The often-reclusive André 3000 surprised his fans on Sunday (May 13), when he delivered two heartfelt tracks in the form of “Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)” and “Look Ma No Hands.”
The first of those songs, “Me&My,” is a piano-laden reflection on childhood. “Me and my mother drivin’ to the grocery store, me ridin’ shotgun with my window rolled down,” he sings. “Me and my father driving to the football game / Me ridin’ shotgun my window rolled down / He sipped cognac and kept us all laughin’ / I was much happier when he was around.”
The second track, “Look Ma No Hands,” is a clarinet and piano instrumental. Three Stacks played the bass clarinet on this 17-minute song, while James Blake handled the keys.
Questlove pointed out that the songs are even more touching once one understands the personal story behind them. “So #Andre3000 shares a song on Mother’s Day about his mom who passed on his bday…& his dad who passed a year later and damn man this his heartbreakingly amazing,” wrote The Roots drummer.
In October, André spoke about his relationship with his mother during an interview with GQ Style. “My mom was everything,” he said. “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. I would wrestle with my mom. Me and her, going at it. 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.'”
He also addressed his father’s death. “When my dad passed away, there was mourning for him dying, but there was a whole ‘nother wave of mourning because I realized, ‘Whoa, he died in his house alone.’ And I wondered: Had he done everything he wanted to do?…I don’t know [if he died in peace]. I don’t think so. He had all these troubles the last few years. He had to get his heart valve replaced and prostate cancer and colon cancer, and it’s kinda back-to-back-to-back at a certain point. But I think we made amends, and that was a cool thing. I do miss not being able to talk to him about him living alone and not ever being married. I think I would have gotten a lot of great insight.”