Review: Erykah Badu’s phone-obsessed mixtape explores intimacy and connection

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In a year where the word “mixtape” has been stretched like taffy to describe releases of widely varying length and ambition, there’s something refreshing about Erykah Badu’s minor new tape But You Caint Use My Phone. There’s no pretension or delusions of grandeur about its 11 tracks, many of which live in a liminal space between covers, interpolations, and original compositions; they’re tossed-off and proud of it. Badu, producer Zach Witness, and their collaborators recorded the tape in a Dallas bedroom studio in just under two weeks, and it radiates domestic warmth and good humor. Badu’s son Seven could be gritting through homework in an office next door; his father André 3000 could be laying down a verse nearby; the rapper ItsRoutine…

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