25 Best Rap Love Songs

Let's talk about love. Yes, hip-hop has a soft side, too. And you don't have to wait till Valentine's Day to swim in the whims of romance. Just pull your special someone closer and let the music lead you. Start with the 25 greatest rap love songs ever.

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25
of 25
Future - "Turn on the Lights"

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Rap's sad robot adorably is head over heels in love with his dream girl. The problem? He hasn't met her. "I wanna tell the world about you just so they could get jealous/And if you see her before I do tell her I wish that I met her," Future raps. Buy from Amazon »

24
of 25
Ja Rule Ft. Vita - "Put It on Me"

© Murder Inc. / Def Jam

C'mon, now. No lovey-dovey playlist is complete without the prince of love rap songs himself Ja Rule. The Vita-assisted "Put It on Me" was a ubiquitous hit during Ja's 2000s reign. Buy from Amazon »

23
of 25
Diddy - "I Need a Girl"

© Bad Boy
After her split from Jennifer Lopez, Diddy made the song cry on 2002's "I Need a Girl": "I had a girl that would've died for me/Didn't 'preciate her so I made her cry for me/Every night she had tears in her eyes for me/Caught a case, shorty took the whole ride for me." Moguls need love, too. Buy from Amazon »

22
of 25
Big Daddy Kane - "Smooth Operator"

© Cold Chillin' / Warner Bros.
After two verses of self-congratulatory rhymes, Kane "takes a few minutes to mellow out" and salute the ladies. "You're best scooped like ice cream," he cheers. "Smooth Operator" is the closest we'll ever get to a Big Daddy Kane love song. Buy from Amazon »

21
of 25
The Lost Boyz - "Renee"

© Uptown
"A ghetto love is the law that we live by/Day by day I wonder why my shorty had to die." "Renee" is a tragic tale of loves lost, made even more tragic by the death of Lost Boyz MC/promoter Freaky Tah in 1999. Buy from Amazon »

20
of 25
OutKast Ft. Cee-Lo Green - "Slum Beautiful"

© LaFace
Big Boi and Andre 3000 came up in a misogynistic rap climate, but they had no problem expressing affection for women, or saying sorry. Stankonia standout "Miss Jackson," for instance, found them apologizing to a baby mama's mama. The same album spawned "Slum Beautiful," a sleeper tune that dotes on the ghetto fabulous. Buy from Amazon »

19
of 25
Ma$e Ft. Total - "What You Want"

© Bad Boy
Forget dinner and a date, M-A-Dollar-Sign-E is giving you the key to his pad: "In a year or two, girl, I could see you with my kids/Girl, you make a thug want to get a legal gig/It's only right we spend our lonely nights/Gettin' crazy biz till we awake the kids." Buy from Amazon »

18
of 25
Whodini - "One Love"

© Jive
"One love, one love, you're lucky just to have one loooove." Yes, those are the actual lyrics. You're more likely to find Big Foot than find a mainstream rap song with a similar message today. Still, this song has survived over the years, thanks to Nas' 1994 version of the same name. As further proof of the song's lasting power, the phrase "one love" is now considered hip-hop lingo. True classic. Buy from Amazon »

17
of 25
Nicki Minaj - "Your Love"

© Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Motown
Her royal Barbieness flexed some hip-pop flexibility on this Annie Lennox-inspired smash. It marked a rare moment of vulnerability for Minaj. "You're like a candy store and I'm a toddler/You got me wantin' more." Buy from Amazon »

16
of 25
Drake - "Best I Ever Had"

© Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Motown
Drizzy used this summer smash to describe his ideal woman: "Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin' with no make up on." This song caught fire and sent Drake to the top of the charts. And that was before he even signed a major deal. Buy from Amazon »

15
of 25
Wale - "Lotus Flower Bomb" (Ft. Miguel)

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Wale is a ladies' man. Miguel is a ladies' man. Put them on the same track and the outcome is a heartwarming collaboration. I saw Wale perform "Lotus Flower Bomb" live and almost got trampled by a stampede of adoring ladies rushing towards the front stage. Buy from Amazon »

