Stand Up (Ludacris song)
"Stand Up" is a song by Ludacris, released as the second official single in 2003, taken from his fourth album, Chicken-n-Beer. It was his first number-one single, with production by Kanye West and co-production by Ludacris himself; the chorus consists of three repetitions of Ludacris rapping, "When I move, you move" and Shawnna responding, "Just like that?" After three repetitions, Ludacris says, "Hell, yeah! Hey, DJ, bring that back." Shawnna says, "When I move, you move" and Ludacris says "Just like that?" and they trade parts of the chorus. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of December 6, 2003, topped the R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart for four weeks, making it the rapper's first #1 on both charts respectively. Ludacris went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance; this song was featured on the 2004 compilation album Now That's What I Call Music! 15. The song made a reappearance in a commercial for the all-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz A Class Sedan that appeared during Super Bowl LIII on February 3, 2019.
The commercial featured Ludacris himself performing the song at an opera, featured Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner and Free Willy. A music video was made for the song, directed by Dave Meyers. Ludacris raps at a night club with many bizarre elements, such as a huge beer bottle, which he drinks from, a giant sneaker that he wears, disabled people in wheelchairs dancing, a woman whose behind grows to a humungous proportion after kissing Luda and another woman as toddlers, much more, with scenes alluding to the song's lyrics. Chingy, Katt Williams, 2 Chainz, Scooter Braun, Kanye West, Tyra Banks & Lauren London made cameo appearances on the video. An official remix was recorded, in which Ludacris' third verse was removed and replaced with a verse from Kanye West; the remix appeared on the Akademiks: JeaniusLevelMusikKanye West Vol. 2 & Kon The Louis Vuitton Don mixtapes. Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine covered the song as a lounge-style version on his 2004 album I'd Like a Virgin.
Ludacris made a remix of the song for the Atlanta Falcons. Ludacris used this song to mix it with "Sweet Dreams" in a faster tone in some club radio stations. "Stand Up" Official music video on YouTube
Miss You (Aaliyah song)
"Miss You" is a song by American recording artist Aaliyah. Written by Johnta Austin and Teddy Bishop in 1998 and recorded in the fall of 1999 for her self-titled third studio album, the track remained unreleased. Instead, it was included on the posthumously released compilation album, I Care 4 U, serving as its leading single during the last quarter of 2002; the ballad received positive reviews from contemporary music critics and achieved a strong charting throughout Europe and other worldwide regions, reaching the top twenty in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland. On the US Billboard charts, the song peaked on top of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and reached number three on the Hot 100, becoming Aaliyah's highest-charting single after her 2000 number-one hit "Try Again" featuring Timbaland; the music video for the song was directed by Darren Grant and featured tributes by Aaliyah's friends and collaborators, including DMX, Missy Elliott, Static Major. It received a nomination for Best R&B Video at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
Rapper Jay-Z made a tribute to Aaliyah using the "Miss You" instrumental and chorus for its official remix version in Summer 2003. "Miss You" was written by Johnta Austin and Teddy Bishop. It was fall of 1999, while Aaliyah was recording tracks for self-titled third album in the Manhattan Center Studios, she requested Austin and Bishop to play her a couple of tracks they had produced with other artists, including "I Miss You" for which Ginuwine had lent his vocals. Bishop commented, "She was like,'I want to cut this record' She got on the phone, called him and said'Hey I know you cut this record but I would love to cut it'." Ginuwine, a part writer on the song, allowed her to cut her own version of it and the same night, Aaliyah re-recorded the whole track. Though she wanted to put the song out herself, Blackground Records, her label, felt the song was no "smash record" and thus, the song was left unused until her death in August 2001. Slant Magazine called the single "Aaliyah-lite". MusicOMH.com called the single the best new song of the album as well as stating "poignant lyrics... mix well with a thoughtful, laid back tune."
