Ms. Jackson: An Apology to Erykah Badu’s mother that sent Outkast into the mainstream
An apology to Erykah Badu’s mother that sent OutKast into the mainstream
Upon winning the 1995 Source Award for best new artists and the release of their debut project 𝘈𝘛𝘓𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘴 in 1996, OutKast were making a major statement for the southern music scene. At a time where radio was dominated by Gangsta-rap and the East vs. West coast hip-hop feud, OutKast manifested a lane all of their own based on unique jazz/funk influenced sounds and emotionally driven lyricism. 1/2 OutKast, André 3000, was also in a relationship with legendary singer Erykah Badu, from which he would have a child with in 1997.
Erykah & André’s son, Seven Benjamin, would prove to have an immense influence on both of his parents craft. It was the young child, and the falling out that his parents would have around him, that would influence the genre-bending smash hit 𝘔𝘴. 𝘑𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘴𝘰𝘯 in 2000. The iconic tune would serve as a single for the duo’s third album 𝘚𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘢, going Platinum atop the charts in the USA and winning a Grammy nod for Best Rap Performance by a duo/group. The track is famed for its relatable take on the struggles of young love and parenthood. On the intro, André 3000 famously declares “To all the baby mamas’ mamas”, a clear reference to his ex-girlfriend Erykah Badu and her mother, before going on to lay down a masterful and apologetic verse. The notorious course of the song rings “Sorry Ms. Jackson, I am for real”, with Erykah Badu’s mother serving as the likely Ms. Jackson; though OutKast noted they selected the name for generic purposes. It is also on this infamous verse that 3 Stacks would lay down the iconic “Forever, forever ever? Forever ever?”, a line that has been re-created by the likes of Kanye West and many others.
Badu would later comment on the 2000’s anthem in 2016, telling Rap Radar that she wasn’t crazy for Big Boi’s verse on the song but did enjoy André’s part and his honesty. She would go on to say that her mother, the so-called “Ms. Jackson”, loved the track, explaining that “she bought herself a ‘Ms. Jackson’ license plate” amongst other memorabilia.