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Plenty of musicians like to play it tough - but at the end of the day, everyone is someone's son or daughter, whether they're a big, bad metaller, a wild pop eccentric or a tough-cookie rapper. So, as Mother's Day comes around once more, it's a good moment to celebrate those artists who aren’t too big to pay tribute to their mums, in song or in public.

1. Beyoncé

Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles, 2006
Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles, 2006
My mother always taught me to be strong and to never be a victim. Never make excuses

"My mama taught me better than that," Beyoncé sang on Destiny's Child's Survivor, and for her, preaching female empowerment and singing her mother's praises have always gone hand in hand. She stayed true to that ethos through the tough times: the end of their parents' marriage is a source of pain for most people, but for Beyoncé it's also a source of pride. On Ring Off, from her 2013 eponymous album, she makes a play on the lyrics from her own mega-hit Single Ladies to offer her mother Tina Knowles understanding, sympathy and praise for having the courage to leave her father, Matthew, in 2009 (Beyoncé herself split professionally from Matthew, her former manager, in 2011). "Always know," she sings, "that you've got a daughter / That's so, so proud you took the high road."

In 2014 film Yours and Mine, she added: "My mother always taught me to be strong and to never be a victim. Never make excuses. Never expect anyone else to provide for me things I know I can provide for myself." Advice to live by.

My mother always taught me to be strong and to never be a victim. Never make excuses

2. Skepta

[WATCH] Skepta wins the Mercury Prize 2016

My mum was like, 'Look man, you're alive. Really appreciate your life and go for it'

Skepta really loves his mum, which, as the below tweet proves, makes touring difficult.

"Me without mum is like cornflakes without the milk," he also confessed on his track Sweet Mother in 2007. And if that wasn't sweet enough, who could forget his heart-melting tribute to his ma at the 2016 Mercury Prize ceremony (during what was already the most touching and infectiously joyous award acceptance of all time). After thanking a long list of people, Skepta saves the most important until last: "My mum and dad and all my friends' mums and dads because they made us, they gave us that voice in our heads that's talking to keep us in line and keep us in check."

Skepta also recently told The Fader that his mum had inspired him at a young age by telling him that there was no god, and that he had to make his legacy here on earth. "My mum was like, 'Look man, you're alive. Really appreciate your life and go for it. Anything you want to do now, you better do it now. It's not like Patrick Swayze. You ain't going to die then fly up and get a chance to look back at what you've done… I think that that gave me the power to always want to do now."

My mum was like, 'Look man, you're alive. Really appreciate your life and go for it'

3. Kate Bush

Although she'd already passed away, I really felt that she was there helping me get it right

In Mother Stands For Comfort from 1987's Hounds of Love, Kate Bush sings of a maternal love that's almost too powerful, forgiving great wrongs with ease: "She won't mind me lying… Mother will hide the murderer."

Her own experience of mother-love was much more beneficent, growing up in an idyllic farmhouse in Welling, Kent. Bush's mother was born Hannah Daly into a large musical family in County Waterford, and that Irish inheritance played a large part in her daughter's music. Hannah died while Bush was recording The Red Shoes in 1992, a loss referenced on Bush's album Moments of Pleasure: "I can hear my mother saying / 'Every old sock meets an old shoe' / Ain't that a great saying?"

A few years later, Bush recorded a version of the song Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland), and felt her mother's guiding hand. "Although she'd already passed away, I really felt that she was there helping me get it right," she told the Irish Independent. Then, on her album Aerial, released nine years later, she paid tribute to Hannah yet again in the Coral Room, where memories are stirred by her mother's small brown milk jug into a beautiful meditation on time and grief.

Although she'd already passed away, I really felt that she was there helping me get it right

4. Taylor Swift

Andrea Swift and Taylor at the 2010 American Music Awards
Andrea Swift and Taylor at the 2010 American Music Awards
My mom and I have always been really close. She's always been the friend that was always there

The original squad had a membership of just two: Taylor Swift and her mother Andrea. The young Swift spent her early years living on a Christmas tree farm, cared for by her mother, a former finance marketing executive. In the Best Day, she recounts memories from infancy, painting in the kitchen, up to her tempestous teens and problems at school. "I'm 13 now and don't know how my friends could be so mean / I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys / And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away / And we talk and window shop till I've forgotten all their names."

The two remain close, sticking together through Andrea's cancer diagnosis in 2015. "My mom and I have always been really close," she told US show Celebrity Close Up. "She's always been the friend that was always there. There were times when, in middle school and junior high, I didn't have a lot of friends. But my mom was always my friend. Always."

My mom and I have always been really close. She's always been the friend that was always there

4. 2Pac

You always was a black queen mama

2Pac's 1995 track Dear Mama is consistently one of the most searched-for songs on Mother's Day, perhaps because it's brave enough to acknowledge that mother-child relationships aren't always roses and sugar. Documenting the rapper's early conflicts with his mother Afenia Shakur in a childhood marred by poverty and problems, it's as full of frankness as it is love and respect: "You always was a black queen mama… a poor single mother on welfare, tell me how you did it?... You are appreciated."

