Friday, 14 February 2014

Hip-Hop's Most Precious Love Songs

With Valentine's day becoming a huge part of our society, I thought it might be a cool idea to talk about some of my personal favorite Hip-Hop love songs. You see, a long time ago, before Drake attempted to "soften-up" the culture with overly sentimental love songs, rappers have always expressed their emotional happiness, struggles, and pains in their music. From A Tribe Called Quest to Common to The Roots, wonderful ballads have been introduced into the Rap game that have stood the test of time and were able to illicit emotions from the listener. There are many great love songs that still come out now that are just as touching, but some of my personal favorites are classic old-school tracks. So without further adieu (in no particular order), here are some of my favorite Hip-Hop love songs.

I think it would be a sin in Hip-Hop to not include this track, as I'm sure it's one of the most popular love songs in Hip-Hop history. Common has always been a top 5 rapper to me because of his poetic way of rapping, which is evident in The Light. I believe Common recorded this song (for his classic album Like Water For Chocolates) during his relationship with Erykah Badu. He wrote The Light as an ode to her and the way she made him feel, and from listening to the song, you can tell that Common was at a very positive place. With lines like "I never call you my bitch or even my boo/There's so much in a name and so much more in you" and "Because of you, feelings I handle with care/Some niggas recognize the light but they can't handle the glare" you can feel the love Common had for Erykah. The beat is produced by the legendary J Dilla (R.I.P.) and it's one of the best beats I've ever heard. The hook is very soulful and the ending is perfect. I highly recommend you check this track out. The Light

Black Thought of the legendary Philadelphia Hip-Hop band The Roots (yes, band) is another rapper that I would place in a top 5. Like Common, he is very poetic with his verses but can also spazz out on a track and hit you with some of the most clever wordplay and rhyme scheme you will ever hear. His voice sounds so urgent that you have to listen to what he has to say. From their classic album Things Fall Apart, The Roots released one of the most heartfelt Hip-Hop songs; You Got Me. On this song, Black Thought raps about this beautiful and smart woman he met during a show and how they eventually crossed paths later in life and fell in love. Eve drops a verse in response from the perspective of the woman talking about her love for him and how she fully trusts him regardless of the temptation of being out on international shows. The production is beautifully put together, with an acoustic vibe and Erkah Badu's hook (written by Jill Scott) is smooth and beautifully sung. This song got The Roots a Grammy award and has been acclaimed by Hip-Hop listeners everywhere so be sure to check it out! You Got Me

Cannibal Ox is a legendary Harlem based Hip-Hop duo consisting of Vast Aire and Vordul Mega. Haven't heard of them? Check out their classic debut The Cold Vein and see what you've been missing out on. Solely produced by El-P (one of my favorites producers AND rappers), The Cold Vein paints a grim picture of New York and displays hard-core and grimy lyricism. Where's the love in that you ask? On one of their songs entitled The F-Word, this duo released in my opinion one of the best and most emotional love songs in Hip-Hop. The beat on this track is so grand and futuristic, and the bass and the synths are so well layered that it's hard to believe a beat like this was produced 14 years ago! Vast Aire handles the verse on this track and Vordul does the hook. Vast Aire's verses are absolutely amazing. He raps about the entire friend-zone concept and how he feels like his love interest is shafting him for another man. However when things don't work out, he'e the guy she goes back to because he's a great friend, hence the title The F-Word. The subject matter may seem immature, but Vast Aire's verses are written and delivered very poetically. Lines like "Cupid had me runnin' circles blindfolded/In the daytime with a flashlight looking for her", "Yo, you burnin' the candle at both ends/I'm supposed to be the friend, I'm gettin' fried in the end" and "Penny's for her thoughts/She's my very own American Beauty, red petals when we talk" are incredible. There are other great lines but I don't wanna give all of them away. So in conclusion, this track is easily one of my favorite tracks of all time (regardless of genre). It truly is a song that can appeal to just about anyone because it describes something we all go through. It may not be a love-dovy love song, but its a powerful one nevertheless. The F-Word

Immortal Technique is known for his political and socially conscious tracks that talk about hypocrisy, conspiracy theories, criticizing the government and the social laws that we must abide by. He has solidified himself as a legend in the underground Hip-Hop scene and he isn't a rapper you want to challenge lyrically. However, back in 2003, Immortal Technique did something rare and dropped an emotionally heartbreaking song entitled You Never Know. He already showcased his storytelling abilities with Dance With the Devil but with this track he went on a whole other level. In the song, he talks about how he fell in love with a woman who is perfect on almost every level; well educated, morally conscious and beautiful. He wasn't into her for the sex but for the connection they have, and he raps about how she helped change him by getting him off the streets and stop hanging with the wrong people. After confessing his love, she reacts a certain way and the story goes on but I refuse to spoil it because it's not something you want spoiled. It's hard to describe the track without spoiling the story because of its tone and theme so check it out! The beat is awesome and Jean Grae's hook was well done. Be sure to check this 7 minute epic of a track for stellar storytelling and raw emotion. You Never Know

Let's fast-forward 8 years to 2011, the Hip-Hop renaissance, an absolutely stellar year for Rap music with the introduction of many great MCs. In that year, a Detroit rapper by the name of Elzhi did something that is taboo in Hip-Hop and attempted to remake a Hip-Hop classic, Nas' Illmatic - the Rap Bible. Initially hesitant among the Hip-Hop community, the release of Elzhi took everyone by surprise and released an absolute masterpiece with incredible live instrumentation and stellar lyricism. I believe his album was on-par with the experience one could get from Illmatic but I don't believe it surpassed it. However, one interesting re-vamp absolutely impressed me to the point were I like it more than the original and that's Elzhi's version of One Love. Elzhi raps about meeting a woman whom he was solely impressed by looks at first but soon fell in love with her as he got to know her. Through her stories, he learned about her troubled past and her painful childhood and how she got to where she is now. They became an item and started learning from each other to the point were they became inseparable. Elzhi's flow and lyrics are stellar, but its Will Sessions live instrumentation that gives this song soul. The piano and drum solos are absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful and made this song perfect. I highly recommend you check this track out! One Love 

Love has always been a topic that rappers have talked about in their songs. It brings a different side to the culture were rappers are more sensitive and human rather than over-the-top and grimy. These songs are some of my favorites in this aspect of Hip-Hop but of coarse there are plenty more, I just wanted to go in detail about these for now. I hope you like these songs and I hope you are introduced to some of the great music some of these artists make. Have a great Valentines Day everyone!

Other Great Love Songs:
- Bonita Applebum - A Tribe Called Quest
- I Need Love - LL Cool J
- Sunshine - Lupe Fiasco
- Song Cry - Jay-Z
- White Dress - Kanye West
- You're All I Need To Get By - Method Man and Mary J. Blige
- Me & My Bitch - The Notorious B.I.G.
- Mahogany - Eric B. & Rakim
- Receipt - Lil Wayne (Yes, he used to make good music)

No comments:

Post a Comment