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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Mama's Gun

Erykah Badu

2000

Buy At Rough Trade
Mama's Gun
Album Summary

Mama's Gun is the second studio album by American singer Erykah Badu. It was recorded between 1999 and 2000 at Electric Lady Studios in New York and released on November 21, 2000, by Motown Records. A neo soul album, Mama's Gun incorporates elements of funk, soul, and jazz styles. It has confessional lyrics by Badu, which cover themes of insecurity, personal relationships, and social issues. The album has been viewed by critics as a female companion to neo soul artist D'Angelo's second album Voodoo (2000), which features a similar musical style and direction. Critics have also noted that while Badu's first album Baduizm contained its share of cryptic lyricism, Mama's Gun is much more direct in its approach, and places the artist in a subjective position more than its predecessor.The album contains the single "Bag Lady", Badu's first top 10 Billboard hit, which was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and for Best R&B Song. The song "Didn't Cha Know?" was also nominated for Best R&B Song. The album features substantial contributions from several members of the Soulquarians outfit, of which Badu was a member. It also features guests such as soul singer Betty Wright and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Mama's Gun was met with generally positive reviews from critics. It was less commercially successful than Baduizm, receiving Platinum certification in the US. Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the Top 10 Albums of 2000.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.27

Votes

10943
Genres
Hip Hop
Soul

Reviews

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

I'm not the biggest fan of R&B, but Mrs. Badu's magic drips from this record.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
3

Funky soul. It's one of those albums where I wish there were more recognizable melodies, and more background instruments. It's one of the reason's I'm not the biggest Beyonce fan--I want the background to be just as interesting as the voices.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

If I was currently undertaking the task of compiling my 101 favourite albums of all time--inspired by, for example, a commitment to listen to, rate and review 1,001 albums from The Canon--I can imagine Mama's Gun would be a conundrum. Should I include it? There's so much to like. It has the intangible quality of making you want to restart the album as soon as it's over; not because it's a hooked-filled sugar rush, but because Badu's sound is tantalising, a tease, there then not then there again. But for that reason, is there *enough* of it to occupy a whole spot on my list? (I'm speaking, of course, hypothetically. Merely riffing on an idea that just popped into my head.) When she says, "you won't be naming no buildings after me", it's not just because she's a black woman (okay, it's mostly that), but because any Badu building would only be structurally sound half the time. Her buildings, like her songs, would be beguilingly simple feats of engineering, held up with the barest of resources. Then they'd turn to jelly and, er, uh-oh. To decide, I'd need to listen to it two or three times. I might even get an extra opportunity through my extensive (imaginary, you understand) canonical appraisal. But even after that, I imagine I still won't have settled--just like Mama's Gun.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
1

I was hitting next in the middle of each track and half the time I wasn't sure if I really was on the next track.

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Thu Dec 24 2020
3

So, here's the deal... take Badu off this album and it's a groovy slice of funky gold. Badu's uninspired, lazy (and at times really harsh) vocals, however, are slathered over on the groove, covering the flavor like ketchup on a fine steak. Every song's vocal lines are nearly identical, substituting lazy, mostly monotone vocals for true melody. I think she's probably capable of more than this but, for some reason, she decided to just phone it in. The saving grace of the vocal element is the lyrics which are pretty smart on the whole and which, along with the super tasty backing tracks, save this album from a lower-than-average score.

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Tue May 11 2021
1

Goddamn this is dull. All the songs are bland and blend into one mass of yawn. BT: Penitentiary Philosophy, Didn't Cha Know, Bag Lady

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Wed May 12 2021
1

Melted into the background. and all warbling sounded the same to me in the end. One line that stuck out, “I have green eyes because I eat vegetables”. She has brown eyes on the album sleeve. Sorry for being glib.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

What a voice! This is lyrically, instrumentally, and produced so uniquely. The album gets much better in the later half. Worth revisiting for sure. For that alone it's getting the highest honor: adding to my spotify favorites.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
1

This took me three days to get through. One of the most miserable experiences I've had, nearly 300 albums in. I'm not a fan of the genre, but can generally appreciate artistry/talent. This one I really struggled to find anything redeeming about. Inane lyrics bellowed dramatically over pedestrian jazz licks.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

This album SLAPS. What a sweet, laid back, groovy 2000's R&B vibe. Definitely coming back to this one!