Allmusic—while mentioning the single with the song "All I Need"—said that they "don't have the edge of her classic Timbaland productions, but they stand up well — when they're slotted next to the best songs of her career." Michael Paoletta from Billboard praised both Aaliyah's vocals and the song, saying: "Miss You is yet another showcase of a talent, taken too soon." He said: "The singer's breathy alto floats over a sensual, bass-heavy track, courtesy of Teddy Bishop". Damien Scott from Complex felt that song "is a masterstroke in lovelorn yearning with Aaliyah spilling tears over a lost love, it made sense that it was one of her last tracks, as it summed up the way her family and fans felt upon her passing". James Poletti from dotmusic described the song as "deep'n' honeyed sweetness" and he felt that Aaliyah "evokes shuddering sensuality in every syllable", it reached number three. It was ranked eight on the year-end chart of the Billboard Hot 100 and ranked three on the year-end chart of Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
In the week of November 22, 2008, the song debuted at number thirty-eight on the Top Ringtone chart, over five years after its original release. The music video for the song was directed by Darren Grant and featured tributes by Aaliyah's friends and collaborators, including DMX, Missy Elliott, Toni Braxton, Static Major, various others; the video shot in two locations, Long Island City, New York, Los Angeles, California. Tweet, Lil' Kim and Lil' Jon were among those who came to the Long Island shoot. Jamie Foxx, DMX, Ananda Lewis were some of the celebrities who appeared at the L. A. shoot. The music video begins with various artists saddened over Aaliyah's death with DMX delivering a message to his dear friend Aaliyah with the words: "Dearest, sweet Aaliyah, I have trouble accepting the fact that you’re gone... so I won’t. It’ll be like... we went for a while without seeing each other. But I can understand why God would've wanted you close to Him, cause you were an angel on earth... in my own special way..
I love you and miss you” Between cuts clips from Aaliyah's early videos and her cameos in other artists' videos were used. Aaliyah merchandise appeared in the video. "Miss You" landed at #23 on BET: Notarized Top 100 videos of 2003. Video on YouTube Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn, better known by his stage name Common, is an American rapper and philanthropist. Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? and maintained an underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. Common's first major-label album Like Water for Chocolate received commercial success. In 2003, he won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song for the Erykah Badu single "Love of My Life", his 2005 album Be was a commercial success and was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Common received his second Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Southside", from his 2007 album Finding Forever, his best-of album, Thisisme Then: The Best of Common, was released in late 2007. In 2011, Common launched Think his own record label imprint, he had released music under various other labels including Relativity, GOOD Music. Common won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song "Glory" from the 2014 film Selma, in which he co-starred as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel.
Common's acting career includes roles in the films Smokin' Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, Just Wright, Happy Feet Two, New Year's Eve, Run All Night, Being Charlie, John Wick: Chapter 2 and Smallfoot. He narrated the documentary Bouncing Cats, about one man's efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda through hip-hop/b-boy culture, he starred as Elam Ferguson on the AMC western television series Hell on Wheels. Lonnie Rashid Lynn was born on March 13, 1972 at the Chicago Osteopathic Hospital in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, the son of educator Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines and former ABA basketball player turned youth counselor Lonnie Lynn Jr, he was raised in the Calumet Heights neighborhood. Lynn's parents divorced when he was six years old, resulting in his father moving to Denver, Colorado; this left Lynn to be raised by his mother. While a student at Luther High School South in Chicago, along with two of his friends formed C. D. R. A rap trio that opened for acts such as N.
W. A and Big Daddy Kane. Lynn attended Florida A&M University for two years under a scholarship and majored in business administration. After being featured in the Unsigned Hype column of The Source magazine, Lynn debuted in 1992 with the single "Take It EZ", followed by the album Can I Borrow a Dollar?, under stage name Common Sense. With the 1994 release of Resurrection, Common Sense achieved a much larger degree of critical acclaim, which extended beyond Chicago natives; the album sold well and received a strong positive reaction among alternative and underground hip hop fans at the time. Resurrection was Common Sense's last album produced entirely by his long-time production partner, No I. D. who would become a mentor to a young Kanye West. In 1996, Common Sense appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, America Is Dying Slowly, alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan, Fat Joe, among many other prominent hip hop artists; the CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, was heralded as "a masterpiece" by The Source magazine.
