Erykah Badu on OutKast’s ‘Ms. Jackson’: ‘It Hit Kind of a Sore Spot’

Badu notes that when her mom heard the song, she got a "Ms. Jackson" license plate.

By Rahul Lal

On this week’s Rap Radar podcast on the Play.It Podcast Network, Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller on Rap Radar spoke to Erykah Badu spoke about Donald Trump, her ex- Andre 3000 and young artists including D.R.A.M.

In regards to the President-elect, she said, “I don’t have no conspiracy theories about ‘They trying to do this, they, they, they,’” she said. “I have more concern, not as much for Donald Trump or what he’s going to do, but I have more empathy and concern for the people he’s manipulating like that. We were at a place and time where these things were slowly dying out, the old ways were dying with the old.”

Badu is referring to many of Trump’s supporters who voted for him based on his extreme platforms. Many of those platforms have either since been taken off Trump’s agenda or have at the very least been pushed to the side to be revisited later. Many people in the hip-hop community as well as people in marginalized communities have been outraged by the results of the election, but Badu sees this as a sort of ‘Hail Mary’ attempt at extremism.

“I think this was the last attempt,” she said. “I think collectively the energies and people and collective emotions that want that type of turmoil or separation; this is the last attempt to try to hold on to that old mind state, because it don’t fit.”

Badu also discussed Seven, her son with Andre 3000.

“He’s a huge fan of his father,” said Badu. “I’m not just mom, I’m Erykah. He’s not just dad, he’s Andre. The things that we went through, that we go through, our opinions about things, our feelings, there’s a place for that. Seven has a look on his face all the time, it’s the same look. You don’t know if he’s smiling or nothing but the look, it’s almost as if he’s saying ‘I hope that’s working out for you.’”

 

Andre 3000 famously addressed his relationship with Badu in OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson,” which was written as an apology after their breakup, and more specifically about her mother. As an artist herself, she always respected the creativity in the song and especially from Andre who was a pioneer in southern hip-hop.

“It hit kind of a sore spot,” she explained. “I didn’t wanna hear that, especially when I heard Big Boi’s verse. When I heard Andre’s verse, I felt very good because his verse was really, really inspiring… he just said how he felt and it was his honest feelings and I always respected that and listened to what he felt and appreciated it. I liked it but how did my momma feel? She bought her a Ms. Jackson license plate, she had the mug, she had the ink pen, the headband, everything, that’s who loved it.”

The song and album, Stankonia, came just three years after Badu’s debut album Baduizm.

“It kinda took me my whole life to create it,” she said about her first release. “We recorded the whole thing in [my cousin’s] grandmother’s house in his room on an ASR-10 and a keyboard. We took the demo and went to South by Southwest. Around that time, I remember being inspired by Brandy a lot and I just felt like I had to do something that was different from these people that I was inspired by so much because I know that I had to make an impact.”

“Different” is just about the best word to describe Badu’s career thus far. And her  influence as someone who is different from the norm, has carried over to the next generation of stars in both Tyler the Creator and one of the rising stars of 2016, Big Baby D.R.A.M.

“He’s just this enigma,” she said speaking about D.R.A.M. “If George Clinton, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and D’Angelo had a baby, that’s D.R.A.M. He has a really particular way to deliver a song. His voice and his style, it’s old and it’s new – I’m impressed.”

To hear more about Badu’s interactions with legends like Nas, her thoughts on the state of music today with artists like Drake and even about new projects coming out in the near future, listen to the latest episode of Rap Radar below on CBS Radio’s Play.it podcast network.

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