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Sat Apr 10 2021
5

So very groovy and seemlessly interesting

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

She's such a badass. And this album is so good. Funky and soulful.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

funky and mad rhythm right off the bat. this album grooves so hard. Kiss Me On My Neck is a good groove. Yea this album slaps

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Wed Sep 29 2021
5

Wow, this one blew me away. Erykah Badu is legendary but I've yet to hear an album from her. This was fantastic, each song bleeding into the next. Reminded me of Dark Side of the Moon, and funny enough when I was doing some Erykah Badu research she lists Dark Side of the Moon as one of her top 10 albums of all time. The grooves on here are undeniable, so many tracks that I loved and will surely return to. Also special shout out to the sample on Bag Lady, the same sample used by Dr. Dre on Xxplosive the year prior. It's a long album, but the length doesn't bother me because it's so smooth. How refreshing to have an album from this century, from a black woman nonetheless, and it's better than a lot of the old foagies we get from across the pond. Just like I did with Dark Side of the Moon, I'm preemptively giving this a 5 star. It can only improve with further listens. Favorite tracks: No idea how to narrow this down, but Didn't Cha Know, My Life, Cleva, Kiss Me On My Neck, Bag Lady, Time's A Wastin'. Album art: Really like the font and framing here. Obvious throwback, and a bit unassuming, but I think it fits the vibe of the album really well. Little do you know how impressive the music within will be. 5/5

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Thu Nov 26 2020
4

Really jazzy neo-soul It's pretty easy listening, like I'd hear it in a lounge or coffee shop. Honestly I think what's keeping mre from LOVING it is her voice, it's really raspy and kinda wish it just hit me with more oomph. Flies by though. Can't believe it's 71 minutes

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Sun Feb 07 2021
4

another album i heard way too late after it was released. this was such a good listen to, i'll definitely have to make more time to listen to it again.

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Mon Aug 23 2021
4

Lovely, calming, easy listening.. beautiful songs, beautiful lyrics, soul healing..

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Wed Jan 19 2022
4

couldnt stand the growing pains🍏

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Thu Jan 14 2021
3

Liked it plenty. Good groove for whole album. No standouts no duds.

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Fri Feb 26 2021
3

The first half of this record is so fuckin good. It really lags around the second half but still great overall.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
3

This was definitely different than most of the albums on this list. Not bad, but not something I would want to listen to often.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
3

Very pleasant but unremarkable. If I had a posh dinner party to host I could play it to show how cool I am. A low 3.

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Thu Mar 21 2024
3

Albums like these are the most unfairly affected by the method in which I consume them: at work. I can't always focus on lyrics, which I think is likely where this album would shine. Musically, sure, it was soulful, even groovy at times, but it's often pretty barebones too. Ms. Badu has a lovely, smooth voice, but I'd have appreciated more active instrumentation. The songs (and the album itself) also go on just a little too long without much diversity to break things up. I acknowledge the album as an R&B classic, but it didn't do all that much for me.

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Thu Mar 21 2024
3

No disrespect to Erykah Badu, this is a fine album, but the 70 minute, CD-era album just doesn’t work for me anymore. If there’s one thing I’m realizing through out the course of this list is that there’s nothing better than a 40 minute lp. Otherwise, Mama’s Gun is a fun and funky album, even if it runs a little too long for my taste.

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Tue Jun 01 2021
2

Just nothing special, way too long and not memorable

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Sat Mar 27 2021
2

I think I've been conditioned to fall asleep when Badu comes on, a flatmate used to play it to relax at nap times. Ir doesn't really go anywhere or do anything, it's just there making random noise like a ticking clock.

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Fri May 14 2021
2

So very very long. Sadly it turns the listen into a chore and while I didn’t necessarily dislike the album, there was very little on there that would make me go back for for 2nd listen

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Tue Nov 01 2022
2

As is often the case with the albums listed here, what starts with the promise of freshness quickly deteriorates into the repetitive.