14
of 25
Dead Prez - "Mind Sex"

© Loud
Are you into good conversations? Do you like herbal tea? Are you a fan of poetry? Then you're the girl M-1 and Stic.man had in mind when they wrote the appropriately titled "Mind Sex." Buy from Amazon »

13
of 25
LL Cool J - "Around the Way Girl"

© Def Jam
Long before Future told us to "Turn on the Lights," LL Cool J hit the streets in search of his own 'round the way girl ("I want a girl with extensions in her hair/Bamboo earrings, at least two pair"). Buy from Amazon »

12
of 25
The Pharcyde - "Passin' Me By"

© Delicious Vinyl
Something about "Passin' Me By" makes me want to grab a Heineken and lounge in the sun. Buy from Amazon »

11
of 25
De La Soul - "Eye Know"

© Tommy Boy

Not your standard groupie love fare, De La's candy-coated "Eye Know" over lush samples (notably from Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay") made it cool to declare sweet affection for that "special someone" without sounding corny. Buy from Amazon »

10
of 25
Black Star - "Brown Skin Lady"

© Rawkus
Sometimes playful, sometimes treacly, "Brown Skin Lady" is always beautiful. Cocoa butter sales probably spiked after Kweli rapped, "Your skin is the inspiration for cocoa butter." Smooth. Buy from Amazon »

09
of 25
50 Cent - "21 Questions"

© Shady/Aftermath/Interscope
Most love songs entail guys teasing girls with wild promises. 50 Cent turned the tables on "21 Questions," which takes the form of a relationship interview. "I'm asking questions to find out how you feel inside," he raps. Oh, and you can't question the genius of "I love you like a fat kid loves cake." After dropping that line, Fif went on to bag Vivica Fox, Ciara, and Chelsea Handler. Buy from Amazon »

08
of 25
Common Ft. Mary J. Blige - "Come Close"

© MCA

It's just a fly love song. Common spits game to his lady and vows to "do the best that I can do, cause I'm at my best when I'm with you." What girl doesn't want to be told, "I see the God in you"? The music video wasn't too shabby, either. Buy from Amazon »

07
of 25
Slick Rick - "Teenage Love"

© Def Jam
Golden words from the greatest storyteller in rap: "If it's not true love, you shouldn't deal wit it." The best part is that the message is always in season. Buy from Amazon »

06
of 25
Eric B & Rakim - "Mahogany"

© MCA
You really have to see Rakim play this one live to fully understand why it's such a cult classic. Nothing like seeing hundreds of Rakim fans—male and female—stan over a romantic tune. Buy from Amazon »

05
of 25
The Roots Ft. Eve & Erykah Badu "You Got Me"

© MCA

The Roots struck gold with this smooth gem off Things Fall Apart. Jill Scott wrote the R&B part but the label picked Erykah Badu to bring exposure to the record. With all respect to the wonderfully talented Scott, Badu made the suits seem like prophets. Buy from Amazon »

04
of 25
A Tribe Called Quest - "Bonita Applebum"

A Tribe Called Quest - Bonita Applebum. © Jive
"Bonita Applebum" was the first single off Tribe's debut, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Word has it the song was an ode to a high school shawty. Bonus points for safe sex: "I got crazy prophylactics." Buy from Amazon »

03
of 25
Common - "The Light"

© MCA
There's so much going on here: J. Dilla's steady drums, James Poyser's pristine keys, that indelible Bobby Caldwell sample. Oh, and we haven't even gotten to the rhymes. Common puts it down, matching Dilla's potent production with his own poetic bagel. Buy from Amazon »

02
of 25
LL Cool J - "I Need Love"

© Def Jam
Hip-hop's original loverboy made this classic back when lovey-dovey rap was deemed a novelty. Today, it's still one of the best hip-hop songs ever -- love or otherwise. Buy from Amazon »

01
of 25
Method Man Ft. Mary J. Blige - "You're All I Need to Get By"

© Def Jam
Every rap and R&B collaboration released in the 1995 owes a royalty check to Method Man and Mary J Blige. The song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Buy from Amazon »