He would also contribute to the Red Hot Organization's Fela Kuti tribute album, Red Hot and Riot in 2002. He collaborated with Djelimady Tounkara on a remake of Kuti's track, "Years of Tears and Sorrow"; the song "I Used to Love H. E. R." from Resurrection ignited a feud with West Coast rap group Westside Connection. The lyrics of the song criticized the path hip hop music was taking, utilizing a metaphor of a woman to convey hip hop and were interpreted by some as directing blame towards the popularity of West Coast gangsta rap. Westside Connection first responded with the 1995 song "Westside Slaughterhouse," with the lyrics "Used to love H. E. R. Mad cause I fucked her". "Westside Slaughterhouse" mentioned Common Sense by name, prompting the rapper to respond with the scathing Pete Rock-produced attack song "The Bitch in Yoo". Common Sense and Westside Connection continued to insult each other back and forth before meeting with Louis Farrakhan and setting aside their dispute. Following the popularity of Resurrection, Common Sense was sued by an Orange County-based reggae band with the same name, was forced to shorten his moniker to Common.
Scheduled for an October 1996 release, Common released his third album, One Day It'll All Make Sense, in September 1997. The album took a total of two years to complete and included collaborations with artists such as Lauryn Hill, De La Soul, Q-Tip, Black Thought, Chantay Savage, Questlove – a future fellow member of the Soulquarians outfit; the album, which made a point of eschewing any gangsterism, was critically acclaimed and led to a major label contract with MCA Records. In addition to releasing One Day, Common's first child, daughter Omoye Assata Lynn, was born shortly after the release of the album; as documented by hip-hop journalist Raquel Cepeda, in the liner notes for the album, this event had a profound spiritual and mental effect on Common and enabled him to grow musically while becoming more responsible as an artist. She writes: Rashid found out that he was going to become a daddy in about 8 months. Stunned and confused, Rashid had life-altering decisions to make with Kim Jones.
The situation led to the composition of his favorite cut on O
"21 Questions" is a song recorded by American rapper 50 Cent featuring American rapper Nate Dogg. The song was written by Nick Corrado for 50 Cent's commercial debut studio album, Get Rich or Die Tryin'; the song was charted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. When producer Dr. Dre worked with 50 Cent on his debut album, he did not want the song on the album. According to 50 Cent, "Dre was, like,'How you goin' to be gangsta this and that and put this sappy love song on?'" 50 Cent responded saying, "I'm two people. I've always had to be two people. To me that's not diversity, it's necessity." This was the only single from the album to not have a Parental Advisory label on its cover. The music video for "21 Questions" was directed by Damon Johnson, Dr. Dre and Phillip Atwell in March 2003, it depicts 50 Cent arrested and confined to prison, where he tries to keep in touch with his girlfriend, played by Meagan Good. In prison, he is harassed by a rival inmate; the video ends with a continuation of the beginning, showing 50 Cent and his girlfriend watching from their home as the police arrest Beckford instead.
The video has cameo appearances by Nate Dogg and G-Unit members Lloyd Banks and Young Buck as other inmates. Nate Dogg provides the chorus and the outro; the video concept can be originated from Nate Dogg's "Never Leave Me Alone". On April 15, 2003, the video debuted on MTV's Total Request Live at number six, reached number one two days and stayed on the chart for 50 days, it reached number two on the MuchMusic video charts. Official remixes of the single includes featured artists among the likes of Nate Dogg, Monica and Lil' Mo, all of whom have either rapped or sung their own verses over the song's instrumentals. "21 Answers" is a remix by Lil' Mo and former 106 & Park co-host Free, released as an'answer track' to "21 Questions." Kevin "Dirty Swift" Risto, one-half of Midi Mafia penned the idea of creating a female response record. The song premiered on New York's Hot 97 radio station—resulting in numerous rotations on various radio stations around the country—and debuted on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at number 77.
Although the song went on to spend eleven weeks on the chart based on airplay, it failed to see a release on Lil' Mo's sophomore album Meet the Girl Next Door, due to the song not being finalized in time to meet the album's deadline. However, because of Elektra Records' 2004 merging with Atlantic, the song appeared on the 2011 re-release of Meet the Girl Next Door. UK CD single"21 Questions" - 3:44 "Soldier - 3:18 "21 Questions" - 4:54 "21 Questions" - 3:49French CD single"21 Questions" - 3:44 "21 Answers" - 4:03 Producer: Dirty Swift of Midi Mafia Mixed by: Dr. Dre Recorded by: Sha Money XL and Maurico "Veto" Iragorri Protool edits by: Carlise Young Assisted by: Ruben Rivera 50 Cent's official site "21 Questions" Official music video on YouTube Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
Alicia Augello Cook, known professionally as Alicia Keys, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and philanthropist. A classically-trained pianist, Keys was composing songs by age 12 and was signed at 15 years old by Columbia Records. After disputes with the label, she signed with Arista Records, released her debut album, Songs in A Minor, with J Records in 2001; the album was critically and commercially successful, producing her first Billboard Hot 100 number-one single "Fallin'" and selling over 12 million copies worldwide. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, was a critical and commercial success, spawning successful singles "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You", "Diary", selling eight million copies worldwide. The album garnered her an additional four Grammy Awards, her duet "My Boo" with Usher became her second number-one single in 2004. Keys released her first live album and became the first woman to have an MTV Unplugged album debut at number one.
