Not only is Erykah Badu the queen of late Nineties/early Aughts neo-soul, she was also a key figure in bringing Afrofuturist thought and aesthetics into the pop culture zeitgeist. Basically, everything Badu does is next level — from her socially conscious lyrics that speak out against oppression to her public actions that challenge harmful social norms. She proudly takes selfies that showcase her graying hair — giving the middle finger, so to speak, to unattainable beauty standards — and, in addition to being a Platinum-selling recording artist, she’s also a practicing doula. Until 2015, Badu had been quiet since the release of her phenomenal 2010 album New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)
. But last year, she dropped the mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone
, a collection of quick, fun, “Hotline Bling”-inspired tracks that stoked fans’ appetites for her next album. Badu DJs at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco on March 25 under her alter ego, Lo Down Loretta Brown.