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Wed May 12 2021
1

Never even heard of it before. Left me cold. In fact I hated it. 1 Star

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Fri May 07 2021
1

Black intelligent people music and I am white

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Sat Apr 22 2023
1

You remove the vocals, it sounds like soundtrack for some VHS porn tape

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Mon Nov 02 2020
5

really good album. i dont know enough about soul to comment much on it but its very pretty and has a really good aesthetic. barely drags which is kinda impressive for 71 minutes. god why was every 90s/early 2000s album so long. like i know its because of cds or whatever but whyyyy. ah well it doesnt really matter in this case. first couple tracks are magical and it doesnt ever rly reach that height but it stays at a consistently 9/10 zone for most of the runtime. good stuff 9/10

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Very good and worth another listen!

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

Really groovy, cool backing beats and vocals. Fave songs - Penitentiary Philosphy

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

I can't believe I've never heard this album before! This is going in my regular rotation

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

Execution, vision, and funk--what's not to love?

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Wed Apr 21 2021
5

this goddamn woman can do no wrong. also i owned this IRL and its good to listen to with the right company (y'know, to DO THE THING)

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Tue Aug 24 2021
5

Nostalgiset fiilikset! Levyhyllyltä löytyy samainen levy CD:nä ja toimii edelleen ku junan vessa. Herättää aina muistoja. Todella kova.

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Tue Aug 24 2021
5

семпл др дре вишенка

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

I'm not the biggest R&B guy, but this record is crazy groovy and the vocals are epic and interesting in each track. 5/5

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Sat Oct 02 2021
5

Awesome, never really listened to her but k oe of her as Andre 3K's baby mama 😂 this is decent. Smooth, groove, soul. Definitely some outkast similarities, also clear inspiration for people like Hiatus Kayote and Childish Gambino. 4. Maybe a 5 actually, loved it

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

Amazing album! I wonder if it would get five stars if I was deeper into the year.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

This album is amazing it's a great follow up to Baduizm I really enjoyed my listening experience

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

This one I came to through my wife's collection - saw her live at First Avenue Main room in the early 2000s and it was an incredible show. I think the is an actually important album, true 21st century innovation in funk.

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Sat Feb 05 2022
5

Very smooth, love erykah badu!

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Sat Feb 12 2022
5

Awesome! Pure cool choons, funky beats and neat riffs. Love it!

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Tue Feb 15 2022
5

Given its length, some of the good, but not great songs could have been left out. Nevertheless, the overall vibe of the album and the many great songs made me give it 5 stars.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
5

Cet album est un sacré pied de nez envers les amateurs de musique punk se remplissant les oreilles de merde au jour le jour.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

One part Choose Your Weapon, one part Awaken, My Love! (or Maggot Brain), one part straight soul music. R&B, soul, jazz, rap are the ingredients used in this creative experiment. It works well. The vocals always stand out in front of the instrumentation, but Erykah maintains the balance of complimenting rather than overpowering. Very cool record, I wasn't sold on it immediately but it managed to grip me after a few minutes of listening. I will definitely be listening to this one again. My actual rating is a 4.5/5, so I will round up on this one. Fave tracks: Penitentiary Philosophy, Orange Moon, Green Eyes

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Tue May 03 2022
5

Quickly jumped to one of my favorite R&B albums of all time. Badu is a master of her craft. Perfect mix of jazz, soul, and blues to make something uniquely her's.

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Tue May 31 2022
5

Beautiful from start to finish.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

Amazing album; one of the greats.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
5

Erykah Badu is good shit. This is good shit.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

First time hearing it front to back, this was really good. It really should be listened to all in one sitting

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Sat Sep 03 2022
5

A marvelous sophomore release, on which Badu explores a wide swath of emotions and themes, from closing yourself off to outside ideas on "Penitentiary Philosophy", to self-acceptance in the face of the prevalence of superficiality in society on "Cleva", infidelity on "Booty", police violence and racial profiling on "A.D. 2000", the weight of emotional baggage on "Bag Lady", from pure unadulterated romance on "I'm in Love with You" to jealousy with a touch of self depreciating humor on "Green Eyes". An album that is consistent in it's musicality, well written and understated lyrics and excellent production. Speaking of production, it serves as a good introduction to the producer J Dilla, whose classic "Donuts" is (surprise, surprise!) missing from the list. This one may be a grower if neo-soul isn't your bag, but give it a few spins, it's one of those records that not only has a timeless quality, but also infinite replay-ability.

