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Mama's Gun

by Erykah Badu

Released November 21, 2000 via Motown Records

Reviewed November 19, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Didn’t Cha Know (50%), …& On (27%), Green Eyes (23%)

In the midst of the Soulquarians’ takeover that delivered albums like Black on Both Sides and Things Fall Apart to hip-hop through the turn of the century, Erykah was right there making a similar impression on the world of R&B. Erykah Badu's Baduizm and Mama's Gun dropped right alongside D'Angelo's Brown Sugar and Voodoo, respectively, all being crafted under the same hive mind. Erykah feels primarily famed for her debut album Baduizm – her highest charting, greatest selling, and most streamed piece by a mile. Baduizm, however, is the primer to the bolder artistic statement made in Mama's Gun. The thematic layout of her debut is alive in its follow-up, though she ruminates it further with the complex experiences of generational motherhood and her depressive state. Mama's Gun is Baduizm further radicalized in its messaging, and with an amazing musician behind every note, it's well worth the argument of being Badu’s magnum opus. – DeVán (10/10)

Erykah Badu’s sophomore album managed to completely recontextualize her music, adopting more rugged sound that signaled a new vision of herself. Ruminating on generational issues, feeling alone in a world that loved her and the like, she crafted a more artistic statement compared to her debut. It was rougher around the edges, more free form, and brought in new styles for her to play with that led to a more expansive experience. Her vocals seem more confident as well, showing a vulnerability with a simultaneous grit that is enrapturing. Mama’s Gun rang in the new millennium with a classic slice of modern soul/hip-hop that continues to inspire. – Jared (9/10)

There are a plethora of amazing voices in music, many of them more than capable of lifting an album to heights it could only dream of without the crooning of that particular individual. The music industry is literally spilling over the edges with talented singer-songwriters, and yet Erykah Badu is one of the names that most often comes to the foreground of artists who fit that bill. Mama’s Gun is why. While her debut, Baduizm,might contain the coveted formula for a great R&B record with its endless replayability and beloved hits, the follow-up is a blueprint for exceeding the limitations of genre labels. Mama’s Gun is the debut turned up a few notches, smoking on the burner and crisping around the edges. The parity between grit and equanimity Badu displays on this record is similar to that found in the most noteworthy jazz records, with her voice acting as Coltrane’s saxophone on Giant Steps or Monk’s keys on Brilliant Corners. The ferocity and tranquility of her tone from beginning to end is as refreshing as it is rallying, and few would find it possible to not fall in love with the passion in her presence. – Pax (8.9/10)

DeVán: 10/10 | Enth: 9/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Pax: 8.9/10 | Alan: 8.6/10

Dominick: 8.5/10 | Hadley: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8/10


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