Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.
OutKast played a major role in putting hip-hop from the South on the map. The duo, made up of ATLiens André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, have won numerous awards, including multiple American Music Awards and Grammys. Before Speakerboxxx/The Love Below brought us “Hey Ya!,” Stankonia brought us “Ms. Jackson.” OutKast’s first single from Stankonia was “B.O.B.”, which didn’t get as much attention as anticipated due to its controversial subject matter. “Ms. Jackson” was the second single, and that was the one that propelled the album, winning the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
The idea for the song came from Benjamin’s experience with Erykah Badu (his baby’s mama) and her mother (his baby mama’s mama). Although the song is upbeat, with a catchy chorus and fast rap lines, it tells a rather sad story, not unlike the later “Hey Ya!”
In my search for the top “Ms. Jackson” covers, I looked for a particular trifecta:
- a strong start with “this one right here goes out to all the baby’s mamas’, mamas,”
- a powerful stress on the “ooh”s after “I’m sorry Ms. Jackson,” and
- the delivery of the crucial line: “forever, forever, ever, forever, ever?”