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But You Caint Use My Phone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But You Caint Use My Phone
Erykah Badu - But You Caint Use My Phone.png
Mixtape by Erykah Badu
Released November 27, 2015 (2015-11-27)
Recorded 2015
Studio The Badudio, World Witness Studios (Dallas, Texas)
Genre
Length 36:05
Label
Producer
  • Erykah Badu
  • Zach Witness
  • Aubrey Davis
Erykah Badu chronology
New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)
(2010)
But You Caint Use My Phone
(2015)

But You Caint Use My Phone is a mixtape by American singer Erykah Badu. It was released on November 27, 2015, by Motown and Control Freaq. Following the release of New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (2010), Badu embarked on a five-year hiatus, during which she traveled to Africa in an attempt to record new music, though this never surfaced. After receiving a remix of "Bag Lady" from producer Zach Witness, Badu contacted him in order to record with him. Shortly thereafter, the pair met again and went to Witness's home in Dallas, Texas, and worked in his bedroom studio, where they recorded the album in 11 days. The mixtape features a sole appearance from André 3000.

Described by Badu as "TRap & B", the mixtape takes influence from hip hop, R&B, jazz, and art rock, with lyrics that focus on the themes of communication, notably through phones, with lyrics that touch upon ideas of "missed connections, call waiting, answering machines". The mixtape debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200, generating 35,000 album-equivalent units in its first week.[1]

Background

After releasing New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) (2008) and New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (2010), Badu was expected to release the third album in the series. However, Badu embarked on a five-year hiatus instead. In May 2013, Badu announced she was writing for her next project, but she was not placing a time constraint on it.[2] In July 2014, Badu revealed she was still working on the album and had been recording in April in Africa, where she was "laying down drum tracks". She continued to reveal that prior to her trip to Africa she has meetings with her record label to set a deadline for the album.[3] Later that year Badu expanded on the album, stating she was working with producer Flying Lotus, whom she met via Myspace years earlier; they later met in Los Angeles at guitarist Steve Wilson's house.[4]

Recording

The mixtape was recorded over 11 days in Badu's hometown Dallas
The mixtape was recorded over 11 days in Badu's hometown Dallas

The mixtape developed from a rewrite of rapper Drake's single "Hotline Bling", which Badu posted on SoundCloud.[5] Zach Witness, also known as White Chocolate, was the mixtape's key producer. He did a remix of Badu's single "Bag Lady" and sent the remix through social media to Badu.[6] Shortly thereafter, Badu decided to do a remix of Drake's 2015 single "Hotline Bling" and considered working with Witness. In the same week, Witness visited one of Badu's events where the pair exchanged numbers. The following week, the pair met again and went to Witness's home in Dallas, Texas, working in his bedroom studio.[7]

The pair worked in his room for 11 days where they recorded the whole project; for two of the days Witness produced, reproduced, mixed, and mastered the project, while Badu recorded her vocals in one take for each song.[7] The recording sessions were also visited by featured artists André 3000 and Aubrey Davis, where they coined the genre of the mixtape "TRap & B".[8] During post-production, Badu and Witness focused on creating "sympathetic vibrations" between the music's frequency and vibration, utilizing a tuning fork and Tibetan singing bowls to find the precise wavelengths.[8] Speaking on the post-production process, Badu stated, "It was fun, easy. I used tuning forks and singing bowls in the music in post production, just trying to create some frequencies that felt really good that I always use in all of my works. I wanted to make sure I implanted those things here too."[9]

Music and lyrics

Described by Badu as "TRap & B", she attempted to create "a sound that brings peace and tranquility to its listener."[8] A press release for the mixtape described it has having "weaves" of Badu's soulful vocals with psychedelic soundscapes, hip hop-inflected beats, smooth R&B, jazz, and art rock.[10] The mixtape focuses on the themes of communication, notably through phones, with lyrics that touch upon ideas of "missed connections, call waiting, answering machines".[5]

But You Caint Use My Phone takes its title from a line in Badu's 1997 song "Tyrone".[11] Themes of modern-day phone obsession appear throughout the project. Badu claims to have been "initiated into a new frequency" by listening to Toronto artists like Drake and The Weeknd, and felt incorporating that sound was "totally necessary for [her] evolution."[12]

