Saturday, February 17, 2001

OutKast hit #1 with “Ms. Jackson”

Ms. Jackson


Writer(s): André Benjamin, Antwan Patton, David Sheats (see lyrics here)

Released: October 24, 2000

First Charted: October 28, 2000

Peak: 11 US, 14 RR, 12 RB, 2 UK, 9 CN, 2 AU, 19 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.2 UK, 5.26 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 313.21 video, 856.0 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton formed the hip-hop duo OutKast in Atlanta in 1992. They released their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in 1994 and became a critical and commercial favorite at the forefront of the Southern rap movement. They “posed as laid-back gangsters, but they rapped dense thickets of words with rare levels of nuance and empathy, and playfulness.” SG They “may be remembered as hip-hop pioneers not for their outlandish clothes or for their hard beats or even their psychedelic jams, but for their humanism.” TC

In 2000, their fourth album, Stankonia, became the duo’s third consecutive album to peak at #2 on the Billboard album chart and go multi-platinum. The group had previously had just two songs reach the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad),” the lead single from their fourth album, Stankonia, didn’t change their fortunes any. It served as a “metaphor for the group’s bombastic potency” TB but failed to chart.

However, the next single, “Ms. Jackson,” not only gave OutKast their first top-ten hit on the pop charts, but it went all the way to #1. The song “strips the group of a considerable amount of its machismo.” TB It is “a relatively low-key affair…rendered through wordily heartfelt writing and hazily funky music.” The group weren’t aiming for a crossover hit “though sheer novelty, through party-ready catchiness, [or] through immediate-bellringer samples” SG like previous #1 songs from rappers. OutKast “just made a slinky, memorable song about a real situation, and that song arrived at the exact right moment.” SG

The “ode to their babymama’s mamas” TB is a mix of real-life experiences from both rappers. André 3000 and the singer Erykah Badu had a relationship for a few years and even had a son together. André essentially uses the song to try to explain himself to her mother, writing the chorus as an apology. However, Big Boi’s “verses come from a place of hurt and resentment” SG as he scolds his ex’s mother that “her grandchild is a baby and not a paycheck.” SG


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First posted 6/24/2023.

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