Erykah Badu performs to sold out crowd at 2015 Taste of Chicago; Declares Hip Hop is a way of life
By: Eleanor L. Smith (Cherish the Soul Entertainment)
Erykah Badu–award winning singer/songwriter, producer and activist graced the stage at the Petrillo Music Shell and performed her hits to a sold out crowd of thousands. Badu was one of the featured artists there at the city’s iconic culinary festival. Fans not only got the pleasure of sampling over 200 menu items from 60 food vendors, but jammed the night away to the queen of neo soul who, of course, delivered as usual.
After her introduction by the Master of Ceremonies, all you could hear was the smooth sound of stepping music from the band. Pure excitement was in the air because the empress was about to walk onto the stage. Dressed in casual attire complete with tribal feathers adorning her shoulders, Badu sauntered boldly to her microphone, and her rich, honey dipped vocal styling soared through the summer air creating a magnificent musical experience. At first sight, the audience roared with cheers and screams complete with ‘We love you Erykah!’. After giving that bluesy, melodic rift with a few lines, she acknowledged the city who surrounded her, the sea of Badu lovers that flowed from the front of the stage way to the back where the free lawn seats were available. ‘CHICAGOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!’, she screamed while lifting her arms in the air as if to say, ‘I am home! Here I am! I came to give it to you!’ The crowd went nuts and soon, the Baduizm Summer block party began.It was a familial atmosphere; with every lyric belted out, the audience sang along knowing every line, harmony and rhythmic pattern that is Erykah Badu’s artistry. Her energy and magnetism gave the music its perfection as she sang live, acoustic renditions of her hits such as ‘On and On’, ‘Appletree’ and ‘Cleva’.
Badu, who also goes by the name DJ Loretta Brown, gave the audience exactly what they wanted–a soulful performance complete with compelling food for thought nuggets she dropped every now and then between songs. “Hip Hop is not just about what you do, it is a way of life,” she commanded, opening the eyes of everyone there-young, and older, seasoned individuals. She shared a part of who she is as a mother, visionary and overall 360 degree life believer with humorous banter that showcased her down to earth persona–and the audience felt the magic and connectivity instantly.
We didn’t want her to leave the stage and as soon as the words ‘Goodnight Chicago!’ came out of her mouth, in unison, people shouted, ‘ONE MORE!’ Erykah giggled, gave band introductions that included her sister who served as one of her background singers, and then we heard our all time favorite, the golden one, ‘Tyrone’. It was a wrap. Everyone, already out of their seats, sang along with her, laughed with her and cheered so loudly that you couldn’t even hear yourself think. Badu expressed her appreciation and left the stage just as she is–peace and love.