This Sunday is Mother's Day. (Yes, we're sure. Yes, there's still time to get her something.) And what better way to thank the person who brought you into this world than the gift of music? Few genres have dedicated as many songs to the importance of mothers and mother-figures as hip-hop. But this Mother's Day playlist is especially special because you can actually play the songs around Mom!
LL Cool J
"Mama Said Knock You Out,"1990
Mothers always know best. We may not realize it until we're older, but wearing a scarf and cutting-out coupons are actually fantastic ideas. They're also great motivators when it comes to achieving our dreams. Take LL Cool J, whose
(sorry LL, forgot you told us not to call it that) rebirth was inspired by his mother requesting that he render other rappers unconscious. It worked out and LL became hotter than ever. There's no word yet regarding her opinion on "Accidental Racist."
Cultural studies majors have written hundreds of uninteresting pages on Tupac's relationships with women. But we can all agree that "Dear Mama" is a stellar song. A heart-on-his-sleeve tribute showing true vulnerability, "Dear Mama" remains the standard for saluting the woman who brought you here.
The mid-90s might have been the best time for songs about Mothers in rap. Along with 2Pac's iconic "Dear Mama" and Ghostface's exploration of the importance of mothers in urban poverty in"All I Got Is You,"
Atlanta's Goodie Mob held it down for southern moms with "Guess Who." Each members tells the the tales of their mothers' unique stories. Yet, despite being so different, the Mob's mothers each exemplified the same hallmarks of love, responsibility and wisdom.
Beanie Sigel f/ Scarface
The "Broad Street Bully" Beanie Sigel is known as one of rap's most uncompromisingly raw voices. Two years after his song"What Ya Life Like
" gave an unglamorous and unsettling description of prison time, Sigel returned with "Mom Praying." A tribute to his mother and grandmother (who raised "10 boys, seven daughters / three-story house with no supporter"), Sigel recounts the subtle reminders of how she cares, and brutally threatens anyone who would disrespect her. Joining him is frequent collaborator Scarface whose strong relationship with his mother has been referenced throughout his career, but never more directly than here.
"Hey Mama" (Demo Version),2003
Most remember Kanye West's sophomore album
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for its lavish soundscapes and sweeping production. As enjoyable as the beats on it are, there's something really special and much more earnest about the demo version of "Hey Mama." Recorded prior to the release of his first album (in the "Isn't it pronounced 'Kain?'" days) you can hear that West didn't have much else in his life other than the love of his mother, but that was more than enough for him. RIP Mama West.