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Waiting for Erykah Badu 

The singer returns to New Orleans at the Lakefront Arena May 28

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Whatever Is the opposite of selling out (buying in?), no artist in the new millennium personifies it more than Erykah Badu. Earning an immediate, unlimited cachet cache after her 1997 debut Baduizm went triple-platinum and blessed/cursed her with Billie Holiday comparisons, Badu reinvested her artistic net worth in getting loud and proudly weird — exploring per- sonal, political and stylistic protests on increasingly conceptual albums instead of cranking out "Tyrone" callbacks or plucking low-hanging fruit from "Appletree." In 2015, when she did get around to redialing "Tyrone," it was via a freebie mixtape (But You Caint Use My Phone) built around Drake's "Hotline Bling," but one that ditched the most petulant part of the ubiquitous megahit — namely, Drake — and staked it through the heart with Badu's freak flag. In the interminable wait for New Amerykah Part Three, she's dropped plenty of other satiating nibbles in the form of spotlight-hogging guest appearances on LPs by Flying Lotus, Tyler, The Creator, Bonobo, Janelle Monae and Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. This big-band tour, backed by an eight-deep crew featuring The Cannabinoids, multiple percussionists and a trio of backup singers (as well as local hip-hop hero Mannie Fresh on introductions), reminds us why the wait will be worth it. Tickets $69.50-$149.50.


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