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Mon Sep 05 2022
5

One of the best r&b albums ever, Ms Badu you've rocked my world

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Mon Oct 03 2022
5

Such a pleasant album to listen to.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

Yes! Funky, smooth, unique voice. Musical poetry. Love this so hard!

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Fri Oct 14 2022
5

A great album and one I’d say is one of a kind except I think it works well as the sister companion to D’angelo’s Voodoo. There are a diverse array of sounds on here but the project feels cohesive overall in the way it mixes jazz, soul, hip hop and rock. Really special.

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Fri Oct 14 2022
5

I know Erykah Badu but I’ve never listed to this full album. I enjoyed it. Very funky and soulful. It’s clear how influential this was on later R&B and rap of the 2000s and even still today

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Fri Oct 14 2022
5

Over an hour of songs smooth as butter. Can't really say a bad thing about the album

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Sat Nov 05 2022
5

Deliciously soulful. A great soundtrack for a chill Friday evening after a long, hard week.

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Sat Nov 05 2022
5

Erykah Badu is an artist that I have very little familiarity with but has been on my list of artists that I wanted to explore more. So happy that this project has pushed me in that direction!! Loved it!

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Fri Nov 18 2022
5

Wow, j’ai beaucoup aimé cet album. C’est très varié, tout en étant très unifié et cohésif. Les grooves sont monstrueux. La voix est magnifique, avec juste ce qu’il faut de slang. Le propos est intelligent.

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Fri Dec 30 2022
5

Always been a casual fan of Badu but this is the first time I've ever listened to one of her records front to back. And holy shit I'm so glad I did. Such a great one to put on when you're winding down.

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

Pretty good. I need to listen again but I was jamming on the first play through.

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Sat Jan 14 2023
5

10/10 extraordinarily beautiful and consistently enjoyable

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Wed Jan 18 2023
5

Cleva went right on my empowerment playlist. Perfect. And now I've learned that she crochets her own clothes. That's the fifth star for me.

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Fri Jan 20 2023
5

This is pretty funky. I love this one. I forgot how badass Erykah Badu was on this album or at this time. This is amazing. When I need to chill and just relax, I'll come back to this one. I'm glad this is in my algorithm now. 95/100 or 5 stars in the 1001 album ranking.

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Tue Jan 24 2023
5

I had only heard Baduizm before this and loved it, but this shit is on a different level. This is a perfect album to me.

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Sat Jan 28 2023
5

Love the groove and low key sound of this album, I even still love it despite listening to it when I had a car accident.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

This is the ideal Sunday brunch soundtrack. Soul soothing.

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Sat Feb 25 2023
5

I listened to this twice, the first time just in the background and I didn't think much of it. I only knew "Didn't Cha Know" before and did like it, so felt like I was missing something. I gave it a second listen with my "good" headphones, and was completely blown away! The production is fantastic, great drum and bass sound, and her vocals are really unique and interesting. The panning on "AD 2000" is particularly beautiful, like being wrapped in a warm blanket.

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Sat Mar 04 2023
5

Letras muy buenas, ritmos que juegan con la parodia/cliche/inmersión y las letras se le suman a eso a veces. Los géneros que se tocan son fieles a sus raíces en todos los aspectos. La voz es hermosa y sabe lo que hace en todo momento, tiene un delivery selecto pero acertado. 9/10

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

More groovy than her debut, more heartfelt, more adventurous.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
5

Big DiFranco energy. Flawless, fresh, funky. Fantastic.

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Thu Jul 13 2023
5

Nice find - adding to Favorites

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Wed Jul 19 2023
5

This album is so freaking good. It's groovy, the songs transition into each other, and it just sounds awesome. Vocals, instrumentals, and songwriting are top notch. My first five star and well deserved. This is a song I'd buy on vinyl if I collected them

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