31 Flavors of Love – The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Hip-Hop Mix
by Oh Word
Rappers got a lot of love. They got love for their hood, their crew, their moms… They especially love hip-hop and they won’t let you forget it. In fact they love hip-hop so much that they make lots of songs where they personify and feminize their microphone (Masta Ace – “Hold U”), the track they are rhyming to (J-Live “Kick it to the Beat”, Pharoahe Monch “Rape”) or hip-hop in general (Common Sense – “I Used to Love H.E.R.” and a million songs since).
One thing they don’t do too well is romance. If a rapper is speaking with love for a particular female, there are about even odds that she’s just a metaphor. Over here at Oh Word we like literate chicks and they see through that metaphor game right away. They also don’t tolerate too much debasement. Sure a little playfulness and frank talk makes for good foreplay but what honey is going to swing the episode to the back-seat of your jeep if you’re gonna tell her “don’t lie – take it in your eye”.
Running smooth game is about finding balance. You want to set the right mood for sexy-time without being disgusting. You want to let the girl know she’s special without coming off soft. Pimping ain’t easy. And with that in mind we’ve created this romantic and flirtatious mix of 31 dope love songs that should please hip-hop fans of either gender.
You can use this for your special lady friend come Valentine’s Day. And don’t say we never helped you get laid.
1. Prince Paul You Made Me (AKC)
Since it’s Prince Paul, we’re fairly certain there’s some kind of massively twisted inside-joke embedded in this beautiful instrumental. If you figure it out, please don’t let us in on it.
2. Pharohe Monch The Light
Monch’s “The Light” stands the test of time better than Common’s.
3. Pete Rock and CL Smooth Searching
This was a respectable rap ballad with an R&B hook in an era when any track softer than “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” was readily dismissed.
4. Pharcyde She Said (Amsterdam Version)
The Pharcyde will be forever remembered for their obnoxiously overplayed ode to unrequited love but this remix of “She Said” by Jay Dee may be their finest moment.
5. The Roots f/ D’angelo The ‘Notic
On a superior remix that was curiously relegated to the Men In Black soundtrack, Black Thought longs for a reunion with an old flame while D’Angelo breathes new life into an Earth, Wind, and Fire chorus.
6. Count Bass D w/ Dionne Farris Seven Years
Rap tends to celebrate the excesses of bachelorhood but Count Bass D. and his MPC make settling down with wifey sound nearly as palatable as the fast life .
7. Eric B. & Rakim What’s On Your Mind
The God MC seduces a high-class queen with the irresistible combination of pure game and The Cosby Show, over a sample from ‘Curious’ by Midnight Star.
8. Boogiemonsters Honeydips In Gotham
Ugly sistas be quiet; this joint is dedicated to the cocoa-buttered down mocha-brown ‘dips you’ll see in Washington Square Park on a hazy day in June.
9. Bahamadia I Confess (The Roots Remix)
The Roots back their Philly sister Bahamadia’s incomparable flow and transform the cheesy original into the definitive fly love song.
10. A Tribe Called Quest Electric Relaxation
Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew” was already shimmering gem even before the Tribe intervened.
11. OC Can’t Go Wrong
On his sophomore LP the D.I.T.C. wordsmith eschewed lurid tales of wayward bisexual temptresses for an espousal of devotion to his hypnotizing, mesmerizing high-school sweetheart over DJ Ogee’s understated but soulful production.
12. World Renown Butter Love
Yet another K-Def diamond-in-the-rough that never saw the light of day? You don’t say! Title says it all – neither Parkay nor margarine.
13. Jungle Brothers Black Woman
The most adventurous, least celebrated, and most spiteful Native Tongue affiliates take a break from bragging about their dicks to wax rhapsodic on love and respect.
14. Method Man f/ Mary J. Blige You’re all I Need (Razor Sharp Edit)
The next snap-hop YouTube rap star was likely conceived to the ghostly thump of this respectful interpretation of Marvin and Tammy’s haunting duet.
15. Rumpletilskinz Sweet Therapy
If you only caught their videos, you’d assume that life in Uniondale, Long Island consisted mostly of stomping through vacant lots but people there also fall in love.
16. Ghostface Camay
Admittedly, having a girlfriend who holds a managerial position at Paragon would be kind of ill.
17. Lost Boyz Renee (remix)
Finally, a song tailored specifically to legal scholar/thug relationships.
18. Goodie Mob Beautiful Skin
Quirky romantic and yet convincing.
19. Black Star Brown Skin Lady
A song so good its horrific hook is soon forgotten.
20. Lord Finesee Let’s Get It On (instr)
We’re all sensitive people and we all need a cigarette/ wine break, right?
21. Guru ft. N’Dea Davenport Trust Me
Guru as nebbish fretting over his insecurities to a nurturing and sexy N’Dea Davenport; a romantic comedy on wax.
22. KMD Plumskinz
Peachfuzz or not, Zev Luv X. and co. needed to get theirs, too, and they did so, over a sample of Bobbi Humphrey’s scintillating “Black and Blues.”
23. Digable Planets Swoon Units
Think Jet Screamer wooing Judy Jetson in the midst of a hashish haze.
24. Lone Catalysts Ayanna Monet
Making a pass at Posdnous’ daughter in the future on some ol’ next shit.
25. Poor Righteour Teachers Shakiyla
Wise Intelligent kicks elevated game, Culture Freedom warbles.
26. Lord Finesse Gameplan
The original Funkyman suggests that he gets women “open like a Ceasarean” and still gets the drawers.
27. Devin the Dude Too Cute
You know the interludes in When Harry Met Sally where couples sit down to talk about how they almost didn’t get together. Imagine one of those but with a chick who probably is “too cute” and a stoner named Devin as the dude.
28. Al-Tariq Nikki
Post-Beatnuts and newly converted to Islam, Fashion is smitten by a sensational shorty.
29. De La Soul Eye Know
Otis Redding’s whistle, overt samples from Steely Dan’s ode to an, ahem, art film star, and good clean De La flirtation
30. UGK f/ Outkast International Players anthem
Andre’s whole verse especially “spaceships don't come equipped with rear view mirrors” outweigh the bravado from his concerned groomsmen.
31. Trendz of Culture Valley Of The Skinz
Vignettes of a “ghetto Romeo and Juliet” over hard drums and iridescent excerpts taken from Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves The Sunshine.”