Four years ago, André 3000 shared two songs via Soundcloud and no where else. You might know André as one half of OutKast, the other being Big Boi. The duo changed what hip-hop could be with songs like ‘Hey Ya!’ or my personal fave, ‘B.O.B.’ André featured in a lot of music in the aughts and teens, but these Soundcloud songs appeared one auspicious holiday, on Mother’s Day of 2018.
When you hear this track, you’ll understand why the date matters. The song is an ode to mothers and fathers, to parents — or, simply, to people who raised us.
It’s a recollection of drives André went on as a kid, and it paints a bright scene you might recognize: riding shotgun with mom or dad, which was like being co-driver in the most important race in the world. It didn’t matter where you were going. As long as it was the two of you, things would be OK. Not that they always had to be OK, and certainly not that they would stay that way.
Growing up means growing apart. It means going from the passenger’s seat to the driver’s seat at some point and waving goodbye to parents. Burying them, too.
Hence the track’s title. I find it hard to believe the song’s four years old now. I feel like I heard it yesterday for the first time; its emotion still conveyed so clearly it hurts. This is a song that makes you miss the moments you and your mother or father shared. And it makes you long for moments you didn’t.
The intro is a flat hum leading a piano in by the hand, as André recalls his parents in the car. The interlude even has him playing the bass clarinet. On exhale, air winding through makes music one moment and a ragged sound the next. The memory running out of breath.
As the song winds down, André’s voice fades. Losing count of mom and dad, finally folding into quiet. In a word, the song is resonant. The feelings it stirs are inevitable. If you’ve lost a parent, first, let me say sorry for your loss. Second, let me warn you about listening, because the song will make you bawl. I know I do.