Her third album, As I Am, produced the Hot 100 number-one single "No One", selling 5 million copies worldwide and earning an additional three Grammy Awards. In 2007, Keys made her film debut in the action-thriller film Smokin' Aces. She, along with Jack White, recorded "Another Way To Die", her fourth album, The Element of Freedom, became her first chart-topping album in the UK, sold 4 million copies worldwide. In 2009, Keys collaborated with Jay Z on "Empire State of Mind", which became her fourth number-one single and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Girl on Fire was her fifth Billboard 200 topping album, spawning the successful title track, won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. In 2013, VH1 Storytellers was released as her second live album, her sixth studio album, became her seventh US R&B/Hip-Hop chart topping album. Keys has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including 15 competitive Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, 12 ASCAP Awards, an award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame and National Music Publishers Association.
She has sold over 65 million records worldwide. Considered a musical icon, Keys was named by Billboard the top R&B artist of the 2000s decade and placed number 10 on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. VH1 included her on their 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and 100 Greatest Women in Music lists, while Time has named her in their 100 list of most influential people in 2005 and 2017. Keys is acclaimed for her humanitarian work and activism, she co-founded and is the Global Ambassador of the nonprofit HIV/AIDS-fighting organization Keep a Child Alive. Alicia Augello Cook was born on January 25, 1981, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City's Manhattan borough, she is the only child of Teresa, a paralegal and part-time actress, one of three children of Craig Cook, a flight attendant. Keys' father is African her mother is of Sicilian and either Scottish or Irish descent. Named after her Puerto Rican godmother, Keys expressed that she was comfortable with her multiracial heritage because she felt she was able to "relate to different cultures".
Keys' father left when she was two and she was subsequently raised by her mother during her formative years in Hell's Kitchen. Keys said her parents never had a relationship, her father was not in her life. Although she did not like to speak about her father in order to not feed stereotypes, Keys remarked in 2001: "I'm not in contact with him. That's fine; when I was younger, I minded about that. Made me angry, but it helped show me what a strong woman my mother was, made me want to be strong like her. It was better for me this way." Keys and her mother lived in a one-room apartment. Her mother worked three jobs to provide for Keys, who "learned how to survive" from her mother's example of tenacity and self-reliance. From a young age, Keys struggled with self-esteem issues, "hiding" little by little when her differences made her vulnerable to judgement, uninvited sexual attention. Living in the rough neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen, she was, from an early age exposed to street violence, drugs and subjected to sexual propositions in the sex trade- and crime-riddled area.
"I saw a variety of people growing up, lifestyles and highs. I think it makes you realise right away what you want and what you don't want", Keys said. Keys recalled feeling fearful early on of the "animal instinct" she witnessed, feeling "high" due to recurrent harassment, her experiences in the streets had led her to carry a homemade knife for protection. She became wary guarded, she began wearing gender-neutral clothing and what would become her trademark cornrows. Keys explained that she is grateful for growing up where she did as it prepared her for the parallels in the music industry as she was a teenager starting out, she credits her "tough" mother for anchoring her on a right path as opposed to many people she knew who ended up on the wrong path and in jail. Keys attributed her unusual maturity as a young girl to her mother, who depended on her to be responsible while she worked to provide for them and give Keys as many opportunities as possible. Keys loved singing from early childhood.
