the best hip-hop love song ever

so, while driving back to pittsburgh after last week’s matchmaker event, my (the wire-loving) friend and i listened to different satellite radio rap stations the entire way, and were both utterly flabbergasted at how bad today’s mainstream hip-hop is. seriously, i’m usually not a “everything was better back in the day” type of guy, but after a couple verses from something called “waka flocka flame” almost gave me epilepsy, there’s really nothing else i can say.

as we neared pittsburgh, drake’s “best i ever had” came on, and the following conversation ensued:

friend: “who is this guy?” (the only “new” rapper my man knows about is kanye. seriously, talking hip-hop with him makes me feel like i’m back in 1997. all i’d need is a pair of fatigues and a red jansport and i’d be right back in homeroom)

champ: “new cat named drake. why?”

friend: “i can actually understand what he’s saying. if i was a 13 year old girl, i’d love this song”

champ: “that’s easily the gayest thing you’ve said all day. you need to quit playing them away games”

friend: “the game’s out there, manye. you either play or get played”

anyway, remembering this conversation and the subject matter of “best i’ve ever had” got me thinking: what’s the best hip-hop love song ever made? to be honest with you, i’m not exactly sure…but, i do have nine nominees.

***note: on my list, “love” doesn’t just encapsulate romantic love. the songs i’ve listed run the gamut from romantic and platonic to even inanimate object. also, just in case another batch of people completely unable to not take themselves seriously happen to “discover” vsb today, i want to remind everyone to remove the sphincter poles and realize that these nominees are just reflections of my own personal whims and remembrances***

“sweet love” (method man, featuring street love and cappadonna)

one of the reasons why i’ve love the wu so much is that they’re completely and utterly unafraid to take artistic chances. from ghost spitting that his “rhymes are like ziti” to the rza’s perpetual (and occasionally annoying) experimentation, you literally have no idea what the hell you’ll hear when listening to a wu album. this fact is evident the first verse of “sweet love“, when street life rhymes about having sex with his girlfriend while he’s driving his car. not head. sex. while. driving.

later in the song, cappadonna spits his infamous “love is love, love. love is love, love” line (which i later immortalized with a left arm tat) and method man delivers a verse than i actually cut and pasted and sent as a poem to a woman i was involved with, lying that i wrote it myself because i knew she’d never listen to the song.

***btw, by “was involved with” i mean “totally had an unrequited crush for“. the “poem” didn’t help. a couple weeks later, i got even more desperate and cut and pasted an inspectah deck verse. this worked. and by “this worked” i mean, “i finally got some from her four years later“***

“you got me” (the roots, featuring erykah badu and eve)

from the storyline and the chorus to eve’s verse and the fatalistic feel of the end of the song, everything about this track is perfect. btw, speaking of perfect, if i had to rank “impressive and envy-worthy beards”, black thought’s would definitely be 1st, jerome bettis’, would be 2nd and paul pierce’s would be 295th.

“passin’ me by” (the pharcyde)

along with radiohead’s “creep” and “friends zone” by 88 keys and shitake monkey, this song perfectly represents the gamut of emotions men go through when faced with unrequited love. plus, it’s one of the 10 or so songs that any self-respecting hip-hop head knows all of the words to. and, if you need a surefire way to make hipster chicks swoon, tweet a line from fatlips verse at least once a day.

“me and my girlfriend” (tupac)

i’m including it because, well, i don’t know if i ever loved anything as much as tupac claimed to love his gun. well, maybe cookies and cream milkshakes, but that’s about it

“full moon” (killarmy)

probably the first real surprise entry on the list, i nominated “full moon” because of the depth of the brotherly bond for a murdered friend that killa sin expresses in the song’s second verse. i still get chills today when i hear him say “we went back far, like acorn fights around the swings”.

“undying love” (nas)

arguably the best story from hip-hop’s best storyteller, “undying love” deals with a rather, ummm, extreme reaction to finding out that your loved one was unfaithful. is also one of the only “story” songs where each of the characters involved is dead by the end. basically, it’s a great song to have on your boning mixtape.

“how’s it going down” (dmx)

for no other reason than the fact that i say “since you gave me the p*ssy, your ass has gotten fatter” in dmx’s voice (in my head) to my girlfriend at least once a week.

“love is blind” (eve featuring faith evans)

i had a “why it made the cut” summary written out, but i deleted it when i realized that it was completely panderific. the only reason this song is here is because i realized i hadn’t named any female rappers and wanted to be subversive by not going with  salt and pepa’s perfunctory “gotta man”.

“renee” (the lost boyz)

i won’t say that the video still brings tears to my eyes when renee gets shot, but i will say that i haven’t watched it in over 10 years just because of that possibility. maybe this makes me a punk, but seriously, renee didn’t have to die. why the hell did renee have to die????

anyway people of vsb, i’m sure i’m missing a few (hundred). what else would you nominate for the best hip-hop love song ever?

—the champ