The Timeless Resonance of Motherless Lyrics by Killer Mike ft. Eryn Allen Kane

by Alex Harris

13th May, 2024

The Timeless Resonance of Motherless Lyrics by Killer Mike ft. Eryn Allen Kane

Songs That Transcend Eras

Certain songs transcend the constraints of their creation date to attain a rare, timeless quality.

They manage to tap into core human experiences and emotions that remain universally relatable across generations.

The haunting 2023 collaboration Motherless by American rapper and activist Killer Mike and Eryn Allen Kane has already established itself as an emotionally resonant artistic statement that will resonate with audiences for years to come.

A Poignant Tribute to Killer Mike’s Mother and Grandmother

Killer Mike Michael album cover
Killer Mike Michael album cover

Released on June 16, 2023, as part of Killer Mike’s album, Michael, featuring Eryn Allen Kane, is a heart-wrenching exploration of grief, love, and the enduring impact of matriarchal figures.

Written by Killer Mike, No I.D., Dammo Farmer, Warryn Campbell, and Eryn Allen Kane and produced by No I.D., the song resonates with raw emotional intensity.

Unflinching Lyrics on Grief and Longing

The poignant lyrics that comprise Motherless, written by Killer Mike, No I.D., Dammo Farmer, Warryn Campbell, and Eryn Allen Kane, delve into the depths of grief, longing, and the complexities of how a mother’s impact can reverberate eternally.

With their unflinching candour about mourning, lines like “My mama dead, my grandmama dead / To keep it honest, I get depressed and feelin’ scared” cut straight to the heart.

The verses shift between memories, regrets, and a longing for their presence, capturing the complexities of mourning.

Eryn Allen Kane’s Soulful Refrains

Eryn Allen Kane’s emotive vocals on the chorus, “Sometimes, I feel / Motherless,” resonate deeply, echoing the universal experience of losing a maternal figure.

Her powerful delivery adds an ethereal quality to the song, amplifying its emotional weight.

Killer Mike’s Quote on the Song’s Emotional Genesis

As Killer Mike revealed, Motherless was born from reflecting on his greatest fear being realised: losing his beloved mother Denise and grandmother Betty. “When ‘Motherless’ came about, the album was finished…but [No I.D.] said, ‘We gotta go deeper; what are you scared of?’ And I said, ‘My greatest fear has already been realised: I lost my mom and grandmama.’ He said, That’s what it’s going to be about.”

Achieving Profound Universality 

What makes Motherless so powerfully transcendent is how Killer Mike’s autobiographical accounts of grappling with the losses of his mother Denise and grandmother Betty achieve a profound universality.

The painful specifics he lays bare, like “I miss kissin’ you / I miss all your jewels and wisdom too” and “Pullin’ up Sunday nights to apologise,” are relatable to anyone who has had to persevere through the disorienting anguish and regrets that accompany death’s finality.

Honouring Eternal Matriarchal Legacies

At the same time, Killer Mike pays tribute to the eternal legacies those matriarchs bestowed upon him, with verses honouring their sacrifices (“You don’t understand the sacrifice that took from me”), tough love, wisdom, and enduring spiritual guidance (“I asked Betty for her prayers over my generation”).

In doing so, Motherless becomes an exploration of how the bonds we share with mothers and grandmothers can transcend the physical realm, shaping who we become long after they’ve departed.

An Honest, Poetic Rendering of Grief 

The unvarnished emotional truth and poetic language of the lyrics, combined with the gently soulful vocal performances and production by No I.D., imbue Motherless with a timeless aura.

Much like classics expressing the enduring human conditions of love, joy, or existential quandaries, this musical rendering of grief and loss will likely continue to deeply resonate and provide catharsis for listeners long after its initial release on June 16, 2023.

The “MOTHERLESS” Visual Eulogy

The powerful themes and raw emotion are vividly brought to life in the haunting Motherless music video directed by Shane Smith.

Intimate home footage and symbolic imagery, like an altar honouring Killer Mike’s mom and grandmother, capture the immensity of his love and loss.

The visuals heighten the song’s emotional impact, making the Motherless video a moving visual eulogy.

The Eternal Relevance of Universal Anguish 

The enduring poignancy and sheer emotional heft of Motherless lie in its centering of an experience and form of anguish that remain universal across cultures, generations, and eras.

The loss of a mother is something virtually everyone must confront, making this collaboration between Killer Mike and Eryn Allen Kane continually relevant as new listeners seek musical mediums to process and find solace in the face of such wrenching life journeys.

Timeless Musical Statements

In many ways, Motherless is a prime example of how great art can attain a timeless quality, specifically because of its unvarnished honesty in depicting an immutable facet of the human condition we can all relate to on some level.