She recalled her mother playing jazz records of artists like Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on Sunday mornings, early musical moments Keys considers i
Sean Paul Francis Henriques is a Jamaican dancehall singer and record producer. Most of his albums have been nominated for the Grammy's Best Reggae Album, with Dutty Rock winning the award, his two hit singles "Get Busy" and "Temperature" topped charts in the United States. Sean Paul has been featured in many other hit singles including chart-toppers "Baby Boy" by Beyoncé, "What About Us" by The Saturdays, "Rockabye" by Clean Bandit. Sean Paul was born in Jamaica, to parents Garth and Frances, his mother is a painter. His paternal grandfather emigrated from Portugal and his paternal grandmother was Afro-Jamaican. Sean Paul was raised as a Catholic. Many members of his family are swimmers, his grandfather was on the first Jamaican men's national water polo team. His father played water polo for the team in the 1960s, competed in long-distance swimming, while Paul's mother was a butterfly swimmer. Paul played for the national water polo team from the age of 13 to 21, when he gave up the sport in order to launch his musical career.
He attended Wolmer's Boys' School and the College of Arts and Technology, now known as the University of Technology, where he was trained in commerce with an aim of pursuing an occupation in swimming. In 2012, Paul married his longtime girlfriend a Jamaican TV host. In August 2016, it was announced. On 26 February 2017, Sean Paul announced the birth of Levi Blaze. Manager and producer Jeremy Harding heard about Sean Paul when Harding's brother told him about seeing someone at a small open mic event in Kingston who sounded a lot like the dancehall DJ and toaster Super Cat. Harding met the singer when Paul came by his studio to ask for some advice. During the meeting Paul recorded a vocal over Harding's rhythm track and in the process created the song "Baby Girl". Paul began hanging out at the studio every day, the pair collaborated on several more tracks; when they recorded "Infiltrate" they decided. As Sean Paul started to attract local attention, Harding began looking after his affairs, he told HitQuarters that his support of Paul's fledgling career led him assuming the roles of "DJ, road manager and security guard."
Paul made a cameo appearance in the 1998 film Belly on stage performing. He made a successful collaboration with DMX and Mr. Vegas, "Top Shotter", to the soundtrack of the film. In 2000, Paul released Stage One with VP Records. In 2002, Sean Paul continued his work with manager/producer Jeremy Harding, after a joint venture deal with his label VP Records and Atlantic Records, announced the release of his second album, Dutty Rock. Pushed by the success of the singles "Gimme the Light" and the Billboard Hot 100 topper, "Get Busy", the album was a worldwide success selling over six million copies; the album Dutty Rock won the Reggae Album of the year at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards in 2004. "Get Busy" was nominated for best Rap Song in that year. Sean Paul was heard on Beyoncé's U. S. #1 single "Baby Boy" and Blu Cantrell's "Breathe", a chart hit in Europe. Both helped to push his reputation further still in the United States, he appeared on Punk'd, 106 & Park, Sean Paul Respect, Making the Video and his music videos have been broadcast on MTV and BET.
Paul's third album The Trinity was released on 27 September 2005. The album produced five big hits, "We Be Burnin'", "Ever Blazin'", "Give It Up to Me", "Never Gonna Be the Same" and the U. S. chart-topping smash hit "Temperature". The video of "Give It Up to Me" was featured in the film Step Up in 2006, he was nominated for four awards at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, including male artist of the year, rap artist of the year, hot 100 single of the year, pop single of the year for "Temperature". He won an American Music Award for "Give It Up to Me" beating Kanye West and Nick Lachey who were nominated for the award. "Send It On" from The Trinity featured on the 2005 Vauxhall Corsa advert. Sean Paul contributes his songs to various Riddim Driven albums by VP Records. In March 2007, he returned to Jamaica to perform at the Cricket World Cup 2007 opening ceremony. Paul appears in the video game Def Jam: Fight for NY as part of Snoop Dogg's crew and again in the game's sequel, Def Jam: Icon. Imperial Blaze was released on 18 August 2009.
