Hip-Hop Valentines: The 14 most romantic rap songs
Valentines Day is here and you need some help to win over the heart of that sexy B-girl or B-boy?
We know hip-hop doesn't have the best history romancing the opposite sex, "bitches better having my money" and "skeeting on walls" doesn't really set the mood. But a bunch of the fellas in the booth had a more thoughtful outlook on their female counterparts. Among them are LL Cool J, Andre 3000, and even Slick Rick.
So don't worry, we have you covered. So grab your girl's or guy's hand, hit the park bench with the boom box, and let's discover some good ol' boom bap romance.
14. "Hey Lover" - LL Cool J
This is what happens when you mix LL Cool J with the romantic styling of Boyz II Men, you get this gem. Just like his first ode to females "I Need Love" that started the love movement in Hip-Hop, this song made the trendy rapper and R&B collaboration a sure thing for years to come.
Lines like "...besides he drinks too much and smokes too many blunts/ and I'll be working out everyday thinking about you" calls to the common problem of the beautiful woman dating the drunk douche bag. While LL lifts weights, licks his lips, and fantasizes about tropical vacations the douche bag wins in the end as James Todd Smith drives off alone with his multi-million dollar FUBU endorsement.
13. "What's on Your Mind?" - Eric B & Rakim
A common problem with women traveling mass transit is that they always got to encounter the guy trying to holler. It's no different in New York City; this tale is about Rakim trying to pick up a girl on the subway.
First she plays him off with the cold shoulder, but a few stops later she warms up. Before long, the romantic warrior in Rakim wins her over with a long courtship but after watching Bill Cosby at the Apollo they finally knock boot.
Who knew Pudding Pops were the key (taking notes). It also helps that the slick sample of "Curious" by Midnight Star was in the background massaging the mind.
12. "You Got Me" feat Jill Scott and Eve - The Roots
First off, Jill Scott sang on the original but got dumped for the better-looking Erykah Badu for the video remix. That alone dropped this down the list. Love knows all shapes and sizes, plus how you going to do Jill like that?
Black Thought spits away about his love for his woman and his love for the road, a then unknown Eve spits the woman's side of the story in a gone 'til November type tale. To every hip-hop indie hipster this is pretty much the nail in the coffin for that neo soul girl you just met at the coffee shop; just don't bore her with your own poetry.
11. "21 Questions" feat Nate Dogg - 50 Cent
Who can blame Curtis? When you have as much money as he does, you have to ask a lot of questions. How about 21 of them? I love this song as much as a fat kid loves cake.
So you got to annoy her with questions about being poor, driving crappy cars and working at Burger King. Then again, if she looked like Megan Good, I might just give her a pass. But funny thing, the next single was about how Curtis improved his financial gain and profits by employing women to service other men. Were these 21 questions just an interview for a job? How romantic.
10. "Teenage Love" - Slick Rick
Who can forget our first love or our high school sweetheart? It starts out all warm and wonderful -- holding hands and so proud of your significant other -- but by the time prom rolls around, you're sick to death of each other and looking around. Lying, stalking and cheating come into play. Damn, now you got no date to the prom. But don't worry, Slick Rick raps you a life lesson on "Teenage Love" to protect your heart. Ricky even serenades you at the end of the song. Aw Rick.
9. "Beautiful Skin" - Goodie Mob
Before the days of Cee-Lo dressing up like a Megatron version of Elton John and insulting City Pages editors, he was writing and singing hymns to the black woman. Expressing how he was attracted more to her class than ass and of course her beautiful skin. His sincere approach wins her over and blossoms into late-night phone conversations.
The other members of Goodie come off less romantic, but the song survives on with the rhythmic hook. It was one of the last few diamonds left before Goodie Mob broke up and Cee-Lo went to get his freak on.
8. "Can U Get Away" - Tupac
This was the time when Tupac was in top form -- after Poetic Justice but before the Death Row meltdown. Rumored to be about Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Tupac tries to convince his forbidden love to leave her unhappy, stressful relationship with her abusive man and get away with him.
Even though she rejects his advances and help, Pac still tries to help her escape -- even if it means he has to be lonely the rest of his life by doing so. When this album dropped in 1995, this was easily one of those lay back and chill joints that both sexes could appreciate and maybe even had in common. Even though it was never released as a single, this is a true favorite among Tupac fans to this day.
