Andre 3000’s First 2 Songs Of The Year Are In Loving Tribute To His Mother (Audio)
André 3000 does not release solo songs, at least not recently. The OutKast co-founder has spent the last dozen years making key appearances alongside other artists, and fans clamor for them. 3000’s sought-after guest words have knighted the likes of Frank Ocean and Travis Scott. Three Stacks has dropped dazzling statements alongside Big Boi and UGK, T.I., and A Tribe Called Quest. If ever there was an artist in modern music that made his product hard to earn, it seems to be Dre.
At the stroke of midnight (at least in Georgia), André Benjamin blessed Mother’s Day with two songs: “Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)” and “Look Ma No Hands.” Based on the titles and their attached family photo, these songs are deeply personal. Only one of the tracks one has words, but both seem to deal with the same premise: André’s late mother, as well as his father and childhood in general.
Speaking with GQ last fall, André opened up about losing both of his parents within the last five years. He described his mom, Sharon Benjamin-Hodo, and how possibly a Mother’s Day experience helped soften how he saw the woman who worked in a beauty salon. “My mom was everything. I grew up a mama’s boy completely. When I was small, she was like a dictator. I understand it now, but she still went hard. And I think when a male is not there, the woman goes harder.” Later in the chat with Will Welch, he added, “[My mother and I would argue]. And then you go through this ‘Ah, man, I hate my mom’ phase. And then one day—I think it was Mother’s Day or Valentine’s. I was 23 or 24. I took her out to the movies, and I’d left something in the car, and when I walked back to meet her, I looked at her and caught her face in such a way that I thought, ‘Oh, wow, that’s Mom.’ It’s like that moment where she’s not just this person that took care of you. It’s like, Whoa, she’s a woman, and she’s my mom.” In that conversation, ‘Dre admitted that losing his mother as well as his father, Lawrence Harvey Walker, put him in a creative hole.
“Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)” is the much more somber of the two songs. Accompanied by piano playing from Kevin Kendrick, this track reflects back on car rides and simple childhood details that now mean so much. In the absence of those family members, the memories shimmer strongly while reflecting. One verse is dedicated to his mother. The second addresses Benajmin’s father, who was absentee—but the artist made peace with later in life.
Although the song may sound a step closer to John Legend than Hip-Hop, it shows the artistic courage and authenticity in Three Stacks’ latest work. As an artist who is often very private about his challenges, perhaps this song represents a type of confirmation or closure. In any event, it is evocative to all with parents, living or dead.
The other song, “Look Ma No Hands,” is a 17-minute song that is best categorized as Jazz. It includes piano and horns—what is believed to be a clarinet. In that GQ conversation, André spoke of his desire to master instruments beyond the novice level playing (as he suggests) on past projects. Releasing this composition implies that Benjamin is reaching his goals.
At a time in music when anything seems possible, André using new Soundcloud and IG accounts at a whim is a great thing for opening the channels for his creativity for one of music’s most talented living artists.