The lead single, "So Fine", produced by Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor, premiered on Sean Paul's website on 26 April 2009. The album consists of 20 tracks including "So Fine", "Press it Up", "She Want Me", "Private Party" which are party tracks and love songs such as "Hold My Hand", "Lately", "Now That I've Got Your Love" among others. Producers on the album include Don Corleone, Jeremy Harding, Sean's brother Jason'Jigzagula' Henriques. All the songs of the album have been added to Sean Paul's Myspace page on the day of release of the album; the album spawned eight music videos: "Always On My Mind", "Give It to You", "Watch Them Roll", "Back It Up", " Push It Baby", "Hit'Em", "Come Over" with Estelle, the video of his first single, "So Fine". Sean Paul appeared in Shaggy's video, "Save A Life", which includes appearances from Elephant Man and Da'Ville, among others. In an effort to raise money for a children's hospital, Sean Paul and others had a benefit concert. All proceeds went towards getting new e
Erica Abi Wright, known professionally as Erykah Badu, is an American singer and songwriter. Badu's career began after opening a show for D'Angelo in 1994 in Fort Worth, her first album, was released in February 1997. It spawned three singles: "On & On", "Next Lifetime" and "Otherside of the Game"; the album was certified triple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Her first live album, was released in November 1997 and was certified double Platinum by the RIAA, her second studio album, Mama's Gun, was released in 2000. It spawned three singles: "Bag Lady", which became her first top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #6, "Didn't Cha Know?" and "Cleva". The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA. Badu's third album, Worldwide Underground, was released in 2003, it generated three singles: "Love of My Life", "Danger" and "Back in the Day" with'Love' becoming her second song to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA.
Badu's fourth album, New Amerykah Part One, was released in 2008. It spawned two singles: "Honey" and "Soldier". New Amerykah Part Two was fared well both critically and commercially, it contained the album's lead single "Window Seat". Influenced by R&B, 1970s soul, 1980s hip hop, Badu became associated with the neo soul subgenre in the 1990s along with artists like D'Angelo. Badu has been called the queen of neo soul, her voice has been compared to jazz singer Billie Holiday. Early in her career, Badu was recognizable for her eccentric style, which included wearing large and colorful headwraps, she was a core member of the Soulquarians. As an actress, she has played a number of supporting roles in movies including Blues Brothers 2000, The Cider House Rules and House of D, she has appeared in the documentaries Before the Music Dies and The Black Power Mixtapes. Erykah Badu was born Erica Abi Wright in Texas, her mother raised her, her brother Eevin, her sister Nayrok alone after separating from their father, William Wright Jr.
To provide for her family, the children's maternal and paternal grandmothers helped look after them. Badu had her first taste of show business at the age of four and dancing at the Dallas Theater Center and The Black Academy of Arts and Letters under the guidance of her godmother, Gwen Hargrove, uncle TBAAL founder Curtis King. By the age of 14, Badu was freestyling for a local radio station alongside such talent as Roy Hargrove. In her youth, she had decided to change the spelling of her first name from Erica to Erykah, as she believed her original name was a "slave name"; the term "kah" signifies the inner self. She adopted the surname "Badu". Upon graduating from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Badu went on to study theater at Grambling State University, a black university. To concentrate on music full-time, she left the university in 1993 before graduating, took several minimum-wage jobs to support herself, she taught dance to children at the South Dallas Cultural Center.
Working and touring with her cousin, Robert "Free" Bradford, she recorded a 19-song demo, Country Cousins, which attracted the attention of Kedar Massenburg. He set Badu up to record a duet with D'Angelo, "Your Precious Love", signed her to a record deal with Universal Records. Baduizm, Badu's debut album, was released in early 1997; the album met with critical and commercial success, debuting at number two on the Billboard charts and number one on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Baduizm's commercial and critical success helped establish Badu as one of the emerging neo soul genre's leading artists, her particular style of singing drew many comparisons to Billie Holiday. Baduizm was certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, Gold by the British Phonographic Industry and the Canadian Recording Industry Association; the album produced four singles. The album and lead single gave Badu her first nomination and win at the Grammy Awards, where "On & On" won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and the album won Best R&B Album.
Badu recorded her first live album, while pregnant with Seven, the release of the recording coincided with his birth. The album was released on November 18, 1997 and reached number four on the US Billboard 200 and number one on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums; the album was certified two times platinum by RIAA for shipments of over two million copies. The album's lead single, "Tyrone", became another R&B hit single. "Tyrone", lyrically, is a song chiding a selfish and inattentive boyfriend. Badu collaborated with the Roots on their breakthrough 1999 release Things Fall Apart, she was featured by The Roots and American female rapper Eve. Co-written by Jill Scott, the song peaked at 39 in the US and 31 in the UK; the song went on to win The Roots and Badu a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1999. After taking some time off to raise her child, Badu returned in 2000 with Mama's Gun; the album was characterized as more organic in sound than her previ