Erykah Badu ‘Other Side of the Game': Throwback Video of the Day
For over 20 years, she's been known for her vocals, earth-mother vibes and creating warm, ambient soul music that often defies genre labels, but Erykah Badu quietly makes excellent videos too.
Her strongest visual to date might be her 1997 video, "Other Side of the Game" from her breakout, debut album, Baduizm. Released as her third single following "On and On" and "Next Lifetime," the song is about Badu loving a man who's wrapped in the game, trying to make ends meet, even though his heart is pure.
"Whatchu gonna do when they come for you? The work ain't honest but it pays the bills," she repeats on the hook.
The video also stars Andre 3000, who was Badu's then-boyfriend, after the pair met back in 1995 in New York. Their son, Seven, arrived in November 1997. Easily the most memorable visual from Baduizm, the video is a fictional depiction of the ins and outs of Badu and Andre's relationship.
Directed by Badu, the clip is one continuous long-shot, as the two maneuver around their airy, artsy apartment (seriously, who wouldn't want to live there?), opening sheer curtains, washing their faces, and receiving drug money from a pair of dirty cops at one point.
Badu and 3000's chemistry is apparent from the onset of the video—shirtless, he brushes his lips across her shoulder, smiles as she ties a wrap around her body, kisses her belly and whispers to their unborn seed. And at one point, he cuddles her in his arms as she rests her head on his shoulder and closes her eyes, probably contemplating their life given his illicit activities.
Although "The Other Side of the Game" failed to chart on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs chart, it peaked to #14 on the R&B Airplay chart in August 1997, and two decades later, stands as one of Badu's signature tracks. She was always fearless in embracing herself, which gave her an edge over her contemporaries, yet never seemed aloof or puffed up about her supposed wisdom, which made her relatable. "The Other Side of the Game" is one of the tracks that most represents the balance Badu has always carried— wise beyond her days but knowing about street life.
"I’ve never had another year like 1997. That was the year for me,” she told an audience at a 2011 RBMA lecture in Madrid. “That was the year where the music was recognized and appreciated. 'Baduzim' was that one.’'
50 Greatest Female R&B Artists of the 90s