By bravely baring his soul over No I.D.’s phenomenal musical backdrop, Killer Mike has ensured this lament for his mother and grandmother will remain powerfully relevant as a carthatic exploration of the healing process, inviting listeners to confront their own experiences with maternal absence and find solace in shared human experiences.

For that is the sublime beauty and purpose of timeless musical statements—to eternally provide resonance, understanding, and empathetic companionship for those experiencing inescapable anguish.

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Killer Mike MOTHERLESS ft. Eryn Allen Kane Lyrics

Intro: Eryn Allen Kane

Verse 1: Killer Mike & Eryn Allen Kane
My mama dead (My mama dead) my grandmama dead (Dead)
To keep it honest, I get depressed and be feelin’ scared (Sometimes, I)
You see I wasn’t prepared (Yeah) and never will be (Never will be)
To think about your death, Denice, sometimes, it kill me (Sometimes, I)
You won’t believe it, mama, I achieved it, mama
I turned these hatin’ ass people to believеrs, mama (Sometimes, I)
A Black boy born to a teen mama, mama
Gets rеgarded as a leader by his people, mama (Sometimes, I)
If God sent me back to normal to be next to you
I would gladly trade it all ’cause I be missin’ you (Some, sometimes, I)
I be missin’ huggin’ you, I miss kissin’ you
I miss all the jewels and I miss all your wisdom too (Some, some, sometimes, I)
Some days, I be mean as fuck, and I be meaner too (Oh, oh, oh)
Fussin’, fightin’ over fuck shit that be minuscule (Sometimes, I)
Shay and Taj tell me that’s just the Denice in you (I need you, mother)
And then send both your daughters, Mikey and Anniah too

Chorus: Eryn Allen Kane
Sometimes, I feel
Motherless (Mother, mother)

Verse 2: Killer Mike & Eryn Allen Kane
My mama dead (My mama dead, I need you)
Her mama dead (Her mama dead)
Her mama died in my arms, my ma said that wasn’t fair (Oh, mother, mother)
Her mama raised me, I told her she crazy (Sometimes, I need ya)
She told me, “One day, I’m gon’ be gone, Micheal, you gon’ see” (Mother, mother)
“That my mama wanted you, but you belong to me” (Amen, sometimes)
And you don’t understand the sacrifice that took from me (Amen, sometimes, I feel)
Like, pullin’ up on Sunday nights
Just to tell you I apologize, and mama, you was right (I need you, sometimes, I feel)
Like a hole in my heart (Pray for me)
And I wanna call the Lord but I don’t know where to start

Chorus: Eryn Allen Kane
Sometimes, I feel (You used to pray for me)
Motherless (Ee-eee, oh, oh)

Verse 3: Killer Mike & Eryn Allen Kane
My mama dead, my grandmama dead (Mama)
I miss ’em so much, sometimes, I just cry and hold my head (Mama, mama)
They left the world of man, like me and make sure all prepared (Sometimes)
To live a life to make sure my wife ain’t gon’ beg for bread (Sometimes, I need you)
I got an altar in my home to honor both of ’em (Mother)
Just this mornin’, I was smokin’, spoke to both of ’em (Sometimes, I need you)
I asked Betty for her prayers over my generation (Mother)
And I asked Niecy, “Keep me through my trials and tribulations” (Sometimes)
Death’ll come like thief in night and steal your joy away (And sometimes)
Have you askin’, “God, why You forsake your boy, today?” (I said sometimes)
Is this a blessing or a curse, or just some other shit? (Sometimes, I need)
No matter what, I’m numb as fuck ’cause I’m still motherless (You)

Bridge: Killer Mike & Eryn Allen Kane
My mama dead, my grandmama dead (Sometimes, I need you)
My mama dead, my grandmama dead
Sometimes, I feel (You used to pray for me)
My mama dead, my grandmama dead
Motherless (Oh, oh)
My mama dead, my grandmama dead (Ee-eee, oh, oh)
My mama dead, my grandmama dead
My mama dead (Mama, mama, mama)

Outro: Eryn Allen Kane
Sometimes (Ooh)
Sometimes, I need you, mother (Ooh)
Sweet (Sometimes)
Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet (Ooh)
Sweet, sweet, sweet, Denice, sweet
Hmm, hmm-hmm
Sweet, sweet, sweet
Sweet mama

Spoken Word
The rawness of happiness, especially coming from that struggle
You know what I’m sayin’?
And how you can work together through struggle and how you grow from struggle
Because that makes other things better in everything
If it’s a sports team, you get two or three different great ones and they work
I swear to God, it works with everything

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