Mama's Gun - Erykah Badu
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. The songs on Mama's Gun slip from one to the next effortlessly, coming together as a set of sedate, buttery-smooth grooves.
  2. But what makes Badu a source of deep pride for her black audience (and intriguing puzzlement for her ever-growing white one) is that her mysticism produces its most compelling poetry when set against gritty realities such as drug-dealing boyfriends, jealous neighbors, ghetto etiquette, and the constant war on poverty. As a songwriter, Badu's particular gift is being able to work such everyday touchstones into sublime allusions of spiritual rebirth.
  3. Mama's Gun finds Erykah disrobing emotionally, shedding the self-righteousness and goddess posture that marked Baduizm. The new Erykah isn't teaching, she's dealing with regular-person baggage.
  4. The Dallas native has created a womb of an album. It's a warm, soft, retreat from the outside world. Reading between the lines, this means no hits.... [but] reading the printed lyrics shows what a wonderful poet she is.
  5. Baduizm was a remarkable starting point... It may have been too much to expect her to emulate it, but there's not quite enough here.
  6. She scores over and over on 14-tracks-in-72-minutes that miss maybe twice and only seem long-winded when she gives the flautist some.
  7. Mama's Gun is the female companion to D'Angelo's ''Voodoo,'' with which it shares a reactionary pseudo- sophistication that too often substitutes good taste for good tunes. It's soul music for people who -- wrongly -- think rap is dumb and contemporary R&B is simplistic. Unlike D'Angelo, however, Badu has a nuanced voice that pokes through the bland surfaces; sometimes she manages moments worthy of her forebears, as on the slinky ''Bag Lady'' and the syncopated ''Booty.''
  8. It's everything we say we want in music: gutsy, introspective, innovative, bold, real in a way that few other albums even try to be...
  9. The production, lyrics, and hooks make this an impressive sophomore effort from Ms. Badu.
  10. But if Badu is worried about proving anything, her sophomore album Mama's Gun doesn't let it show. A little grittier and with just the right amount of added ambition, Mama's Gun picks up where Baduizm left off.... Factor in the deceptively simple arrangements, a lovely breakup suite ("Green Eyes"), and near-infinite replay value, and it becomes clear that it'll take at least another three years for the world to catch up with this one, too.
  11. On the 14-track "Mama's Gun," Badu mixes a little rock, some jazz, and a whole lot of soul.
  12. A definite work of art, destined to remain in heavy rotation for some time to come.
  13. 80
    Beyond Badu's self-appointed role as a teacher, what she does best is create really good music.... It should come as no surprise that Mama's Gun's organic feel comes from the team that helped produce D'Angelo's Voodoo. However, the most important sound of all is her unmistakable voice, making all of her songs like ornately crafted gems - even the unintelligible ones.
  14. 70
    Mama's Gun wisely doesn't stray too far from the free-flowing R&B of Baduizm: Almost every track here is slinky, scat-influenced soul with rich female backing voices, seeded with the occasional string section, trumpet, or sample (most notably Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive"). Lyrically, most of Mama's Gun rings true, with "Bag Lady," the somewhat draggy first single on which Badu dispenses soulful advice to a homeless woman, as the sole exception.
  15. The overlong LP... reveals an artist who could use some discipline, but there's enough melody, wit and funk hidden among these 14 tracks to brighten any R&B fan's Christmas.
  16. 60
    Her sinuous, Lady Dayish voice sets her apart. Unfortunately, it's not to be heard in full effect until about a third of the way through Mama's Gun... [Jan 2001, p.104]
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Dec 12, 2011
    10
    A freaking genius album that put Erykah on the map for me, and to this day remains a default go to record when I can't decide what to listenA freaking genius album that put Erykah on the map for me, and to this day remains a default go to record when I can't decide what to listen to, because I can listen to it in nearly any circumstance or mood. She hits political without getting preachy, and emotional without losing the sexy. Full Review »
  2. Oct 4, 2010
    10
    I listened to this album more than any other during the 00's
  3. BrandiC.
    Nov 28, 2008
    10
    This albumis a classic.