Sometimes it’s hard to say out loud how we really feel, but the best songs are able to take all those emotions and put them to music. When it comes to romance, however, hip-hop love songs are particularly adept at capturing the joy and pain that come with matters of the heart.
Romance and hip-hop go so well together because the genre emphasizes lyricism in its depictions of matters of the heart. Whether it’s a heartfelt confession about a crush or thoughtful comforts to a longtime lover, these romantic tunes have long been a key part of how we communicate our tender feelings. From the very early days of creating mixtapes for a flame to today’s modern Spotify playlists, the greatest hip-hop songs of all time have been used to tell stories about high school sweethearts, high-level relationships and all that. They’re especially adorable when you know they’re inspired by real romance.
So below, fall in love with some of the best hip-hop love songs of all time.
“My Boo” door Usher
Aside from the iconic call and response, this song is a dedication to the one who got away. Usher and Alicia Keys, two crowned heads when it comes to R&B love songs, have joined forces to create this moving duo. “The song is about the first person you really had feelings for,” Keys said of the song in a 2004 interview. “I think we all know how that feels. Even if you move on and meet new people, you always remember that first person.
Most romantic lyric: “I know we haven’t seen each other in a while / But you’ll always be my darling”
“3005” by Childish Gambino
When you have that person who makes you feel comfortable just by being with them, it’s the perfect song to show how you feel. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, once said that even though “3005” reads like a love song, he actually wrote it to deal with the feelings of being lonely and scared and grateful that these can dissipate when you have someone in your life that you care about.