In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, in celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re picking songs about moms—or that have a mom-related word in their titles.
What happens when all the hustling pays off? After struggling in the streets for years to make it, and you make it to the top of the game, then what? Clipse’s stripped-down second album, Hell Hath No Fury, wallows in the trappings of success—braggadocio, remorse, paranoia, wistfulness. Nowhere is that second element more pronounced than on the album’s second track, “Momma I’m So Sorry,” and its hook, “Momma I’m so sorry / I’m so obnoxious.”
Malice, the other half of Clipse with his brother Pusha T, raps the song’s chorus, the words he rhymes with “obnoxious” offering a peek into his bad behavior: arrogance toward law enforcement (“I don’t fear Tubbs and Crockett”), the life of crime that imperils him and his family (“Got two hot rocks in my pocket”), and his failing conscience (“My only accomplice is my conscience”).
Despite its title, “Momma I’m So Sorry” is a larger apology to all the important women in the duo’s lives—or at least Malice’s, whose religious reawakening (he has since adopted the name No Malice and sworn off gangsta rap) was taking root. He apologizes to his grandmother for airing family business in public and admits to his baby mama he feels insufficient for her (“I can’t look you in the face / ’Cause I can’t do enough / You a symbol of God’s grace”).
Accompanying all of this is the sparest production The Neptunes have ever executed, a mechanical-sounding hi-hat sticking out over minimal percussion as chord organ plays a simple melody. “Momma I’m So Sorry” is a standout on an album full of standouts—Hell Hath No Fury is easily one of the best hip-hop albums of the ’00s. As Pusha has said, it’s his favorite Clipse song on “the best album ever to come out in the world.”