In 2010, Dear Mama was added to the US Library of Congress National Recording Registry. Afenia said she was "incredibly touched. It could have been any song, but I'm honoured they chose Dear Mama in particular. It is a song that spoke not just to me, but every mother that has been in that situation, and there have been millions of us. 2Pac recognised our struggle, and he is still our hero."

If you feel the same, the handwritten lyrics for the song are currently on sale for a cool $75,000, as The Fader reports.

You always was a black queen mama

6. Spice Girls

Your mum's probably the best friend that you've got

At the core of the Spice Girls girl power philosophy was the liberating strength generated by female friendship. And as Mel B said in their official book Real Life: Real Spice, "Your mum's probably the best friend that you've got. Whether she's an over-protective mother or a bit of a landmine, she probably knows you better than yourself in some ways."

Mama, written while Brown was going through a "bad patch" with her own mother, is about the ups and downs of mother-daughter friendship: "She used to be my only enemy and never let me be free… I never thought you would become the friend I never had." Or as Mel C put it: "Mama's about how you're such a cow to your mum when you're going through that rebellious teenage stage. Then when you get a bit older, you realise that whatever she was doing, she was only doing it for your own good. And you think, 'God, I was really horrible.'"

And the girls still keep mums in mind on Mother's Day:

Your mum's probably the best friend that you've got

7. Metallica

Mama, she has taught me well

Like 2Pac, on Mama Said Metallica's James Hetfield here confronts a mother-son relationship that wasn't always easy. Hetfield's parents were devout believers in Christian Science, a religious movement whose followers sometimes place the healing properties of prayer above medicine. His mother died of cancer when he was 16 - a tragedy addressed on Metallica's song The God That Failed from their 1991 eponymous album (known as The Black Album) where he vents his anger at the faith that kept her from seeking treatment. On Mama Said from 1996's Load, he revisits good memories of his mother and addresses the burden of his grief in a song that’s all about loving and letting go. "Mama, she has taught me well / Told me when I was young / 'Son, your life's an open book / Don't close it 'fore it's done.'"

Mama, she has taught me well

8. Paul Simon

My mother was the first nourishing person in my life

In Cornel Bonca's biography, Paul Simon: An American Tune, Simon calls his mother "the first nourishing person in my life. She made me feel as if I could take my needs very seriously, because she did." Loves Me Like a Rock from 1973 pays tribute to the sort of all-forgiving love Simon felt from his mother, Belle, a primary school teacher who also gave music lessons, and particularly on the self-confidence and righteousness such a love can bring: "When I was a little boy / And the Devil would call my name / I'd say, 'Now who do / Who do you think you're fooling?'"

My mother was the first nourishing person in my life

9. Björk

If she sinks I'm going down with her

Björk's mother Hildur Runa Hauksdottir, a feminist and activist, was a big influence on her daughter and many songs through her career make reference to the idea of motherhood and the connection between mother and daughter. There's the joyous Mama by her former band The Sugarcubes ("Give me a big mother / huge and loving one") and Heirloom, from Vespertine, which finds Björk describing a dream in which her mother and son pour bowls of glowing oil into her stricken throat.

In Hollow, from Biophilia, she reflects on heredity and DNA ("Generations of mothers sailing in / Somehow they all were shipfolks… Like a bead in necklace / Thread me upon this chain) and in Quicksand from 2015's Vulnicura, she returns - after her split from husband Matthew Barney and her own mother's heart attack - to the idea of the thread between mother and daughter, singing, "If she sinks I'm going down with her," adding: "Every time you give up / You take away our future / And my continuity and my daughter's / And her daughters."

If she sinks I'm going down with her

10. Drake

Drake and his mother, Sandi Graham, courtside at a basketball game, 2015
Drake and his mother, Sandi Graham, courtside at a basketball game, 2015
It's our world, it's just us two

Canadian rapper/singer Drake has a very close relationship with his mother Sandi Graham. Celebrating her birthday in 2016, he posted a video (below) of her blowing out her candles with the adorably soppy caption: "I do this all for you. Happy Birthday my angel."

He's also paid tribute to her in numerous songs, from Closer on 2007's Comeback Season ("I just want you to sit around with ya friends at a dinner table / And say, 'My baby's famous and I know it'") to Look What You Done from 2010's Take Care ("It's our world, it's just us two… It all worked out, girl, we shoulda known / Cause you deserve it") and You & the 6 from 2015's If You're Reading This It's Too Late, in which his mum, in true interfering fashion, tries to set him up with a personal trainer from her gym. "At least I'm always being true to what you taught me," Drake sings, having dodged the blind date. "Retired teacher, but your words still got me evolving."

It's our world, it's just us two

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