Drugs and guns seem to be the poster-children of Hip-Hop to outsiders. But since day one, Hip-Hop has been about the love of something. Through the years, the genre has supplied some of the greatest love anthems of modernity. From Spoonie Gee to Ghostface Killah, Hip-Hop and love have coexisted with tremendous artistry and lots of emotion. In honor of Valentine’s Day, AllHipHop.com saw it fit to touch on some of the impact these songs have had – on us, and on your favorite personalities of Hip-Hop. The results have been a collage of great songs, great feelings, and lots of memories of love in its purest form – the anthem.
Is LL Cool J’s “I Need Love” the G.O.A.T. in this department? See the forgotten gems others cite, as well as gain access into your favorite MC’s and celebrities’ love lives. Even if it is a holiday invented by greeting card companies, we still represent, One Love.
AllHipHop.com: What is your favorite Hip-Hop love song?
Lil’ Fame of MOP: “I Need Love” – LL Cool J. "When I’m alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall….That’s the only one you could really like. I’m emotional, dog. I don’t like soul music, man. That s**t makes me cry. I’m just making up now with my baby’s mom. She dumped me for the holidays."
Jean Grae: “Mahogany” – Rakim & “Electric Relaxation” – A Tribe Called Quest. "Mahogany," because it’s the god [of Rap] damn it…and that beat, jeez. Rakim gets sexy? Yeah! B-Girls around the world go, "Oooh." "Electric Relaxation" is an instant classic and the chemistry between Tip and Phife playing two totally different viewpoints is so sick. And you always love a song that no one knows the hook to, but still everyone says different words along with it. The hardest dudes can’t front on that song.”
Mike Gee of Jungle Brothers: “I Need Love” – LL Cool J. “Gotta be. It’s premier too, I got married right after Valentine’s Day.”
Aqua Boogie, AllHipHop Music Editor: "Electric Relaxation" – A Tribe Called Quest.
“It was like early ’94 and without question Midnight Marauders and Doggystyle were on heavy Walkman rotation. My game with the chicks was suspect so Snoop’s "Ain’t No Fun" type approach would have got me snuffed. But Q-Tip’s butter flow and Phife’s slick talk on "Electric Relaxation" inspired me to use the subtle smooth approach that has helped me keep female company to this day. For the record, it’s ‘Relax yourself girl, please settle down.’”
Brooke Valentine: “You Got Me” – The Roots, Erykah Badu, and Eve. “It’s just the way it makes me feel. It’s got a really good vibe to it and the songs I like, it stays the same. It doesn’t change with time. If I like it, I’m going to like it next year and the year after. I’m not wishy-washy."
Jigsaw, AllHipHop Co-Founder: “Thug Love Pts. 1-3” – Kool G Rap “It’s like the illest story ever, but it’s about a thug that fights love, but loses. He goes to war with a mob boss over a girl. The song is almost ten minutes long, but it’s broken into three parts. It’s like an Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie."
Mike from 112: "So Sexy" – R. Kelly & Twista. “I really like the combination of [those two].”
Lil Wyte: "Cut Something" – Jagged Edge, Twista, and Ludacris. “Tight lyrics on a hard track that you can f**k to. It [also] reminds me about my girl.”
Dove, AllHipHop Alternatives Editor: “You’re All I Need” – Method Man & Mary J. Blige. “When this dropped, I was deeply moved by it. Even though Method Man really tried to ugly himself up for the video, all the ladies still thought he was fine. It was hot because you could rock it in the club or put it on your slow jam tape. Everyone made slow jam tapes – don’t front.”
Cormega: “Rakim got two that stand out – “Mahogany” and “What’s on Your Mind”. You can’t front on LL “I Need Love.” MC Shan “She’s Gone.” Then you got Just-Ice “Latoya.” Who else? Slick Rick “Teenage Love.” Those are my favorites right there!”
Daz Dillinger: “Bomb A** P***y 2005” – Daz Dillinger. “That’s for Valentine’s for all the girls out there with that bomb ass, because there’s going to be a lot of sex goin’ on”
Paine, AllHipHop Features Editor: “Lady Don’t Tek No” – Latyrx. “Anytime I find a woman who fits into the lyrics of this, the knees start shaking, and all that jazz. I just love the picture that Lateef and Lyrics Born painted without being too soft, or too raunchy. Plus, that early Solesides beat is dope with the hand-claps. ‘Wherever you took my heart baby, send it home!’”
Pitbull: “Knockin’ Boots” – H-Town . “That was the s**t. I was just a jig back then…I was a little fellow, but I knew when that song came in that I wanted to feel on something.”
Nia Long: “Bonnie & Clyde” – Ice Cube & Yo-Yo. “That was actually the song that my ex-boyfriend Chris Webber used to play for me all the time, so it just brings back memories from back in the day.”
Crooked I: “I Need Love” – LL Cool J. “It was the bang’ums. I am old school.”
Illseed, AllHipHop rotten step-child: “Me & My B*tch" – Notorious B.I.G. “That song was obviously a ‘hood classic, but the truth is, its a love story to the fullest. You could tell that Biggie loved the girl to the very end. Riding and dying at its finest. I could have picked something sappy like "I Need Love" or Meth and Mary’s joint, but that Biggie song is the one I love. But, I don’t refer to women as b***hes…it’s the mood that the track brings. Unconditional love."
Alia, of Allure: “I Need Love” – LL Cool J. “I just love LL.”
Akissa, of Allure: “Song Cry” – Jay-Z. “The music is crazy, I love the sample because it’s mad old school. What he’s talking about is something that people can relate to.”
Lalisha, of Allure: “You’re all I Need to Get By” – Mary J Blige and Method Man. “It reminds me of being on the block.”
Pusha T, of Clipse: “Ahh man. I don’t know man. You gotta go to the Guy era for me. The whole Aaron Hall, Keith Sweat, Teddy Riley – New Jack Swing.”
45 King: “Me, personally, I wasn’t really hot on Hip-Hop love songs. I guess there’s a place for it when you’re young and into Hip-Hop like that. I can’t front, I remember not likin’ LL Cool J’s “I Need Love.” That’s not love to me.”
Grouchy Greg, AllHipHop Founder: “Left Me Lonely” – MC Shan & TJ Swan. “It has to be one of the earliest examples of the potential of Hip-Hop & R&B. Great song, I love TJ Swan’s falsetto. That’s just one of many. Groups like Force MD’s and Full Force were Hip-Hop mixed with R&B back then and they sounded great.”
Immortal Technique: "I Need Love" – LL Cool J or "Killin’ Me Softly" – The Fugees. “I don’t have one, these two made mamis lose it. They still do.”
Clinton Sparks: “Any Guy slow songs, any Jodeci slow songs, any Keith Sweat songs.
Teddy Riley is my biggest inspiration though. He made me want to become a producer. He will have on impact on the rest of my life.”
Nelly, on Hip-Hop Love: “Hip-Hop is love for community, love for your area, love for you and you and your family.”
Happy V-Day from AllHipHop.com!