Release and promotion

Badu released the mixtape on November 27, 2015, and made it available for digital download and streaming exclusively through Apple Music.[8] After one week of exclusive release on iTunes, But You Caint Use My Phone was released to other digital retailers and streaming services on December 4, 2015.[13] The mixtape was released without the knowledge of her label Universal, due to Badu releasing the record straight to iTunes. It also marked Badu's first release under her own record label, Control Freaq.[9] Prior to the mixtape's release, Badu appeared on The Tonight Show on November 20, 2015, where she performed "Phone Down" and previewed new material in and out of commercial breaks.[14] On November 25, 2016, a limited-edition LP of the mixtape was released as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday exclusive releases.[15]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[16]
Clash8/10[17]
Consequence of SoundB[18]
Exclaim!8/10[19]
Now4/5[20]
Pitchfork8.1/10[21]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[11]
Spin8/10[22]
Vice(2-star Honorable Mention)[23]

But You Caint Use My Phone received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on nine reviews.[24] Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork wrote that the mixtape "feels off-the-cuff, yet also steeped in history and wisdom."[21] Kyle Mullin of Exclaim! praised it as "a fantastic collection of songs, and while Badu has dubbed the release a mixtape, it's as strong, cohesive and consistent as any proper soul LP put out in recent memory."[19]

Parris O'Loughlin-Hoste of Clash commented, "Despite the continuing theme the mixtape is [sic] no way disappoints, exuding a level of excitement and appreciation of a body of work that Erykah displays both through music and her own style."[17] Jason Gubbels of Spin opined that "what's most charming about But You Caint Use My Phone is how unpretentiously Badu comports herself, ever-mindful that one of her most special qualities as a vocalist remains her ability to entwine the resilient with the goofy."[22] Kevin Ritchie of Now noted the mixtape's production as "experimental and improvisational but familiar", adding, "When [Badu] puts her psychedelic soul spin on the trappy drums of today (what she calls trap&B), it's the sound of an artist embracing change and all the new possibilities and complications that go with it."[20]

Chuck Arnold of Rolling Stone felt that the mixtape "may be initially frustrating to those longing for a real album (and real, full songs), but it's full of rewards for deep listening."[11] In a less enthusiastic review, Andy Kellman of AllMusic dubbed the mixtape "a trivial if fun diversion".[16] Robert Christgau named "Dial'Afreaq" and "Hello" as highlights while writing in his column for Vice, "this free concept mini isn't the armed takedown of the distraction engine we need, but it's good to have those bee statistics out in memeland."[23] Slant Magazine placed But You Caint Use My Phone at number 15 on its list of The 25 Best Albums of 2015, stating it is "the closest Badu has gotten to pure artistic improvisation since her underrated, amorphous jam session Worldwide Underground."[25]

Track listing

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Caint Use My Phone (Suite)"
 3:34
2."Hi"
  • Badu
  • Witness
0:35
3."Cel U Lar Device"
  • Badu
  • Witness
6:28
4."Phone Down"
  • Badu
  • Aubrey Davis
  • Witness
  • Jeremy Rose
  • Badu
  • Witness
3:28
5."U Use to Call Me"DavisDavis1:13
6."Mr. Telephone Man"Ray Parker, Jr.
  • Badu
  • Witness
3:11
7."U Don't Have to Call"Witness2:00
8."What's Yo Phone Number / Telephone (Ghost of Screw Mix)"
  • Badu
  • Witness
5:10
9."Dial'Afreaq"
  • Badu
  • Witness
3:10
10."I'll Call U Back"
  • Badu
  • Witness
  • Thomas
  • Badu
  • Witness
1:57
11."Hello" (featuring André 3000)
  • Badu
  • Witness
5:19

Sample credits[26]

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the Record Store Day exclusive LP release of But You Caint Use My Phone.[26]

