Besides being expertly performed, this S.O.S. Band cover is creepily prophetic of D’s saddening absence in the music game. It’s like he’s asking if his fans aren’t upset by the 13 (!) year roller-coaster of a wait. Yes, D…we still care.
Fifteen years ago today (Nov. 21, 2000), Erykah Badu released the follow-up album to her critically-acclaimed debut, 1997’s Baduizm, Mama’s Gun on Motown Records. The album was met with positive reception, and peaked at #11 on the U.S. Billboard 200 as well as #3 on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Stripping away the low-key jazz-soul pretensions that defined Baduizm, Mama’s Gun leaned towards a more eclectic musical approach, incorporating funk, soul, and jazz styles. Recording sessions for the album primarily took place at the famed Electric Lady Studios, over 1999-2000, and were helmed by collaborators from the Soulquarians collective (Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson, James Poyser, J Dilla, and Common). Ironically enough, “Mama’s Gun” was recorded simultaneously with two other modern soul and hip-hop landmarks, D'Angelo’s Voodoo and Common’s Like Water For Chocolate. Thematically and songwriting-wise, the album explored more introspective and serious topics regarding black feminism, police brutality, relationships, and self-esteem. A true modern masterpiece, Mama’s Gun remains Erykah Badu’s tour-de-force as well as one of the most influential female alternative-soul releases of our time. Happy 15th anniversary!