12 BEST HIP HOP LOVE SONGS
Even though Valentine’s day has passed, it’s always the right time to get your romantic playlists together, and these hip hop love songs should definitely be on there. From classics like 2Pac and LL Cool J, to new favorites by Noname and Aminé, these are some of the best rap love songs, guaranteed to make your feelings pretty clear.
1. BEAUTIFUL BY SNOOP DOGG AND PHARELL
With an opening line like “Beautiful, I just want you to know / You're my favorite girl,” Snoop and Pharell don’t waste any time letting this girl know how they feel. This song shows us a softer side of Snoop. Released in 2003, this sleeper hit was Grammy nominated for Best Rap Song in 2004. With a catchy hook and iconic bassline, there’s no question why “Beautiful” is one of the best hip hop love songs.
2. BOUND 2 BY KANYE WEST
On "Bound 2," Kanye talks about being “bound to fall in love” with Kim Kardashian. With a soul influenced and warm tone, this song reminds listeners of his earlier work. While the song has a bit of a mixed reputation due to its video, it’s full of sweet moments documenting the milestones of a new relationship, like making it to Thanksgiving together.
3. THE LIGHT BY COMMON
"The Light" = the blueprint to a Grammy Nominated rap love song. From its vulnerable lyrics, to its production, "The Light" by Common, produced by J Dilla, hits hard. Written as a love letter to his at the time girlfriend, Erykah Badu, Common describes his utmost respect for her, stating, “I’d never call you my bitch or even my boo / There’s so much in a name and so much more in you.”
4. MONTEGO BAE BY NONAME
Noname, described by the New York Times as a “full-fledged maverick,” can tackle the heaviest and lightest of topics and write a great song. With a bossa nova sound, Ravyn Lenae’s vocals, and sunshiney lyrics, “Montego Bae” stands out on Noname’s Room 25 album. “Montego Bae” is a light track on a more complex, but very important, album. If you’re searching for lighthearted, romantic, rap love songs for him, definitely add this to your playlists.
5. ROS BY MAC MILLER
Lush synths and background vocals support Mac Miller’s breathtaking lyrics on “ROS.” Off of certified gold album, GO:OD AM, “ROS” is romantic and powerful. Miller’s skill in pairing more abstract, metaphorical lines with concrete lines make this song so effective- “Swear there’s something about her that make me nervous / Mother Earth done gave us all a gift, she made you perfect.”
6. HEEBIEJEEBIES BY AMINÉ AND KEHLANI
Aminé has quite a few love songs on Good For You, like “Caroline,” “Spice Girl”, and my personal favorite,“Heebiejeebies.” Inspired by the duets of the early 2000s, “Heebiejeebies” features Kehlani. The song puts a spin on the cliche “butterflies” feeling, and describes this excitement/anxiety as “heebie jeebies.” Complete with a Game of Thrones reference (that definitely was written prior to the last season), this song combines modern themes with elements of classic hip hop.
7. LOVE. BY KENDRICK LAMAR FT. ZACARI
On "LOVE.", Kendrick Lamar and Zacari question if love is unconditional. Asking questions, followed by “would you still love me,” the song is reminiscent of 50 Cent’s "21 Questions." With a beautiful hook sung by Zacari, and vulnerable lyrics, "LOVE." has become one of Lamar’s most popular songs. Reaching #1 on US Rhythmic Charts and going 4x platinum, it’s obvious that this track has resonated with the masses.
8. TEMPTATIONS BY 2PAC
“Even thugs get lonely,” says 2Pac on "Temptations." While this song outlines the rapper’s many relationships on tour, I interpret it as a “love the one you’re with” kind of situation. If you and that special someone aren’t exclusive, but enjoy the time you spend together, this is the song for you! On "Temptations," 2Pac’s forever identifiable voice raps about passion and loneliness.
9. GOTTA MAN BY EVE
Eve has got a man and wants everyone to know about it! On this romantic track, she gushes about the love and support in her relationship. The hook is reminiscent of a nursery rhyme, and the beat utilizes a simple, earworm melody. With lyrics like “All my peoples thinkin' I'm delirious / But the love I feel is serious,” and “Wine and dine / I don't need that as long as you with me,” this is one of the classic rap love songs for him. Be sure to check out the amazing late 90s/early 2000s fashion in the music video.
10. HOPE BY BLOOD ORANGE AND DIDDY
"Hope" by Blood Orange is about the more complicated parts of love. Summoning early 2000s R&B vibes, Dev Hynes, Tei Shi, and Diddy discuss having hope, even when fighting in a relationship. My favorite part of the song is Diddy’s outro in which he discusses being afraid of being loved how he really wants to be loved. This rawness and honesty makes this one of my favorite hip hop love songs.
11. I NEED LOVE BY LL COOL J
This rap ballad changed how the public viewed LL Cool J. No longer “a playboy on the run,” he broke away from the tough-guy persona of hip hop in the 80s and shared something soft and romantic. Released in 1987, "I Need Love" is about LL Cool J’s realization that what he really wants in a relationship is “Friendship, trust, honor, respect, [and] admiration.”
12. MONA LISA BONET BY LATRELL JAMES
While everyone else was busy chasing various famous women, Boston based rapper Latrell James had his sights on just one person. Danceable "Mona Lisa Bonet" is catchy, upbeat, and features shimmery production by Lightfoot. If this song doesn’t inspire you to call up ~that person~ and go have a wild night out, I don’t know what will.
Whether you’re in a relationship, single, or involved in something a little complicated, celebrate it with these top hip hop love songs. Looking to slow it down and set the mood? Check out our favorite R&B Love Songs!
Arielle Tindel is a Berklee College of Music student from Cleveland, OH. She will graduate in December with degrees in Music Business Marketing and Songwriting. In her free time, Arielle can be found gardening or playing bass.