From Emek's web site on his work for Erykah Badu:
In this day and age of high speed internet and robotic carrier pigeons
what kind of musician would fly an artist halfway across the country just to discuss the ideas of the album cover in person? and then cook them a wonderful vegan meal and play charades with her kids?
Erykah, thats who.
I have worked with hundreds of bands, and i have to say that she is pretty unique.
The amount of time and energy she spends on all aspects of her life. She is very creative and hands on, but also respects and encourages the creativity in others.
The album cover came about by listening to her music...
My previous album cover I made for her, focused on politics and social conditions in the world today
things that were weighing on her mind
this album is more personal.
political elements of the first album are still there, healthcare system in the toilet, police brutality, flawed justice scales, war, etc.
and also a few new elements, foreclosed homes and a teabag, etc., but all of these elements have fallen down, lying in rubble behind her..
her song lyrics "You built a wall 20 feet tall / But if I get off my knees / I might recall I'm 20 feet tall” was an inspiration to draw her to be a large face. She is 20 feet tall.
also, she is wearing armour to protect her from the harsh realities of life..
Her lyrics "out my mind, just in time", inspired the concept of her climbing out of the old shell, fresh and innocent and powerful, and the tree of life is also growing from there.
The color purple of the tree and the sky represent the 7th chakra- the crown chakra, right above her third eye shield, this chakra represents peace, wisdom, spirituality. She is reborn.
her tuning fork is summoning the vibrations of the universe..
or does that ripple mean the whole scene is underwater?
from out of all the rubble, lush exotic plant life is growing.
her lyric from "window seat" about her "music, lover and my babies" was one of several lyrics that inspired the symbolism of 3's
3 hidden babies
and the ankh itself is a symbol of duality, of life /death, immortality... but what is life without Love? so i made the ankh heart shaped...
working with erykah always brings out the best in me and i am proud to be her friend and artist.
the vinyl LP record though is really the one to get, the inside of the record has more cool art in it, and as both Erykah and I were raised without a TV in our house, we grew up on record cover art
-emek march, 2010
ERYKAH BADU'S "NEW AMERYKAH" AS ENVISIONED BY EMEK ("THE THINKING MAN'S POSTER ARTIST")