With so many stigmas attached to it, Hip Hop is a genre not always associated with the idea of love. But more often than it’s been given credit for, Hip Hop’s loving spirit comes shining through in song. There’s years worth of classic Hip Hop love songs (“I Need Love” by L.L. Cool J, “All I Need” by Method Man and Mary J. Blige), but the new millennium has already given us many Hip Hop love tunes for new generations. Here are some of the most notable Hip Hop love tracks for the 21st century.
NICKI MINAJ – “YOUR LOVE” (2010): Over a silky smooth bass line, Nicki professes her love to her crush by rapping and singing her with an almost teenaged exuberance.
DRAKE – “BEST I EVER HAD” (2009): In his signature Rap & B crooner fashion, Drizzy wears his heart on his sleeve for the object of his lusty affection. Arguably the song that made him a star and the So Far Gone EP such a hot commodity in ’09.
COMMON feat. MARY J. BLIGE – “COME CLOSE” (2003): Aided by Mary J. Blige and The Neptunes during his bohemian phase, Lonnie Lynn gets down on his metaphorical knee by letting his love interest know, “the pimp in me may have to die with you.”
KANYE WEST – “BOUND 2” (2013): Kimye’s entire relationship is the tabloid fodder at this point, and the video is even more ridiculous, but “Bound 2” is quite possibly the best moment from Yeezus: soulful, arrogant, and topped off by the old school coos of Charlie Wilson, it’s one of the most sought after love moments of 2013.
FUTURE – “TURN ON THE LIGHTS” (2012): Spacey and atmospheric, Future blurred the lines even further between ratchet Hip Hop, new millennium R&B and pop music as he Auto-tunes his way into his honey’s heart.
KENDRICK LAMAR feat. DRAKE – “POETIC JUSTICE” (2012): Two leaders of the new school of emcees come together in this ode to the Hip Hop Cali classic starring Janet Jackson and 2Pac. Rumor has it K. Dot actually wanted Ms. Jackson herself in the video. Alas.
LUPE FIASCO – “PARIS TOKYO” (2007): This jazzy, A Tribe Called Quest-influenced tune from Lupe’s sophomore album is perfect for that world-weary traveler looking to get back in their significant others loving arms after a long stretch out on the road.
WALE feat. MIGUEL – “LOTUS FLOWER BOMB” (2011): Overflowing with a brash sense of decadence, Wale still manages to pull off a brazen yet poetic, love-meets-lust, “lemme holla at you real quick” moment from the Ambition album.
J. DILLA feat. PHAROAHE MONCH – “WE MUST BE IN LOVE” (2006): With an old school sample from The Impressions, J. Dilla’s posthumous genius is on full display with this gritty, inspiring underground love joint. Pharoahe’s lyrics and the duet at the end are the icing on the cake.
JEAN GRAE – “LOVE THIRST” (2008): Jean Greasy unexpectedly transforms herself into the ultimate seductress on this joint, filled with mounds of sensuality in the lyrics. And the moaning and groaning towards the end is enough to get anyone riled up.