The Top 10 Hip Hop Love Songs
Tue, 10 Feb 2009 09:34:20
1. LL Cool J – "I Need Love"
Arguably the second rap love song ever written (sorry L, Whodini beat you to the punch), LL lived up to his "Lady Lover" moniker with these hushed, come hither raps. The player had needs and he wasn't afraid to show it.
2. Method Man (feat. Mary J. Blige) — "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By"
The RZA laced Meth and Mary with the beat for this buttery banger featuring a chorus inspired by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1968 hit "You're All I Need to Get By." It was a "together forever" declaration that couldn't be denied.
3. Jay-Z (feat. Beyonce) — "'03 Bonnie and Clyde"
Foreshadowing much? Long before they would go on to become rap's royal couple, Hova and B teamed up on this rhyme spree as partners in crime. Combining samples from songs by both Tupac and Prince, it updated guy/girl criminality for the hood.
4. Outkast – "Ms. Jackson"
The Atliens weren’t out for tears on this one, but sometimes love has a plan of its own. Ms. Jackson was an apology to babies, to baby mommas, to baby momma's mommas and mostly to love itself.
5. UGK (feat. Outkast) — "International Players Anthem"
There's a day in every player's life when they look up and realize they’ve been out hustled by love, and it's time to settle down. Guest MC Andre 3000 is the champ retiring into married life on this cut, with his boys all sad to be losing a member of their team. The big, brassy sample from an old Willie Hutch tune plays like a halftime show letting everyone know there's actually still plenty of time left on the clock, though the stakes get higher from this moment on.
6. The Fugees – "Killing Me Softly"
Lauryn Hill's urban update of the '70s ode introduced a whole new generation to the seductive appeal of this song's mystery troubadour. Ms. Hill's smoky vocals and Wyclef Jean's break beat backing track pulsed through the pounding heart of radios everywhere, keeping love alive through this gentle nod to death.
7. Slick Rick — "Teenage Love"
Slick Rick may be the ruler, but he proved that love was king on his 1988 lament. Nothing burns like teenage heartbreak, so when Rick says "don’t hurt me again" it's a plea too painful to ignore.
8. Common — "I Used to Love Her"
Hip hop is a cold mistress. One minute she's got you all hugged up with the revolution talk, and the next there's a gun in your ribs as she sticks you for your jewels. Common knows the okey doke all too well, and he calls out the genre that first won his heart only to break it later over guns and bling. There are some hard feelings, but thankfully it was nothing they couldn’t work out in the end.
9. The Pharcyde — " Passing Me By"
Unrequited love may be the most prevalent variety, and the guys in the Pharcyde all got a taste of it's bitter fruit on this one. You can telegraph all the signals you want, but sometimes "return to sender" will be your only reply.
10. The Roots (feat. Erykah Badu) — "You Got Me"
Erykah Badu's haunted chorus hung in the air like the spirit of a love that refused to die on this tune. Her otherworldly promise of commitment reinforced Black Thought's lyrics as he pledged to hold it down for her in return.