In honor of National Vinyl Day (August 12), we’re releasing Erykah Badu’s Worldwide Underground limited edition vinyl. Nineteen of those copies will be signed by Badu, in honor of the album’s upcoming 19th anniversary. Below, read some of her words about the project.
The inspiration was I thought I couldn’t write anymore. So I created a tour just to make up material onstage. It was called the Frustrated Artist Tour. It’s what spawned ‘Worldwide Underground.’
On the recording process:
We started recording at Electric Lady Studios in New York. I kinda had what people call ‘writer’s block,’ but I found out later it really wasn’t writer’s block. It was a downloading period when I was supposed to be quiet, listen and live.
We took it on a tour bus – we had a studio built on the bus. Whenever I would run into fellow musicians and friends, I would put them on the album.
On "Back in the Day":
Rashad Smith came with a sample that was really cool and he put drums to it. I was in the studio and would just freestyled, mumble rap a little bit, and then listen back and decode what I was saying.
"Back in the Day" was one of those things that we started at Electric Lady Studio..and it developed over time.
On “I Want You”:
“I Want You” started at my house in Dallas. It started with just me and James Poyser on the keyboard. It was inspired by this house song called “French Kiss,” where the music starts slow and then speeds up. Me and James just messed around until I came up with a melody. We finished it on the road.
We ended up in Europe and we were still working on 'Worldwide Underground.' We went to the studio in Europe and R.C. Williams came up with that track. He started it and James Poyser added a bridge to it. My brother was in the studio with me that day, my younger brother, Evan, and we were just messing around with lyrics and stuff to the song. It turned into "Danger," which was a spinoff of "Otherside of the Game" from 'Baduizm.'
On "Love of My Life Worldwide":
The "Love of My Life" version that you hear (on 'Worldwide Underground') is a remix. The remix interpolates a song called "Funk You Up" by a group from the '70s called The Sequence. The Sequence was Angie Stone, Cheryl The Pearl, and Blondy. They were the first girl rap group to be signed to Sugar Hill Records.
Angie Stone is a legend in the game and I was a fan of that song, "Funk You Up." It was like the girl "Rapper's Delight," so it would be considered mainstream hip-hop at that particular time. But I always liked the song and got Rashad Smith to do an interpolation of it. I invited Angie to sing on it, Queen Latifah and Bahamadia. I wanted it to be a nod to old school style hip-hop.
Everybody wrote their own little part to it, so it was really fun. We all sang the legendary hook, "Funk you right on up."