Don't need shit on the side no more, I should know, fuck a salad
Alright so you all know "Hotline Bling", right? Of course you do, it's like the definitive pop masterpiece of 2015 or whatever. To me, the appeal is the sweet spot of novel yet familiar alien-closeness, a whole new aesthetic world that instantly became home. Somewhere between vaporwave and retrofuturism and new sincerity poptimism it carved a new niche into something we only now understand to have always wanted. It's why every aspect of the song and video became instantly memetic, how it facilitated Keaton Monger's recent masterpiece ONLINE*DING*, and served as the jumping off point for neo-soul icon Erykah Badu's excellent new mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone.
The whole tape sounds like it fell out of some parallel universe where "Hotline Bling" is a decade or so old and now commands whole subgenres of cultural relevancy. There's some pretty crazy stuff here, like the Drake soundalike (whose actual legal name is also Aubrey???), a funny aggressive answering machine outro skit, a discussion of how cell phones are killing bees... It's a testament to the otherworldly talent of Erykah Badu that she can make something so out there, so varied, and yet make it all feel like the "world" of "Hotline Bling", that warm but exciting place.
The biggest argument for this being some parallel-dimension record is that it comes from a place where Andre 3000 exists and makes music. Idk how she managed it, maybe it's some leverage 'cause they had a kid together or something, but here we are with the first Andre feature since Future's "Benz Friends", a year and a half ago. He's on his half-sung, half-rapped, all-slick style, one that he really ought to bless the world with more. The subject matter puts him in the Drakean mood of bitter-sad regret - even spitefully deriding his previous veganism - but then it somehow magically blends into a soul-hugging tribute to the Isley Brothers' classic, switching the "don't change, girl" to "don't change, squirrel", which somehow captures Andre and Erykah's entire mood, which can only also be captured by "??? :)".