15 Rap Songs About Love That Are Amazing
Throughout the history of music, virtually all genres have touched upon the subject of love. Love is a universal facet of our time on this planet, and this universality extends to the genre of hip-hop, as well. Rap songs about love come from many styles and perspectives—here are fifteen of my favorites.
The Best Rap Songs About Love
1. “Love” by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar has proven himself one of the hottest and most influential rappers on the hip-hop stage in a relatively short amount of time. His laid back and hypnotic jam about love from the 2017 Damn album is a great example of one of Kendrick’s biggest strengths—he isn’t afraid to show his vulnerability. There’s something sweet about this song, and that can be rare in hip-hop.
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2. “Powers” by Blackalicious
Blackalicious were an underrated hip-hop duo who put out a string of great albums in the early to mid-2000’s and unfortunately fell off the map for a while. “Powers” is a standout track from 2005’s The Craft.
In contrast to the sensuality and introspection of the previous entry on the list, “Powers” is an upbeat and joyful rap song with a ton of funk and soul influence. Unfortunately, Blackalicious came to an end in 2021, but they have a great catalogue worth digging into.
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3. “Eye Know” by De La Soul
De La Soul were pioneers of a kind of hip-hop that was often socially conscious and experimental, espousing a message of friendship and positivity in contrast to many of their peers.
“Eye Know” is one of the group’s most well-known tracks, an uplifting ode to love that skillfully blends several samples, from Otis Redding to Steely Dan, into a cohesive and memorable groove. Their entire 1989 debut album 3 Feet High and Rising displays a similar level of quality lyricism throughout.
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4. “How It’s Going Down” by DMX
DMX’s 1998 debut It’s Dark and Hell is Hot is infamous for its raw aggression and power, a milestone in hip-hop history. “How It’s Going Down” is where the late rapper displays his versatility. While still rapped from the perspective of a gangster, on this track DMX tells a tale of having an affair with a woman who is taken and slowly falling for her. It’s a great song.
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5. “Put It on Me” by Ja Rule
While Ja Rule has become something of a punch line in the hip-hop community over the years, I’ve always had a soft spot for this track. Probably because I was a kid when it was dominating the airwaves in the early 2000’s.
This is an R&B-infused hip-hop track that reeks of the year 2000, right down to its lyrics where Ja professes his devotion to his woman in a manner so sappy and cheesy, I can’t help but smile when I hear it.
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6. “Mahogany” by Eric B and Rakim
Eric B and Rakim are a legendary old school duo who influenced countless artists in the rap game. This early 90’s hit was a change of pace for the group, as rapper Rakim stated he wanted to write a love-themed rap song “for the ladies” about something that “personified black women.” The result is a classic early 90’s rap song with an uplifting message about love and black women taking pride in their beauty.
7. “Receipt” by Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne often gets mischaracterized as solely a gangster rapper, but “Receipt” from 2005’s Tha Carter II shows a softer side to the then up and coming rap star. This song is about loyalty and devotion—Lil Wayne raps about endless encounters with women who are throwing advances in his direction, yet he proudly abstains from entertaining any of them.
He’s got one woman in his heart and stays loyal even while touring the world and living the hip-hop lifestyle. This is definitely worth checking out if you’re not familiar with this side of Lil Wayne.
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8. “Me & My B*tch” by The Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie, whatever you want to call him—the man was and continues to be an immortal and enduring legend of hip-hop. This classic track from the landmark 1994 Ready to Die album displays Biggie’s knack for clever wordplay and juxtaposition.
While the title of the song seems misogynistic on the surface, listening to what Biggie raps here shows the listener that the title is a term of endearment. He describes a woman he would die for and who he hopes dies with him. Biggie’s sentimentality here is convincing and moving, and not at all corny or clichéd.
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9. “I Need Love” by LL Cool J
The young rapper LL Cool J changed hip-hop when he dropped this classic in 1987. “I Need Love” is widely credited as the first proper hip-hop ballad. Listening to it today, it’s still a banger but it definitely shows its age a bit.
Still, this display of sensitivity in a genre that was then largely filled with bravado and masculinity was a bold and experimental move in hip-hop, and this track is still worth checking out today.
10. “Bonita Applebum” by A Tribe Called Quest
Like others I’ve mentioned so far on the list, like De La Soul and Kendrick, A Tribe Called Quest are well-known for their socially conscious and often introspective lyrics.
People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm was a landmark debut when it hit the rap scene in 1990, and songs like “Bonita Applebum” show why—its direct and honest approach to genuinely falling in love was unique for the genre. The song has a chilled-out sound that has this warmth to it that keeps me coming back.
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11. “See You Again” by Tyler the Creator
“See You Again” is an overlooked track from Tyler’s 2017 album Flower Boy. This is an experimental track in typical Tyler fashion, and it masterfully creates a sense of unease when one examines the lyrics.
Tyler’s talking about an intense recurring fantasy about a lover who only exists in his own mind. The song comes off as a meditation on loneliness in the modern era, and how we fantasize about what we want instead of trying to get it. Look this one up if you’re looking for an interesting take on love in hip-hop.
12. “Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde
The Pharcyde are often overlooked in discussions of the greats, but that’s a shame because they produced some of the most influential and forward-thinking hip-hop of the 90’s.
This group often combined serious elements with a sense of humor and self-deprecation, and “Passin’ Me By” does this in spades, as the group raps about unrequited love for women who are too pretty to notice them.
13. “Sexual Eruption” by Snoop Dogg
While many of you might be more familiar with the popular radio edit titled “Sensual Seduction,” which was a huge hit in my middle school, I urge any Snoop fans to check out the original uncut version from 2008’s Ego Trippin’ album. While the album isn’t very strong as a whole, “Sexual Eruption” captures some of the groove and swagger of Snoop’s early 90’s heyday.
Snoop describes a detailed session of lovemaking with his one and only, and he shows his sensitive side by explaining exactly what he’s going to do to her in borderline comedic detail. It’s a slower jam worth checking out.
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14. “California Love” by 2Pac
This upbeat jam from the late, great Tupac Shakur features collaboration with Dr. Dre, showing just how much the young Pac was rising up the ladder before his career was cruelly cut short in 1996.
In contrast to other songs on this list that deal more with love towards a significant other or partner, “California Love” shows Pac preaching the act of self-love and love of life and the world around us. It’s one of 2Pac’s most uplifting and danceable tracks, featuring raps that celebrate freedom and love.
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15. “Dang!” by Mac Miller
Mac Miller was taken from us far too soon, and he had so much potential for more great tunes as his career had been on a steady upward trajectory until his untimely death. This is an experimental hip-hop cut filled with funk and some jazzy influences as well.
Miller was known for his increasingly introspective and vulnerable lyrics with each succeeding album, and “Dang!” shows that same sort of self-deprecation and honesty. He’s begging a woman not to leave him, while reminding her of all the good times they’ve had.
At the same time, Miller admits he’s screwed up plenty of times, which adds to the complexity of the emotions here. This is a modern rap song about love you’ll want to hear.
I hope you enjoyed my list of rap songs about love. Some of these are likely familiar classics you know and love, and hopefully you’re turned on to some overlooked gems while reading this. Love is a complex and multifaceted issue that can be tackled from a variety of different angles, and the genre of hip-hop has explored the concept of love with some of the greatest songs of all time.
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This article was written by Avery and edited by Michael.