Hip-hop icons Erykah Badu and André 3000 will always be connected by their son, Seven, but it was some higher musical power that led them to collaborate on the song "Hello," from Badu's latest mix tape, But You Caint Use My Phone.
The Dallas-based R&B songstress relayed the story of the tune's inception during a recent interview with Pitchfork, which reads like romance novel with bits of mysticism and magic.
The "Hello" tale begins in Badu's living room, where her son and former lover were helping brainstorm ideas for her phone-themed collection of songs. André suggested doing a riff on the Isley Brothers' "Hello, It's Me," which resonated with Badu. She hooked up a phone to the speaker and played the tune, and the whole family sang along.
As she tells it, a collaboration with André was not the original plan. Badu took the song to producer Zach Witness' house and had him re-create the song on piano. André thought it was "pretty."
"A couple of days later, he said, 'Erykah I'm riding around listening to this every day, I can't get it out of my mind,' " Badu recounts. To which she said, "Maybe you should put a verse to it."
André complied and Badu recorded a separate part, but once the two heard them side-by-side -- BAM! -- it was otherworldly.
"After we heard ourselves together, we both thought: This is a duet.Then André said out loud, 'We need to finish it,' " she said.
"So we got in my living room and started at 11 p.m. and finished at five in the morning. Seven was walking in and out of the pantry, getting snacks late into the night, just watching over us. It all happened that night.
"After we finished, we were very silent. We knew we had created something special, that it was more than we thought it would be. At that point, I said, 'This is no longer a mix tape, this is an event.' "
Go on and pinch yourself, this is real life.