OutKast - Ms. Jackson
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Published on May 29, 2012
© 2000 Arista Records.''Ms. Jackson" is the title of a song by American alternative hip hop group OutKast. It was released in January 2001 as the second single from their fourth album Stankonia. It topped the U.S. charts for the week of February 17, 2001, and won a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. It also reached number one in Germany and number two in the United Kingdom, held from the top spot by Atomic Kitten's "Whole Again". In October 2011, NME placed it at number 81 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".
The single helped sell the album following mixed reaction to the lead single "B.O.B.", which, despite nearly universal acclaim from critics, failed to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and only reached #69 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The song samples "Strawberry Letter 23" by The Brothers Johnson (with pitch shifting and reversing) and features an altered version of a tune from "Bridal Chorus" from the opera Lohengrin by German composer Richard Wagner (also known as the "wedding march"), played on piano.
The song features live bass instrumentation, performed by Aaron Mills of Cameo, the music of which "Ms. Jackson" bears notable similarity to in arrangement.
Content:The titular "Ms. Jackson" is the real-life mother of Erykah Badu, André 3000's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his son Seven. The song discusses the problems that break-ups, separation, and divorce can have on a couple, and the animosity that a woman's mother can have for her daughter's former boyfriend or husband. In Vibe, a few years after the fact, Andre recalled creating the song; "'Ms. Jackson' 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."
Music Video : The video for "Ms. Jackson", directed by F. Gary Gray, features the duo in an old house. Big Boi is cleaning a car, and André 3000 is making home improvements. The house is overrun with pets, mostly dogs, two cats, a snapping turtle, and an owl that—at times—seem to contribute to the song. Through camera effects, the pets are made to nod their heads to the song.
It begins to rain, spoiling Big Boi's hard work. The light rain rapidly turns into a storm; lightning strikes the car and it explodes. Meanwhile, André attempts to keep the house, which has a roof littered with leaks, dry with the use of buckets. Big Boi attempts to climb the roof and fix the holes in the rain.
The lights go out in the house, creating yet another problem for André, who runs about trying to fix it. Big Boi, in a yellow raincoat, is on top of the roof and getting considerably more annoyed with his inability to complete the repairs.
The lights however, eventually return. Big Boi climbs down and joins André, helping with the rainwater. Following this, the storm clears almost instantly. The two stare up through a ceiling hole torn open by the storm, at the bright blue sky and shining sun.
The video works as a possible metaphor for the duo's "stormy" relationships with the mothers of their children and their families (themes expressed by the duo in the song). The storm theme is alluded to in the song, particularly by André 3000: "Me and your daughter got a special thing going on/You say it's puppy love, we say it's full grown/Hope that we feel this, feel this way forever/You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather, Ms. Jackson."
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