My Favorite Hip-Hop Family SongsTuesday, January 12, 2016
"Let's do it for these babies." It's quite possibly my favorite rap line. I love hip-hop and rap because not only do I hear these lyrics, I feeeeeel them. You know when your chest gets kinda warm and you have to take a deep breath to decompress that feeling? It's that.
For those that love rap and for those that don't, here's my list of hip-hop/rap songs that make me think about parenting, family, my grandparents and always give me the feels. All of them!
Take a listen and you might feel the same. Links are all non-explicit versions, iTunes links. :)
New Day - JAY Z & Kanye West, Watch the Throne - My favorite concert moment was seeing Jay and Kanye perform this live. They sat and spoke to their future children, neither were fathers at the time. Advice on being kind, respectful and worries that their children will make the mistakes they made, something every parent can relate to. The most touching is Jay saying that his dad left him and he promises to never do the same.
Fast forward to JayZ actually being a father, he made JAY Z Blue on Magna Carta... Holy Grail. This could definitely be the sequel to New Day. It's real talk about being in the trenches of parenting and marriage, staying dedicated to family life, not letting joint custody be an option. The track also features a little Notorious B.I.G which is a really nice touch!
On Kanye's first album, The College Dropout, is the sentimental, vivid and fun Family Business. My favorite line is "Y'all gon' sit down, have a good time this reunion, And drink some wine like Communion, And act like everything fine and if it isn't, We ain't lettin' everybody in our family business". The melody in the background is sweet, you can't help but smile when listening.
On to Roses - Kanye West, Late Registration - Kanye starts off with, "I know it's past visiting hours, but can I please give her these flowers?" and goes on to describe what it's like to sit in waiting rooms with his grandfather, cousins, the 'auntie team' and cousins waiting for his grandmother to get out of surgery. It makes me remember my own family's moments at Santa Rosa and the downtown Baptist, waiting for news from the doctor.
Skip a few songs down on Late Registration, and Kanye delivers a love letter to his mom on Hey Mama. Appreciating all the sacrifices she made he says, "Mommy, I'm gonna love you till you don't hurt no more, and when I'm older, you ain't gotta work no more." Insert lump-in-throat.
After Hey Mama, in 2007, Kanye's mother dies from complications after surgery. He made Only One, a single in 2015 as an ode to her. He says they are his mother's words that came to him subconsciously and the song is a message to him and his daughter, North.
Another I love is Look What You've Done by Drake on his Take Care album. He tells you two different stories where his mother and aunt supported and believed in him. The end has a recording of a voicemail from his grandmother telling Aubrey to always remember the good times. So sweet!
Apparently is from my current favorite rapper, J. Cole on his latest album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive. This inspirational song touches on how Cole is thankful for his mother's love and apologetic that he couldn't do anything to stop the foreclosure on his mother's home while he was in college. J. Cole later bought that home and has transformed it into a rent free home for single mothers. :)
Another song honoring a grandmother is One Man Can Change the World by Big Sean on Dark Sky Paradise. I've been to his concert, I've seen his interviews and heard him on podcasts and he always mentions her! She was one of the first female black captains during World War II and like many grandmothers, the backbone of his family and a great influence on him. At the end is another beautiful recording of a phone conversation between them. She passed away after the song was made.
Finally is It Don't Have to Change from John Legend on Get Lifted. It is another favorite about uniting the family, because it happens that families sometimes grow apart.
I hope you enjoy this list, it's been on my heart for a while to share!