"Ms. Jackson" is a song by American alternative hip hop duo OutKast, consisting of André 3000 and Big Boi. It was released on October 24, 2000, as the second single from OutKast's fourth album, Stankonia. It topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week on February 17, 2001, and also reached number one in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. Rolling Stone ranked it at number 55 on their "100 Best Songs of the 2000s" list in June 2011 and at number 145 on their "Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list in 2021.[3][4] In October 2011, NME placed it at number 81 on its list of the "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[5]

"Ms. Jackson"
Ms. Jackson (OutKast single - cover art).jpg
Single by OutKast
from the album Stankonia
B-side
ReleasedOctober 24, 2000 (2000-10-24)
StudioStankonia Recording (Atlanta, Georgia)
Genre
Length
  • 4:30 (album version)
  • 4:03 (radio edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Earthtone III
OutKast singles chronology
"B.O.B"
(2000)
"Ms. Jackson"
(2000)
"So Fresh, So Clean"
(2001)
Audio sample
Music video
"Ms. Jackson" on YouTube

"Ms. Jackson" won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards. The music video, directed by F. Gary Gray, features animals nodding along to the song, won the BET Award for Video of the Year and MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video. The single helped sell the album following the commercial underperformance of the lead single, "B.O.B", which, despite near universal acclaim from critics, failed to chart on the Hot 100 and only reached number 69 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[6]

Background and writingEdit

In Vibe magazine, a few years after the song was released, André Benjamin (André 3000) 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."[7] The song was inspired, in part, by Benjamin's relationship with Erykah Badu and her mother.[8] In November 2016, Badu described her initial reaction to the song, stating that, "It hit kind of a sore spot. I didn't wanna hear that, especially when I heard Big Boi's verse. When I heard André's verse, I felt very good because his verse was really, really inspiring. He just said how he felt and it was his honest feelings and I always respected that and listened to what he felt and appreciated it." Badu also noted that her mother loved the song, saying, "Baby, she bought herself a 'Ms. Jackson' license plate. She had the mug, she had the ink pen, she had the headband, everything."[9]

ContentEdit

Lyrically, the song is a love profession to the mother of the narrator's romantic partner that examines the issues that arise from having a child out of wedlock.[10][11] In the song, the narrator promises to support his child regardless of what happens.[11] The instrumentation samples the Brothers Johnson's version (with various audio effects, prominently reversing) of "Strawberry Letter 23", by Shuggie Otis.[12]

Critical receptionEdit

Billboard magazine wrote that song's message is genuine, noting its 1980s hip-hop sound and Outkast's "frantic" lyrics that emphasize the track's storyline.[11] Reviewing the parent album, the same publication compared the track to an "old-school hip-hop love song" and called it "oh-so-radio-ready".[13] Marci Kenon of Billboard called the "babies' mommas' mommas" hook memorable and later referred to the track as "infectious".[14][15]

"Ms. Jackson" is widely considered one of Outkast's best songs. In 2020, The Ringer ranked the song number five on their list of the 50 greatest Outkast songs,[16] and in 2021, The Guardian ranked the song number six on their list of the 20 greatest Outkast songs.[17]

Music videoEdit

The song's music video, directed by F. Gary Gray and produced by Earthtone III,[18] works as a possible metaphor for the duo's "stormy" relationships with the mothers of their children and their families.[19][better source needed] In the United States, a DVD single featuring the videos for "B.O.B" and "Ms. Jackson" was released in 2000, before the other physical formats. Along with Toni Braxton's "Just Be a Man About It", this single was the first to bear only a DVD credit on the Billboard Hot 100 until the other formats were issued. Because "Ms. Jackson" was the only OutKast song that was present on the Hot 100 at the time, sales points were added to this song instead of "B.O.B".[20]

Track listingsEdit

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits are lifted from the UK CD single liner notes.[25]

Studio

  • Recorded and mixed at Stankonia Recording (Atlanta, Georgia)

Personnel

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[72] 5× Platinum 350,000 
Belgium (BEA)[73] Gold 25,000*
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[74] Platinum 90,000 
France (SNEP)[75] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[76] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[77] Gold 35,000 
New Zealand (RMNZ)[78] Gold 5,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[79] Platinum  
Sweden (GLF)[80] Platinum 30,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[81] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[82] 2× Platinum 1,200,000 
United States (RIAA)[83] 3× Platinum 3,000,000 

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States October 24, 2000 [84]
December 12, 2000 Contemporary hit radio [85]
United Kingdom February 19, 2001
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
[86]
Australia February 26, 2001 CD [87]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Rolling Stone Staff (June 17, 2011). "100 Best Songs of the 2000s". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 4, 2022. ...delivering a chorus that's both P-Funk and totally pop.
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  7. ^ Vibe Magazine, October 2006, p. 128
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