For all of those who believe that Hip-Hop is crude and rude with no heart or respect towards the ladies, this list is for you! In honor of Valentine’s Day that recently passed, this list will highlight 10 of the greatest love songs in Hip-Hop History. Can you name your top 10 Hip-Hop love songs, and can you guess who will make my list at number one and why? Well here is the rundown:
10. Renee – by The Lost Boyz
This was a true ghetto love anthem that was tough enough to earn the fellas respect on the block, but endearing and sensitive enough to warm the heart of any lady!
9. Hey Lover – by LL Cool J Feat. Boyz II Men
Any song sampling Michael Jackson’s timeless classic “Lady In My Life” is bound for classic status, and Hey Lover proved to do just that. Packed with LL’s smooth laid back flow and Boyz II Men’s harmonizing crooning this song will be every Hip-Hop lovers slow jam for years to come.
8. What’s on your mind – by Eric B. & Rakim
Sampled from another classic soulful love song (Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing), this early 90’s love gem by one of the greatest MC’s of all time was not only on this duo’s 4th (and final) album Don’t Sweat the Technique, as well as the House Party II Soundtrack! That’s just how hot it was. Ra’s smooth vocals armed with superior lyrical wordplay was bound to arouse any ladies mental, while their lover can take care of the physical 🙂
7. Your All I Need (to get by) – by Method Man Feat. Mary J. Blige
Packed with Meth’s raspy voice, contrasted with Mary’s heart pouring melodies, a boom bap track and a hauntingly effective Notorious B.I.G. sample, this song was so effective it eventually went on to win a Grammy! Not an easy feat to take lightly considering Hip-Hop’s infancy state during the early 90’s and lack of respect from other musical genre peers.
6. One Love – by Whodini This was a talented trio from Brooklyn that dropped one of the most sincere, honest, and fresh to def love anthems in Hip-Hop in the late 80’s! Many Hip-Hop historians credit Whodini for laying the foundation and groundwork of a radio friendly R&B; flavored style of rap that has been enjoyed, emulated and imitated, but never duplicated by everyone today from Nelly, to Jermaine Dupri to 50 Cent!
5. I Used To Love Her – by Common
Not your typical average love song I know, but I figured what better way to show a Hip-Hop love song, then to honor the song that shows love and admiration for Hip-Hop music, art & culture itself! One of the dopest stories and odes to Hip-Hop ever told, Common’s tell is as timeless as it is creative and only gets better with age like fine wine!
4. Teenage Love by Slick Rick
Classic material represented in music form! This was one of my personal favs (as you can see by being in my top 5 on here lol). Rick was always a master story teller and telling an endearing tale of heartbreak in a love song like this was no exception. And you gotta give it up to a cool cameo of Hip-Hop legend Big Daddy Kane in the video as well. Classic indeed!
3. Mahogany by Eric B. & Rakim
Slow flow wizardry was taken to another level with this slow tempo style gem here. Ra took his time to lullaby you into submission with a style that was cool laid back and relaxed! Pure genius!
2. Bonita Applebum – by A Tribe Called Quest
One of the hootest beatsd of al time, first of all! And Q-Tip one of the coolest and smoothest voices on the mic, and one kick ass catchy hook and that’s all she wrote! The Fugees even sampled part of the song for their Juggernaut hit Killin Em Softly (the Roberta Flack remake off their multi-platinum album The Score)! But Tribe’s love jam here was just simple but oh so effective. Boy meets girl, boy wants to be with girl, boy speaks to & tries to get girl! Bonita Applebum, you gotta put me on 🙂
And drum roll please for the number 1 greatest Hip-Hop love song of all time which is
I Need Love – by LL Cool J
As if you didn’t already know, this is the true epitome of a love song for Hip-Hop bar none! The ultimate anthem for any B-boy to show his affection for that special lady he wants to make his own! Smooth, sincere, romantic, yet firm and real, this song is the blueprint that many love sick casanovas in Hip-Hop rely on to this day for inspiration (ex: from Ja Rule, to Fabolous and ever other rapper in between). Ladies loved Cool James for a reason, and I think I Need Love is one of the reasons why!
And I have to show some love to these honorable mentions:
Roxxanne Roxxanne – by UTFO/ Somebody for Me – by Heavy D. & The Boyz/ I’ll Do For You – Father MC/ Love Me Or Leave Me Alone – by Brand Nubian/ Just A Friend by Biz Markie
So now that you heard my list, let’s here yours. Who would you name in your top 10 Greatest Hip-Hop love songs of all time and why? Good luck!