7. "Got Me Waiting (Remix)" - Heavy D & the Boyz
This song was so romantic that this remix single was a staple on many late night quiet storm shows, unusual at the time for any rap record. With a slowed down flow of the Top 20 pop dance hit, Heavy takes it more easy getting his point across with the help of R&B wonder group Silk singing the hook.
The overweight lover tries to make his move on a shy girl who seems too nervous to step to the new jack swinger. The remix starts out with the sound of raindrops, and ends with Silk crooning the night away. Maybe it was songs like this that landed Hev a couple dates with Halle Berry? Coming in at almost seven minutes long, this song is the best bet to get things going...
6. "Lady (Remix)" feat AZ - D'Angelo
I know, I know. D'angelo is not a rapper. But wait a second, the beat was produced by the hip-hop imperialist DJ Premier. Throw in AZ for a couple lines and hey, this is making the list. Besides D'angelo needed to be on this list somewhere. The perfect mix is the simple stripped-down Premier beat and D'angelo singing about how he wants to put a ring on it as he picks up his lady from work, and you got magic. Back off fellas -- this is his woman! Fun side note, he wrote this song when he was just 16 years old.
5. "Renee" - Lost Boyz
No video made more hardcore heads spill a tear or two than this song (okay, maybe Aaron Hill's "I Miss You"), but this was a close second. Mr. Cheeks tells us about Renee, who he met on a walk to a subway. (I see this is a pattern in New York.)
This honey was beautiful, smart (shawty studies law) and she got Gs. They hang out, and Cheeks teaches her the way of the blunt while they chill and listen to Jodeci as he plays with her breasts. He found a winner. After weeks of hanging with his friends and being in love, Renee gets shot and dies. Seriously sad. Weeks before, they were playing in the snow and smoking blunts and now she is gone and Mr. Cheeks reminisces about his ghetto princess every day.
4. "Prototype" - Andre 3000
I could have pretty much picked any song off The Love Below record to represent Andre 3000 and his extraterrestrial love affair, but this one seemed to fit best. How romantic to be called something so beautiful that it doesn't even exist? And, yes, you are the prototype of this new brand of woman.
I'm sure the ultra eccentric and sexy Erykah Badu was great inspiration at the time; she is known to put a spell on rappers. But just as spellbinding is the haunting guitar track over Andre's enjoyment of being in love again. This is the ultimate cool-out song. Pop a pill and enjoy.
3. "Bonita Applebaum" - A Tribe Called Quest
This is the song that made ladies fall in love with the sound of Q-Tip's voice and lyrics. This timeless classic still gets girls going on. The amazing samples melded together with the chief of affection's own brand of 21 questions and begging is a must play on dates. It's a top priority.
He preaches women's dimensions, kissing below the border and using crazy prophylactics. Hey it's like a hip-hop song, ya know? This song is so great it has spawned numerous remixes, I recommend the Hootie Mix, and has been a constant inspiration to write that romantic boom bap ballad.
2. "I'll Be There for You/ You're All I Need" - Method Man feat Mary J Blige
"Nuttin' make a man feel better than a woman." Probably one of the truest lines ever written in a hip-hop song, Method Man hooks up with Mary J for this remix ode to his queen with a crown.
Method rewards his girl for sticking with him when times were tough, and explores the highlights of being in a committed relationship. "No need to shop around/ you got the good stuff at home." The track is mixed with the sooth soul of Tammi Terrell and the sample of Notorious B.I.G. expressing his dying love to his woman.
This possibly could be the perfect love song with the hard knocking beat, Mary singing her heart out and Meth in top form if it wasn't for...
"When I'm alone in my room/ sometimes I stare at the wall/ and in the back of my mind/ I hear my conscience call." The song that started it all. People thought he was crazy to pen a love rap song, but LL was laughing and loving all the way to the bank.
Ladies Love Cool James invented the market for hip-hop lullabies to women. It has even saved his career a few times. "I Need Love" shows a sensitive side to the Queens native. He is tired of playing games and touring and now he wants a woman as sweet as a dove. He is so desperate that he his willing to throw his coat over a puddle.
But his search is coming up short. What do you expect when you are looking under rugs? Come on Todd, we know you got more game then that. The sweet, simple track glides over his mission for the ultimate cuddle bunny, and proves that when it comes to love and hip-hop, look no further than the real King James.
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