Listen to 14 of Jill Scott and Erykah Badu’s most notable collaborations.
On Saturday, May 9th, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu — two R&B legends — went head-to-head on Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s hit Instagram Live series Verzuz. It was the first time women participated in the popular series.
In the late ’90 and early 2000s, both Scott and Badu emerged as leading lights in the contemporary R&B movement commonly dubbed “Neo-Soul.” Since then, they have each crafted numerous classic songs and albums.
In addition to their own solo work, both artists have established themselves as experienced collaborators. They have both collaborated with dozens of artists over the past 20 years. So to celebrate Erykah Badu and Jill Scott’s epic battle, we highlighted 14 — seven each — of their most notable collaborations.
Busta Rhymes & Erykah Badu – “One” (1997)
“One,” a standout from Busta Rhymes’ sophomore full-length When Disaster Strikes…, puts a spin on the traditional hip-hop love song. Trading verses, the duo posits romantic affection as a basis for family, unity, and Black love. Rockwilder’s track is smooth and soulful, creating the perfect backdrop for Busta and Badu to drop knowledge.
4hero & Jill Scott — “Another Day” (2001)
A sleeper collab with London Drum N’ Bass and Broken Beat pioneers 4Hero, “Another Day” finds Jill Scott displaying her ability to find beauty in the mundane aspects of daily life. Over a rich, string-laden musical backing, Jill takes a concept as simple as making it through another day and turns it into an anthem.
OutKast, Big Rube, Erykah Badu & CeeLo Green — “Liberation” (1998)
A nearly nine-minute epic that comes near the end of Outkast’s 1998 opus Aquemini, “Liberation” has lived on as a celebrated classic in the history of contemporary Black music. Erykah’s part is brief and impactful. Her voice cuts through the track, painting a picture of a character enchanted with the life of a superstar, dying to get free from the trappings of fame. A somber, yet optimistic tune, “Liberation” is a song that speaks powerfully to the resilient nature of the Black experience.
Darius Rucker & Jill Scott — “Sometimes I Wonder” (2002)
Darius Rucker is most famously known as the frontman for ’90s pop-rockers Hootie & The Blowfish. What many music fans don’t know is that for nearly two decades, Rucker has been releasing solo albums that bridge the stylistic gap between soul, country, and rock. On his debut, 2002’s Back to Then, Rucker collaborated with Jill Scott on the breezy mid-tempo single “Sometimes I Wonder.” Unsurprisingly, Rucker’s rich baritone and Scott’s airy soprano are a perfect match.
The Roots, Erykah Badu & Eve — “You Got Me” (1999)
“You Got Me” is an impressive flashpoint where Erykah Badu and Jill Scott’s mighty talents converge. Although the chorus for The Roots’ moody Things Fall Apart single was sung by Erykah, it was originally written by Scott. Black Thought and a pre-Ruff Ryders Eve trade lovelorn bars while Erykah floats on the track, addressing her lover’s concerns in a sweet and reassuring tone. Over the years, Jill has joined The Roots onstage to perform her composition, most famously on their 1999 concert album The Roots Come Alive.
Common & Jill Scott — “I Am Music” (2002)
“I Am Music” is a powerful cut from Common’s divisive neo-psychedelic opus Electric Circus. Over a colorful, uptempo instrumental that fuses hip-hop with the feel of big band-era Swing, Common pens a loving tribute to powerful music. Scott sends the track into overdrive with an incredibly playful, slightly coy vocal chorus.
Omar Lye-Fook & Erykah Badu “Be Thankful” (2000)
The king of UK Soul, London-based vocalist Omar Lye-Fook has collaborated with R&B giants such as Angie Stone, Caron Wheeler, and Stevie Wonder. For his 2001 album Best By Far, Omar enlisted Erykah for this funky, breezy cover of William DeVaughn’s classic “Be Thankful for What You Got.” Badu and Omar’s voices blend beautifully, making this a lovely update of an old favorite.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Jill Scott “We Live In Philly” (2002)
Early in her career, Jill Scott made noise at open mic nights in Philadelphia as both a singer and a poet. “We Live In Philly” showcases Jill’s abilities when working in the spoken word form. Taking its musical cues from Roy Ayers’ jazz-funk classic “We Live In Brooklyn, Baby,” Jill Scott paints a surrealistic portrait of a magical block party in the 215. Packed with references to well-known and obscure Philly icons, “We Live In Philly” is a curveball that finds Jill and Jeff showing their hometown some serious love.
Common, Erykah Badu, Pharrell, & Q-Tip — “Come Close” (Remix) (Closer) (2002)
Common and Mary J. Blige’s “Come Close” is a classic in its own right, but the remix is an equally fly and unique take on this beloved tune. Produced by the late, great J Dilla, the “Come Close” remix is a sonic tribute to “Bonita Applebum.” Common, Q-Tip, and Pharrell share the mic, kicking game smoothly, while Erykah beautifully reimagines Mary’s chorus from the original.
Lupe Fiasco & Jill Scott — “Daydreamin’” (2006)
Tapped to make a guest appearance on Lupe Fiasco’s conceptual track about viewing the chaos of the world from inside a giant robot, Jill opens the song performing a jazzy call and response with the track’s chorus sampled from Günter Kallmann Chor’s “Daydream.” As the tension builds, she ends the song belting out intensely, further showcasing her skill as a vocal powerhouse and an instant upgrade to any song.
Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, Queen Latifah & Bahamadia — “Funk You Up! (Love of My Life Remix)” (2003)
For her remix to “Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)” Erykah Badu recruits Queen Latifah, Angie Stone, and Bahamadia for a funky, catchy revision of the song. Badu sings and rhymes on the track, which is an update of Sequence’s 1979 Sugar Hill jam “Funk you Up,” group that Stone was once a member of.
Young Jeezy & Jill Scott “Trapped” (2011)
Young Jeezy’s “Trapped” is a beautiful portrait of a life full of struggle and pain. As the track’s glorious, orchestral instrumental swells, Scott enters with a dramatic chorus urging us to face the consequences of our actions and move forward.
Roy Ayers & Erykah Badu — “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” (2003)
From “Be Thankful” to her dreamy, understated version of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” Erykah Badu is a masterful interpreter of other songwriter’s compositions. Her team up with jazz-funk vibraphonist Roy Ayers further solidifies this point. Badu tackles Ayers’ most famous piece, “Everybody Loves The Sunshine,” picking up the tempo and adding a hip-hop bounce absent from the original. In the song, Ayers takes center stage with a raspy lead vocal while Badu riffs beautifully in support of the legend.
Robert Glasper Experiment & Jill Scott — “Calls” (2013)
Jazz pianist and composer Robert Glasper has collaborated with both Erykah Badu (“Afro Blue”) and Jill Scott. “Calls,” from his 2013 release Black Radio 2, is a highlight in both Scott and Glapser’s sterling catalogs. With its lush electric pianos and silky vocal harmonies, Scott and Glasper deliver a beautiful ode to the power of kindness and devotion.