Erykah Badu Recalls the Time Prince Hated Her Album
Badu sat down with Stretch and Bobbito for the Season 2 premiere episode of their NPR podcast What's Good. Badu doesn’t take things too seriously as she cracked jokes about herself throughout the conversation. She got absolutely giddy when speaking about Prince. “All the kids called me Apples, from fifth grade to 12th grade,” Badu told Stretch and Bobbito. “Prince had this movie that came out, Purple Rain, and there was a lady, Apollonia [Kotero], I was a Prince fanatic. And Apples was my short name for Apollonia.”
Badu then went into full details about the first time they met. “He was my rhythm guitarist on stage at Paisley Park where I performed live with him,” Badu revealed. “He wanted to meet me and play with us on stage. He was an amazing human being. Real honest. And he liked to laugh, too, so we were just giggling and shit, laughing at people. We kept in touch here and there over the years.”
A musical genius, Prince played 27 instruments and penned a string of hits for Sinead O'Connor, Tom Jones, The Bangles, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Chaka Khan. But he shared his disappointment in one of Badu’s projects. “I remember I came out with [my third] album called Worldwide Underground [in 2003],” the singer said. “He came to one of my shows. I got in the limo with him and he said, ‘Now look, that's not nothing.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘That ain't finished, that's not nothing, you need to come on with it now. Whatchu doin', whatchu doin'?’ I was like ‘Oh, well, it's just a process. It's just like a little demo.’ He said, ‘It sure is.’ I said, ‘alright.’
Worldwide Underground was eventually certified gold, selling 143,561 in its first week and peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Still, it didn’t have the cache as her multi-platinum magnum opus Baduizm or her the follow up Mama’s Gun, which also reached platinum status. However things turned out, Badu said Prince still cared about her as an artist and a friend. “He was genuine, and he genuinely liked me," she said. "And other than talking about music from that album, Worldwide Underground, which he did not care for too much, we really didn’t talk about music too much. We just kinda talked about life.”
Badu later paid a visit to NPR's Tiny Desk to perform "Rimshot" and "Green Eyes." Prince would be proud. Check out her performance below.
Watch Erykah Badu's Tiny Desk Concert