For nearly two decades, Erykah Badu has been one of the most unique and essential voices in popular soul and hip-hop music. From breaking through with the multi-platinum Baduizm in 1997 and changing the sound of R&B radio to the increasingly political and avant-garde leanings of her New Amerykah albums, she has remained a restlessly daring creative force and a fiercely unique vocalist.
No longer pigeonholed with the “neo-soul” tag or early comparisons to Billie Holiday, Erykah Badu is an artist whose body of work has gotten richer and more complex with time. Even though she hasn’t released a new album or single in nearly five years, she remains as relevant as ever. And just as she has reemerged from previous lengthy hiatuses, we’ll be ready to listen whenever she comes back with a new track. In the meantime, these are the best Erykah Badu songs from her solo releases, with a tip of the hat to some of the great collaborations that she’s done with contemporaries like the Roots and OutKast.