When one thinks of sensual music for that romantic get away, rap songs are usually the last thing that comes to mind.
Throughout the years rap music has been labeled misogynistic and unfriendly towards women.
Since Sunday (February 14) is Valentine’s Day, I decided to run down five of Hip-Hop’s best “love songs.”
While this list may not change anyone’s views about the attitudes towards women and rap, it does highlight the variety of subjects that rappers talk about when it comes to love.
Whether it’s guns, a woman, or love for their extended crew members, rappers have covered the topic of love with passion and innovation.
1. One Love – Whodini – 1986
This song was among Hip-Hops first crossover love songs, coming from a credible group. The song was featured on Whodinis Back in Black album, which was certified platinum behind hits like Funky Beat and One Love. In the first verse of One Love, the groups MCs, Ecstasy and Jalil both deliver verses that express their love for a particular woman and how they have been lucky in love.
There’s no one way, it can be explained/I guess it’s the way I smile, when I hear your name/It’s the little things that you do, that mean so much/It’s the care that you put, into every touch, Ecstasy raps.
On the second verse, the group focuses on losing love, something that every human being can relate to. Ecstasy loses his girl, thinking that he can buy her love, while Jalil breaks a womans heart, as well as his own, due to his infidelity. On the third and final verse, the pair trade off lines and express their thoughts about love in a tender manner, unfamiliar to most rappers of the day. And the video for the song is absolutely vintage 1980s, from the open shirts, to the dance steps. One of my favorite Hip-Hop songs.
2. One Love – Nas – 1994
One Love was featured on Nas debut release Illmatic, thats totally different from Whodinis. On Nas version of One Love he teams with Tribe Called Quest front man Q-Tip, who crafted an amazing, fearless track out of a sample by jazz greats, The Heath Brothers. And Nas rises to the occasion. Through his lyrics, you realize that the stressed out rapper is writing a letter to a friend named Born, who is locked up in prison for an unknown transgression.
Nas poetry and lyrical abilities are displayed in full glory on this track, through a number of clever lyrics that paint a vivid picture for the listener.
No time for looking back it’s done/Plus congratulations you know you got a son/I heard he looks like you, why don’t your lady write you?/Told her she should visit, that’s when she got hyper/Flippin, talk about he acts too rough/He didn’t listen he be riffin’ while I’m telling him stuff /I was like yeah, shorty don’t care, she a snake too/****** with the n****s from that fake crew that hate you/But yo, guess who got shot in the dome-piece?/Jerome’s niece, on her way home from Jones Beach/
Before the song ends, Nas shows some love and passes a dose of street knowledge to a 12-year-old who is smoking with him in the Queensbridge projects in Queens, New York.
3. I Need Love – LL Cool J – 1987
This is probably by far, rap musics best known love song. Although it was released in 1987 on the album Bigger and Deffer, the song continues to have legs on the radio and on various video shows. LL Cool Js song has the mushiest lyrics out of the majority of the rap songs, but it hit its 16-year-old female audience with laser like precision, upon its release as the second single from the album in 1987.
You can scratch my back, we’ll get cozy and huddle/I’ll lay down my jacket so you can walk over a puddle/I’ll give you a rose, pull out your chair before we eat/kiss you on the cheek and say ooh girl you’re so sweet/It’s deja vu whenever I’m with you/I could go on forever telling you what I do, LL raps.
When the song came out, like Whodini, the hardcore crowd accepted the track, simply because LL Cool J is an excellent rapper with a penchant for battling and dismantling his opponents. Because of his hardcore roots, LL had no problem showing his softer side to his female fans.
I need your ruby red lips sweet face and all/I love you more than a man who’s 10 feet tall/I’d watch the sunrise in your eyes/we’re so in love when we hug we become paralyzed, a smitten LL Cool J rhymes.
Throughout the course of his career, LL became famous for delivering a good party record in addition to female friendly songs like Around the Way Girl, Hey Lover and Doin it.
Those female fans and millions more still follow LL Cool J, as he has a starring role on CBS runaway hit series NCIS: Los Angeles.
4. Tupac – Me and My Girlfriend – 1996
This creative track was featured on Tupacs amazing album Makaveli – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory Album, which has sold in excess of 5 million copies in the United States alone.
Jay-Z and Beyonce remade this track in on the song 03 Bonnie & Clyde, but their version was nothing like the original. Tupacs girlfriend was blacker than night and was 45 years old. These are both references to a woman, but it has double meaning as his girlfriend is really the gun on his side.
I knew deep inside/baby girl would always be mine/Picked you up when you was nine, started out my life of crime wit you, bought you some shells when you turned twenty-two/It’s true, nothin compares to the satisfaction/that I feel when we out mashin me and my girlfriend, the late rapper rhymes.
Tupac further expresses his love for his gun later in the verse and by the third verse, he is metaphorically making love to the weapon before ending his rhymes with the lines:
Much love to my one and only girlfriend, the world is ours/Just hold me down, baby witness the power/Never leave a n***a alone, I love you black or chrome/Turn this house into a happy home”5. Truly Yours – Kool G. Rap – 1989
This song deals with the painful side of love, delivered through the genius of one of raps most gifted orators and lyricists, Kool G. Rap. On this song, Kool G. Rap is upset over the treatment he received from one of his ex-girlfriends. The woman must have been something to look at, at one point, but by the end of the song, you realize that G. Raps former flame is just an empty shell of her former self. And unfortunately, Kool G. Rap spends a lot of time pointing these faults out to the woman and her new boyfriend during the song. This track has all the ingredients for a perfect rap song. It was featured on G. Raps groundbreaking album Road to the Riches and was produced by legendary beat smith Marley Marl.
You wanted to leave because you didn’t believe that I would achieve/Cause you had something up your sleeve/Perhaps you might have thought I’m a dreamer with a fat head/Now you’re stuck with a baby from a crack head/Come to my shows, you want to check to see if I wreck it/The only record your man got is a jail record.
The verse directed towards the womans boyfriend is so offense, that the lyrics cannot be reprinted, even though the entire verse actually light on curse words.
On the third verse, Kool G. Rap returns to badmouthing his ex and even has some predictions for her future, which is basically doomed in the gangster rappers eyes.
Yo, you used to tell me all the time that you would be a model/Later in life, you’re living in a crack bottle/So when you’re begging on your knees because I’m clocking G’s/You’ll be in zero degrees getting processed cheese
This is a great song to innocently mouth off to, when you want to be a gangster rapper and have had your heart broken.
Hopefully everyone is finding love for Valentines Day 2010. Stay warm!
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