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Top 10 Sentimental Rap Songs


What follows is a list of ten rap songs that will either tug at your heartstrings or cause you to reminisce this Valentine's Day.

10. A Tribe Called Quest - "Bonita Applebum"


"Bonita Applebum" finds ATCQ romanticizing a calm, thumping drumbeat. With his nasal flow and soothing delivery, Q-Tip spills poetic excerpts, masterfully pausing between lines for effect.

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9. Jay-Z - "Song Cry"

Jay-Z Song Cry
© Roc-A-Fella

Just when you thought Hov was all about money, cash, and girls (he actually is), he pulls out his storytelling hat. Though Jay's defiant persona is still alive here (instead of shedding the tears himself, he makes the song cry), he's sentimental enough to concede being called "ugly" by the gold-digging female in his story.

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8. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - "Tha Crossroads"

© Ruthless
[Video] [Download]

Following Eazy-E's demise in March of 1995, his disciples Bone Thugs-N-Harmony unleashed this moody masterpiece in honor of the late west coast vet and other fallen soldiers.

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7. De La Soul - "Eye Know"

© Tommy Boy
[ Listen ]

This jazzyfied hip-hop crew was the first to rhyme about daisies and dames and make it sound, oh so sweet. De La's candy-coated musings over lush soulful samples (notably from Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay") made it trendy to declare sweet affection for that "special person" without losing credibility.

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6. 2 Pac - "Dear Mama"

© Interscope

[ Video ] [Download


Pac made it cool for rappers to honor their moms in the 90s, as he pats mama on the back for attempting to liberate him from the perils of street life. Shakur's soulful lyrics make "Dear Mama" a sentimental hip-hop masterpiece.

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5. Ghostface feat. Mary J. Blige - "All That I Got Is You"

© Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
[ Listen ] [Download]

Ditching the conventional 32-bar structure for a long-running verse, Ghost drops genuinely emotional lyrics about crashing in a congested apartment with his mom and plucking roaches out of cereal boxes. No hard-hitting drums, no anti-swine-eating vignettes. Just Mary J. Blige's tear-jerk crooning and GFK's emotion-laden words.

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4. PM Dawn - "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss"

© Polygram
[ Video ] [Download]

Set atop a soundbed of Spandau Ballet's "True" and Eric B & Rakim's "Paid in Full," PM Dawn dreams up a world that is both reflective and sentimental. Ultimately, "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" is about releasing old attachments and reliving them in one's memory.

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3. LL Cool J - "I Need Love"

© Brian Bedder/Getty Images
[ Video ] [Download]

This 1987 smash, often heralded as the first true hip-hop love song, is a reminder that Cool J has been swinging the "L" to the ladies for decades.

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2. Method Man & Mary J. Blige - "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By"

Method Man hesitated at first. But when his record label offered up a Benz and an opportunity to craft one of the greatest hip-hop and R&B collaborations of all time, he couldn't resist. Every rap/r&b collabo released in the 2000s owes a royalty check to Meth and Mary.

1. Pete Rock and CL Smooth - "They Reminisce Over You [T.R.O.Y.]"

CL Smooth

[Video] [Download


Insane horn riffs. Shimmering cymbals. Soulful samples. You just know it's Pete Rock's unmistakable craftsmanship. On the other end, C.L. Smooth channels controlled emotion through the mic on this funeral favorite. This is melancholy elegy at its finest.

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