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Romantic rappers: 4 of the best love songs in hip-hop

Amanda Parris
Listen to Marvin's Room, Jan 12th 2018

Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio


Rap music is generally not known for its sentimentality, but over the genre's four-decade existence rappers have frequently taken a chance and attempted to explore their vulnerable sides. And those songs often incorporate elements of R&B — either featuring a singer on the hook or sampling a classic soul ballad.

Below, four of the best love songs by rappers.

'I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By,' Method Man and Mary J. Blige

This duet is considered one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time, and the penultimate standard in the subgenre of thug love. Inspired by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "You're All I Need to Get By," it's become a wedding go-to for a hip-hop generation that grew up head-nodding with Mary and Meth.

'The Light,' Common

With production by the late, great producer J Dilla, a sample from Bobby Caldwell's "Open Your Eyes" and romantic inspiration from Erykah Badu, Common's song is one of the most beautiful confessions of love in the hip-hop canon.

'You Got Me,' the Roots feat. Erykah Badu and Eve

Long before the Roots became the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and before Black Thought reminded the world why he is one of the best living MCs, the legendary Roots crew has consistently staked its claim as one of the most innovative musical acts in hip-hop culture. The song "You Got Me" is a beautiful love story in their catalogue.

'Prototype,' OutKast

In the treatment for this music video, Andre 3000 wrote, "If M. Night Shyamalan had a wife who wrote romance novels, this would be it." It's a futuristic love song that sounds like a tribute to Prince and alien life forms all at once. The Tame Impala cover is also worth a listen.

Marvin's Room Playlist for Jan. 12, 2018

  1. The Jacksons, "Shake Your Body Down to the Ground"
  2. Mariah Carey feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard, "Fantasy (Bad Boy Remix)"
  3. Tory Lanez feat. Sean Paul, "LUV (Remix)"
  4. Jahkoy feat. Schoolboy Q, "California Heaven"
  5. Drake, "Fake Love"
  6. Charles Bradley, "Ain’t it a Sin"
  7. Nuela Charles, "Crumbling Down"
  8. Desiire, "Natural Feels"
  9. Teddy Pendergrass, "Love TKO"
  10. Tika Simone feat. Clairmont the Second, "Oh my God"
  11. OutKast, "Prototype"