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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Finding The Love In Hip-Hop
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

OK, so it’s been a long while since LL Cool J said he needed love, and when it comes to the ladies most rappers seem to be much more interested in sexual conquests than anything to do with that four letter L word, but, believe it or not, there are still artists out there who are creating songs that you can listen to with your significant other in a date-like atmosphere. Yes, I’m talking about that rarity of rarities, the Hip-Hop love song. Sure, there are plenty of songs about the love of Hip-Hop, and even a decent number of songs about the love of one’s mother, or one’s child, but in recent years the number of songs that describe being in love with a woman is minuscule (lyrics like “Superman that hoe” do not count as love). One of the reasons for this, perhaps, is the corniness factor. It’s really difficult to write a Hip-Hop love song without coming off sounding like you’re writing a love poem to an eighth grade girlfriend. Also, in a world dominated by machismo, admitting to an emotion you can’t control isn’t necessarily considered cool. Thankfully, while perusing my collection of albums I found a number of songs that get it right and can truly be considered well crafted, beautiful, un-corny, Hip-Hop love songs. Here are three of them.

Louis Logic – The Great Divide

The first time I heard this song I was totally hooked. It’s the story of a man falling for a woman but there being one major issue between them, a set of subway tracks. The man is going to Queens, the woman is heading to Brooklyn. Most everyone who is from NYC has experienced something like this before, that moment when you glance across the tracks and see someone you’re attracted to, but there’s no way to reach them. It’s a pang most of us don’t do anything about, but Louis racks his brain to figure out a way to get to his lady in waiting.

I'm so confused about which road to choose
Take the stairway over to your side, I shout an ode to you
From afar, I probably sound like any dude in a bar
And if I transferred I'd create a chance for you to depart
Is it usually hard to do what your heart’s tellin you?
I would've moved from the start if I knew what the smart fellas do
This ain't the brand of love Hallmark cards sell to you;
Seldom true, whimsy for the not-so-well-to-do

Lee – All U Need

“All U Need” totally flips the player / baller ideal most rappers try to exude and instead voices a totally honest approach. Lee takes the time to explain that he isn’t what most rappers claim to be, but there are still plenty of reasons he’s worth giving the time of day to. It’s the love song every everyman wants the woman of his dreams of hear and understand. Of course, there are still plenty of women out there who insist on the baller types, but if you can find a girl who digs “All U Need” you’ve found a winner.

I got a part time job on artist’s income
In debt up to my neck, and oh yeah and then some
Raman noodles in the cupboards, basic TV
Ballin ass rapper I just can't be
I do my pimpin on a budget
And I know you're gonna love it
If you give it a try
Things money can't buy

Vinnie Scullo – Toy Boat

Vinnie Scullo is a man who spits some truly venomous lyrics about materialism and the supposed Hollywood lifestyle, but he also has the ability to switch things up to create a song like “Toy Boat,” where he playfully describes all of the quirky qualities that he feels make a relationship work. This isn’t your typical love song, as there are mentions of everything from coffee stained teeth to cat puke, but it works as Vinnie pulls it all together to create a song that I think is a terrific representation of the emotion.

I got jeans on when I go to sleep
She thinks it's weird and that no one else does that
And you all probably think the same
But if someone comes to rob me they won't get my jeans
I found her dead pet lizard
In the bureau when I moved in with her
And we both drink coffee all the time
And our teeth are both yellow and we look like pirates

Of course, these are just three examples that I have pulled from my collection. Please feel free to add on and tell me some of your personal favorites in this oft forgotten category of Hip-Hop.

Related Links

Louis Logic
Vinnie Scullo


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:47 AM  
  • At 3:57 AM, Blogger Simple Mind said…

    "You are all I need to get by":Method Man and Mary J Blige

  • At 11:35 AM, Blogger Seeker said…

    Bonita Applebum-Tribe Called Quest

    All I think about is you-Jungle Brothers

  • At 5:42 PM, Blogger Sketch Tha Cataclysm said…

    can't wait for you to hear more of my shit dude. . . by next year at this time you'll be saying "I wish Sketch would get off of that emo shit!" lol

  • At 3:41 PM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    All fantastic songs. Let's get a few more so we can put together a full playlist!

    And Sketch, I'm all good with you going emo for an album... just don't start cutting yourself!

  • At 10:02 PM, Blogger Phil N. said…

    What's up Adam,

    What about Common's I used to Love H.E.R.?
    Okay that might be cheating, in that case I'll nominate The Light.

  • At 8:03 AM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    "I Used to Love H.E.R." is a beautiful song, but since it's a love song about Hip-Hop rather than a woman it has to be disqualified.

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger Phil N. said…

    Yeah I know, I thought I could sneak that one by.
    Here's some possible playlist considerations:

    "Renee" The Lost Boyz

    "Hot Thang" Talib Kweli

    "Ms. Fatbooty" Mos Def

    "Song Cry" Jay-Z

    "Electric Relaxation" and "Find A Way" ATCQ

    "Honeydips In Gotham" The Boogie Monsters

    Again just putting some suggestions out there, let me know what you think.

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