More often that people realize, song lyrics aren’t just brief works of fiction. Inspiration is all around us, every day, and songwriters pull from real life to tell their stories and wrap them in musical harmonies. Songstress Erykah Badu, in a recent interview with Rap Radar’s Brian “B.Dot” Miller, disclosed one such story, that of the tale behind OutKast’s 2000 hit, “Ms. Jackson.”
Badu, born Erica Abi Wright, herself a singer-songwriter and record producer, became involved with rapper André “André 3000” Benjamin in 1995, shortly after Badu’s own career took off. Badu and Benjamin had a son together, Seven Sirius Benjamin, in November1997. Unfortunately, they couple split in 1999. The following year, while feelings were still raw, Benjamin wrote “Sorry Ms. Jackson” about the relationship. Being real and still caught up in his feelings, Benjamin later told Vibe magazine, that it “was an acoustic guitar song that I was doing at home. Then I just converted it over into something people could understand a little bit more.”
Badu, in her videotaped interview with Rap Radar, discloses that she initially didn’t care for the song, stating, “I still had kind of a sore spot.” Then she heard André’s verse, “Me and yo daughter, got a special thing goin’ on,” and everything changed. “His verse was really, really inspiring,” Badu said. She also disclosed that their son, Seven, now 19, is a fan both of the song and his father’s (and mother’s) work.
The big fan, however, was Badu’s mom, for whom the song was written. “Baby, she bought herself a Ms. Jackson license plate. She had the mug. She had the ink pen. She had the headband, everything. That’s who loved it.”
Check out the interview above, brought to you from Rap Radar, courtesy of Play.it®, and then get caught all up in your feelings to OutKast’s original video for “Ms. Jackson,” below. The story changed my perception of the song enough that I’ve now added it to my “Lyrical Poets” rap playlist on Spotify. Hope it has an effect on you as well.
P.S. Is the “forever ever” owl the dopest thing in the video, or what?
“Ms. Jackson” and its video are Copyright © 2000 LaFace Records, written by André 3000, Big Boi, and others.