its release, Worldwide Underground was certified Gold, selling 143,561 in its first week, and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, but didn’t have the cache as her Magnus Opus, Baduizm, which is currently 3x Platinum, or her sophomore follow up, Mama’s Gun, which also reached Platinum status. But aside from the music criticism, Prince still cared about Badu as an artist and a friend. “He was genuine. And he genuinely liked me. And other than talking about music from that album, Worldwide Underground, which he did not care for too much, we really didn’t talk about music too much. We just kinda talked about life.”
After the convo, the ageless singer paid a visit to NPR's "Tiny Desk" to perform "Rimshot" and "Green Eyes," proving she ain't the goat for nothin'. Prince would be proud. Check out her performance below.