Erykah Badu
Mama's Gun


4.7
superb

Review

by robertsona STAFF
September 8th, 2017 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist


After the Brown Sugar-esque lounge tracks of Baduizm but before the lengthy jam sessions of Worldwide Underground and knotty conceptual material of New Amerykah Part One, Erykah Badu perfected her craft on 2000’s Mama’s Gun. Structurally, Mama’s Gun functions a bit like a good arthouse film, a series of aesthetically luxurious long takes which are strung together, illustrating at times disparate moods and bouncing off and inflecting each other with repeat plays. Sonically, it’s Soulquarians all the way, primarily defined here by the warm grooves of J Dilla and Questlove.

For 71 minutes, Badu fashions ever more alluring means through which to express herself over this sonic background, from the disturbing prison fantasy “Penitentiary Philosophy” to the Baduizm reinvention (and improvement) “…& On” to the brag “I’m cleva / Always on ya mind”. Each track is newly revealing of Badu’s sharpness and sense of humor, and in each she is wholly in control of the sound, her curled voice and where it might lay in the groove.

Mama’s Gun’s lyrical peak is “Booty,” where Badu brags over a spare Questlove beat that “Your booty might be bigger / But I still can pull your nigga” before pivoting to “I don't want him, cause of what he's doing to you / And you don't need him, cause he ain't ready”. An assertion of her worth however she wants it and a smirking demonstration of her black feminism, “Booty” doesn’t even have the sonic pull of Mama’s Gun’s best tracks: it’s all brain, all Badu.

Sure, the album’s three consecutive acoustic ballads--two of them fantastic, the third a bit soppy--may be too much by any reasonable standard. Those who believe that sometimes you have to take inflexible eccentricities as contiguous with their pleasing forms, however, will accept this imbalance. After all, “In Love With You” (the soppy one) leads into the invaluable experience of “Bag Lady” and the album’s final track, “Green Eyes”. Training an impeccably charming brand of empathy on her--real? metaphorical?--bag lady ("you gon' hurt your back"), she turns on “Green Eyes” to the listener, asking us to do as she has done: to feel, for ten electrifying minutes, someone else’s pain.



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user ratings (141)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
STLMiguel (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 8th 2017


17643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

thank's

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
September 9th 2017


6747 Comments


not hating the robertsona resurgence.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2017


2426 Comments


neither am i, i like this writing heaps and heaps :p

RunOfTheMill
September 10th 2017


4050 Comments


Great review, loved and still loving your writing. Friend lent me this on wax but I've been sitting on it for months. Time to crack it open I suppose

wtferrothorn
September 10th 2017


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best badu, orange moon is a beaut

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 23rd 2018


17643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

Such a greaaaaat album

RunOfTheMill
February 23rd 2018


4050 Comments


Yessss, it's so gorgeous

brantron
August 25th 2018


33 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Vibes galore!

nolerthebowler
September 13th 2018


4199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is such a treat to listen to!

EyesWideShut
May 20th 2019


5212 Comments


them nice thick and warm grooves

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2019


17643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

if this didn't have 'in love with you' i'd probably throw that five on it. not a bad song but eh

EyesWideShut
May 20th 2019


5212 Comments


but you could slap a 5 on it for that clossic album cover tho

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2019


17643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

great title too

nolerthebowler
May 21st 2019


4199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My eyes are greeeen, cuz I eat a lot of vegetables!



Prefer this to Baduizm tbh

EyesWideShut
May 21st 2019


5212 Comments


Amazing production too.. Whew..

brandontaylor
June 10th 2019


888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

second half drags a bit for me but this is really great overall and deserves to be talked about more

hamid95
June 21st 2019


679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is better than Baduizm, but a couple of tracks in the mid-section could've been tossed out.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2019


17643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

The three 6-or-so minute tracks in a row is a bit much, but “a.d. 2000” and “orange moon” are crazy good. Leads me to believe that if you toss “in love with you” this is a 5. I love basically everything else

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2019


17643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

What an opening track tho amirite

hamid95
June 22nd 2019


679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh yeah, the energy's beyond this earth.



time's a wastin' is underrated, as well.

Might bump up my rating after a while.



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