Back in the day, rappers were already coming up with rap ballads; and they were influencing R and B music too; romantic R and B songs started taking on Hip Hop flavor, with hard beats and funky bass-lines.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane, with some of Hip Hop’s best love songs.
Cool J – I Need Love
Sure it was the thinking of a teenager, immature; but it was probably the first Hip Hop love song. Cool J was an innovator in this regard.
Slick Rick – Teenage Love
Speaking of teenage love, why not a song actually called Teenage Love. Slick Rick didn’t beat around the bush, he called it like he saw it. Great old school love jam.
Whodini – One Love
Whodini had a knack for talking about the personal and the emotional. It’s no surprise they had their fair share of Hip Hop ballads.
MC Shan – Left Me Lonely
Something about those guys in Kangol hats, they liked making love songs.
LeVert – Casanova
Like I said Hip Hop already began influencing R and B back in the 80s. LeVert was one of the groups early on that had a bit of a Hip Hop sound: Hard beat, smooth bass-line and romantic lyrics. Casanova was a big hit in the clubs.
Heavy D – Now That We Found Love
The Overweight Lover’s in the house. Hev D was known for his romantic songs from the beginning, with that New Jack Swing.
UTFO – Cold Wanna Be with Me
After their back and forth with Roxanne, UTFO tried their hand at semi-romantic Hip Hop songs.
Tupac – Keep Ya Head Up
Of course, with Tupac there always had to be a political and social commentary element, even to his love songs.
Keith Sweat – Twisted
Part street, part insanity, the Keith Sweat love song is definitely Hip Hop, as Hip Hop came into it’s own in terms of singers in the 90s.
R Kelly – Down Low
Like Sweat, Kelly was street, obsession, insanity, reality. He kept it on the down low.
Diana King – Shy Guy
This one’s for the guys. The shy guys. It’s good to know that a gorgeous woman like Diana King is into us.
Hip Hop has gone through phases, has diversified, has had various elements over time. It’s ventured into singing, into love songs just as much as it’s taken on gangsterism and politics. And sometimes it mixes it all together.
Featured image: By The Vibe Refinery Interactive (Flickr: Kirk and Tammy Franklin) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve been listening to Hip Hop music and exploring other aspects of the culture since the early 1980s, my teen years. I’ve seen it go through major changes. But there’s a common spirit underlying this Movement. Hip Hop Ya Don’t Stop!