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Hip Hop Mood Setters

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No Valentine's Day would be complete without the perfect love song. What is a love song? A love song simply speaks of being in love, falling in love, and the amazing feelings that these experiences bring. Although love songs span a variety of genres, here are 11 of the most memorable hip hop love songs.

1."I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get ByMethod Man featuring Mary J. Blige

In 1995, lyrically gifted Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man, and the Queen of Hip hop Soul released one of the best hip hop/R&B duets of all time. The hip-hop classic won this dynamic duo a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1996.

The song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on June 3, 1995, and #1 on the R&B singles chart in Billboard Magazine. The hit held the position it held for three weeks.

Love Lines: “Even when the skies were gray, you would rub me on my back, and say baby it'll be ok".

2. "I Need Love" LL Cool J

Released in July of 1987, this hit was the main reason why the Ladies Love Cool James. In addition to his acronym, “I Need Love” continues to be one of LL’s most memorable hits. The second single from his second album, Bigger and Deffer, The sugary sweet hip-hop classic is considered the first rap ballad. It reached #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and became one of the first rap songs to gain popularity in the UK.

Love Lines: "I’d give you a rose, pull out your chair before we eat,
kiss you on the cheek, and say ooh girl you’re so sweet"

3. "03 Bonnie & Clyde" Jay-Z featuring Beyonce

Before they became Mr. and Mrs. Carter, the modern-day Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, recorded their first song together. Taken from Jay-Z'’s 2002 release, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, “03 Bonnie &Clyde” with its catchy flamenco guitar intro was the album's lead single and sampled its beat from Tupac Shakur's 1996 song "Me and My Girlfriend".

Love Lines: “Cuz mami's a rider, and I'm a roller
put us together, how they gon' stop both us"?

4. You Got Me" The Roots featuring Erykah Badu

Ahmir ‘Questlove?’ Thompson and Tariq ‘Black Thought’ started out as high school friends, before becoming The Roots in 1992

Taken from the band's 1999 album Things Fall Apart,You Got Me” features a chorus brilliantly sung by Erykah Badu and a guest appearance from a then 19-year-old Eve, who skillfully executes the second verse.

The melodic hip-hop classic also garnered The Roots and Badu a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 2000.

Love Lines: “Things fall apart shatter/She like that s**t don't matter/
When I get home get at her”

5. "Brown Skin Lady" Black Star

The socially and politically conscious Mos Def and Talib Kweli, then known as Black Star, bared their romantic souls with their 1998 affectionate ode to African American women with “Brown Skin Lady”.

The song encourages African American women to be proud of their hair and complexion, and to not be influenced by Western beauty standards.

Love Lines: "Your skin's the inspiration for cocoa butter/you provoke a brother, we should get to know one another."

6. "Best I Ever Had" Drake

The Toronto born, Aubrey “Drake” Graham, first gained hip-hop acclaim with his very first single, "Best I Ever Had" from his first EP So Far Gone. The song was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song.

Love Lines: “Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin' with no make-up on/That's when you're the prettiest, I hope that you don't take it wrong."

7. "Beautiful" Snoop Dogg Featuring Pharell Williams

Taken from his 2003 release, Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$., Snoop Dogg’s "Beautiful" was produced by The Neptunes,and features R&B legend Charlie Wilson. It also features Pharrell Williams signing the hook in his trademark falsetto tone. The music video was filmed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The single peaked at #6 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart, and was successful in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, where it peaked at number four.

Love Lines: When I see my baby boo, s**t, I get foolish /Smack a n***a that tries to pursue it (Oh, hoo)/Homeboy, she taken, just move it
I asked you nicely, don't make the Dogg lose it”

8. "Bonita Applebum"- A Tribe Called Quest

“Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad made authentic sound so good.

Extracted from thier 1990 debut People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm,
A Tribe Called Quest melted hearts with the dreamy, “Bonita Applebum”. The melodic hit
is the perfect marriage between pulsating beats, prolific rhymes, and charismatic Q-Tip flows. The term "Bonita Applebum" is used to describe a woman whose quest in life is to make guys feel like men. Bonita Applebums are the best of both worlds by being passive and authoritive.

Love Lines: “I like to tell you things some brothas don't/If only you can see through your elaborate eyes/Only you and me hon, the love never dies."

9. "Into You" - Fabolous featuring Tamia

The Brooklyn bred John David Fabolous Jackson made some noise with his 2001 debut, but it was 2003’s Street Dreams, and the silky voiced Tamia, that produced one of the best hip hip/R&B collaborations of all time. With its summery vibe, the mid tempo “Into You” was also featured on Tamia's album More.

It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the second single from the album to reach the top 10.

Love Lines: “Now you relaxing in the Benz/Credit cards are no limits/So u don’t worry about maxing when u spend/But since u been asking about the friends/How’d u like it if both our names had Jackson on the ends”?

10. "Come Close" - Common featuring Mary J. Blige

Hailing from Chicago’s Southside, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr simply known as Common, is known for his prolific yet intellectual lyrics. With this in mind, one can’t be too surprised when a rapper with these qualities executes a memorable love song. Produced by the Neptunes with a hook glamorously sung by Mary J. Blige, Come Close" is the perfect blend of “romantic reality”. The song is taken from his 2002 album Electric Circus.

Love Lines: “With lyrics like, “I just want you to know/Your whole being is beautiful/I'ma do the best I can do/Cause I'm my best when I'm with you”

11. "Mesmerize" - Ja Rule featuring Ashanti

One of the heaviest rotated songs of 2002, “Mesmerize” was the second single from Ja Rule’s album The Last Temptation. The catchy, sing-along tune features Ashanti singing the hook. The song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The music video was inspired by the film the Grease. With Ja Rule as a swagged out John Travolta, and Ashanti as a sultry version of Olivia Newton John. The song begins with the couple meeting up at a carnival, reminiscent of the 1978 blockbuster’s big finale. As they sang, they engaged in various carnival attractions, while exchanging playful, yet romantic banter.

Love Lines: Girl your stare, those eyes I (love it when you look at me baby)/Your lips, your smile I (love it when you kiss me baby)/Your hips, those thighs I (love it when you call me baby)And I can't, deny I (love it when I'm wit chu baby.

No matter how long ago these hip hop hits were introduced to us, they are, and will always remain ageless. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day all!

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