Erykah Badu's sound echoes with strains of lush 1970s soul, cucumber-cool jazz and modern-day hip-hop -- a blend that made her music a noteworthy standout in a sea of Xeroxed sound-alikes when Baduizm, her debut album, dropped in 1997. Although her unflappable, purring vocals garnered well-deserved comparisons to the legendary Billie Holiday, Badu, who was born Erica Wright, got her start with some of today's hottest acts, beginning with D'Angelo, whom she opened for in her hometown of Dallas in 1994. That show led to a record contract, collaborations with artists such as the Roots, and Baduizm, written almost entirely by Badu. She followed her triple-platinum, Grammy-winning debut with a successful 1998 live album (which included the hit song "Tyrone") and Mama's Gun, which Badu released in 2000 after taking some time off to raise the son she had with Outkast's Andre 3000. Badu worked through the writer's block that followed by organizing the Frustrated Artist Tour and releasing EP Worldwide Underground in 2003. Five years passed (during which she reportedly completed three albums' worth of material) before Badu put out her next studio album, 2008's New Amerykah.