Hip-hop – which believe it or not turns 50 this year — has always blossomed from love. It may seem corny to the average hip-hop head, but in an industry based on stealing the hearts of listeners, love is a universal language. Rappers who can balance vulnerability with machismo are undeniable chart-toppers whether it comes to self-love, love for their homies or even love of riches. If you’re a love hater, here’s a fact — Certified Lover Boy Drake was crowned Billboard’s Artist of the Decade in 2021.
But on this list, only one song from Drake’s love catalog will be mentioned. We’re also rounding up our top affectionate hip-hop cuts from classic ‘80s throwbacks to Y2K-era favorites to modern masterpieces.
To kick-off Valentine’s Day, check out the Best Hip-Hop Love Songs of All Time below.
Editor’s Note: A lot of these songs come from some of the greatest to ever pick up a mic. Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim, LL Cool J, Drake, 50 Cent and The Notorious B.I.G. all appear on Billboard and Vibe’s recently unveiled list of the 50 Greatest Rappers of All Time, released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, which was born out of block parties in the Bronx back in 1973.
While the best rappers of all time is a subject for hot debate, there’s also a less contentious top 50 list you can turn your attention to. Billboard’s Top 50 Love Songs of All Time isn’t an editorial list, but rather a roundup of songs with love (or some variation on the word) in the title that have performed the best on Billboard’s charts over the years. You can check that out here.
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