  • Erykah Badu – vocals (all tracks); production (tracks 2–4, 6, 8–11); agogô bells (tracks 3, 7, 9); executive production
  • André 3000 – vocals (track 11)
  • Aubrey Davis – production, programming (track 5)
  • FreeqLab Studio – art direction, design
  • Ben Hixon – guitar (tracks 2, 3, 10, 11)
  • ItsRoutine – vocals (tracks 5, 7, 8)
  • Robert Vosgien – mastering
  • RC Williams – Rhodes (tracks 2, 11)
  • Zach Witness – engineering, mixing (all tracks); drums (tracks 2, 11); production, programming (tracks 2–4, 6–11); Rhodes (tracks 3, 10)
  • Ethan Worland – drums (tracks 3, 10)

Charts

References

  1. ^ Caulfield, Keith (December 10, 2015). "Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Pentatonix & 47 More Holiday Albums Shine Bright on List". Billboard. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu Open Up About New Projects". Vibe. May 29, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (July 8, 2014). "Erykah Badu on that next record, playing casinos and Dave Chappelle's epic 'Block Party'". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on October 15, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  4. ^ Fennessey, Sean (November 3, 2011). "The Survivors: Erykah Badu". GQ. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Greene, Jayson (November 30, 2015). "Erykah Badu: "Hello" [ft. André 3000] (The Isley Brothers Cover)". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  6. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (April 25, 2016). "Godmother of Soul". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 23, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Monroe, Jazz (November 26, 2015). "Erykah Badu Talks New Mixtape, Mixes Thundercat, Deerhoof, Toro Y Moi, More on Beats 1". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Stream: Erykah Badu's new mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone". Consequence of Sound. November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Kennedy, Gerrick D. (November 27, 2015). "Erykah Badu talks 'But You Cain't Use My Phone' from inside a party bus". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  10. ^ DeVille, Chris (November 27, 2015). "Stream Erykah Badu's But You Caint Use My Phone Mixtape Feat. André 3000". Stereogum. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c Arnold, Chuck (December 10, 2015). "But You Caint Use My Phone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  12. ^ Jenkins, Brandon (November 25, 2015). "Erykah Badu Discusses Her New Mixtape, Relationship with Drake, and Twitter Jokes". Complex. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  13. ^ Platon, Adelle (November 27, 2015). "Erykah Badu Calls In Andre 3000 on 'But You Caint Use My Phone' Mixtape". Billboard. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  14. ^ Young, Alex (November 21, 2015). "Erykah Badu sits in with The Roots, previews her new mixtape on Jimmy Fallon — watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 30, 2015. 
  15. ^ Minsker, Evan (October 25, 2016). "Erykah Badu Releasing But You Caint Use My Phone on Vinyl". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "But You Caint Use My Phone – Erykah Badu". AllMusic. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b O'Loughlin-Hoste, Parris (December 9, 2015). "Erykah Badu – But You Cain't Use My Phone". Clash. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  18. ^ Ramirez, Alejandra (December 9, 2015). "Erykah Badu – But You Caint Use My Phone". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Mullin, Kyle (December 10, 2015). "Erykah Badu: But You Caint Use My Phone". Exclaim!. Retrieved December 17, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b Ritchie, Kevin (December 2, 2015). ">>> Album of the week: Erykah Badu". Now. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (December 1, 2015). "Erykah Badu: But You Caint Use My Phone". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 1, 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Gubbels, Jason (December 1, 2015). "Review: Erykah Badu Continues R&B's Longtime Game of Telephone on 'But You Caint Use My Phone'". Spin. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 25, 2016). "Stoned Soul Quick Picks: Expert Witness with Robert Christgau". Vice. Retrieved October 14, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Reviews for But You Cain't Use My Phone [Mixtape] by Erykah Badu". Metacritic. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  25. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 2015". Slant Magazine. December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b But You Caint Use My Phone (Record Store Day exclusive LP liner notes). Erykah Badu. Motown. 2016. B0025475-01. 
  27. ^ "Ultratop.be – Erykah Badu – But You Caint Use My Phone" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  28. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  29. ^ "Erykah Badu Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  30. ^ "Erykah Badu Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  31. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 2016". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2016. 

External links

This page was last edited on 26 August 2018, at 11:47
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