Erykah Badu’s 7 Biggest Hits

Erykah Badu’s influence on modern music and culture is very evident in the current landscape of R&B music. A pioneer of the neo-soul movement, she is known for her distinct singing voice and eccentric style. Badu’s contributions to music in the late 1990s and 2000s have cemented her legacy as one of the most distinguished R&B singers. Her catalog of music is almost flawless, which HotNewHipHop recently highlighted in a ranking of her five studio albums. Badu has plenty of hits in her consistent discography, which fans celebrated as they flocked to attend her recent arena tour of North America. Below, we’ve ranked Erykah Badu’s 7 biggest hit songs. Take a look at the list below.

7. “Didn’t Cha Know?” (2000)

“Didn’t Cha Know?” is one of the most celebrated tracks in Erykah Badu’s catalog. The J Dilla-produced instrumental compliments her calming voice with its soothing sample of Tarika Blue’s “Dreamflower.” “Didn’t Cha Know?” is arguably one of the best songs in 2000’s Mama’s Gun, embodying the artistic chemistry between Badu and Dilla before his passing in 2006. The song peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs chart and has been sampled and referenced by hip-hop artists like J. Cole, Logic, and Smoke DZA. “Didn’t Cha Know?” was also nominated for Best R&B Song at the 2002 Grammy Awards.

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6. “Otherside Of The Game” (1997)

This cut from Erykah Badu’s 1997 debut album Baduizm is a slow and soulful ballad that incorporates elements of jazz. Produced by The Roots and Richard Nichols, “Otherside Of The Game” sees Badu playing the role of a woman expecting a baby with a man engaged in illegal activities. She explores her moral conflicts, thinking about her child’s future and the possible outcomes of her lifestyle. The six-minute long track peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs chart while placing at No. 14 on their R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart.

5. “Next Lifetime” (1997)

Much like “Otherside Of The Game,” “Next Lifetime” is a 6-minute ballad from Baduizm. The song sees Erykah Badu in a relationship while she expresses feelings for another man, torn between two love interests. She makes her decision, telling the other man that she will see him in the next lifetime. The song reached No. 1 positions on both Billboard’s Adult R&B chart and their R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart. It also charted in the UK, New Zealand, and The Netherlands.

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4. “Bag Lady” (2000)

The lead single from Mama’s Gun, “Bag Lady” puts Erykah Badu’s songwriting skills on full display. She sings about the emotional baggage that one carries with them in a relationship. Badu croons about dragging bags around in a literal sense while referring to the baggage that weighs one down. She encourages the bag lady to “pack light” and to let go of her worries and emotional traumas.

The single secured a No. 1 spot atop the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart while peaking at No. 2 on the Airplay and Adult R&B charts. “Bag Lady” also peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. The “Cheeba Sac Radio Edit” of the song reworked Badu’s vocals over Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive,” giving the song a hip-hop edge. In 2001, “Bag Lady” received two Grammy nominations for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.

3. “Tyrone” (1997)

While the majority of Erykah Badu’s biggest hit songs come from her first two critically acclaimed albums, one of her biggest hits is from a live recording. Erykah Badu completely improvised “Tyrone” during a performance in 1997, but now, people regard it as one of her most iconic songs. It is both quirky and soulful as she playfully sings with the help of her band and background singers. It may be a live performance, but “Tyrone” performed well on the charts, achieving No. 1 status on the Airplay and Adult R&B charts.

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2. “Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)” Ft. Common (2002)

One of Erykah Badu’s biggest hits comes from her third album, 2003’s Worldwide Underground. “Love of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)” was the second collaboration between Badu and Common and continues the theme of referring to hip hop as a love interest, which the latter had done on previous occasions. Common first likened his love for hip hop to that of a woman on his song “I Used To Love H.E.R.” and his verse on The Roots’ “Act Too (Love of My Life).” Produced by Raphael Saadiq, “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)” was quite successful, landing the No. 1 spot on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, #4 on Adult R&B Songs chart, as well as No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and the Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award.

1. “On & On” (1996)

Erykah Badu’s debut single remains her biggest hit to date and her only song to ever receive a gold certification, as well as a silver plaque in the UK. “On & On” showcases Erykah Badu’s unique artistry with the way she floats over the instrumental’s calming groove. A seminal song for the neo-soul movement of the 1990s, “On & On” saw a great amount of commercial success upon its release. The song peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as securing No. 1 spots on the R&B charts. It also performed well in international markets. Erykah Badu won her first Grammy Award for “On & On” in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category. It is also one of her most influential songs as it has been sampled numerous times by artists like Mac Miller, The Game, and Mos Def.

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