Vast Aire says at the beginning of The Crush, an unreleased track that originally was scheduled to be included on his forthcoming Deuces Wild (June 24), that this “is not a love song … naaah.”
But let’s be honest: That’s just macho posturing. Because seconds later, Vast launches into a love letter of the highest order: “She got the sweet potato, I got the corn on the cob / tuck your shirt in, she don’t date no slob.” OK, so Barry White might have put it in a subtler manner, but you get the idea.
It got me thinking about my favorite hip-hop odes to love. Without a doubt, the Pharcyde’s Passin’ Me By ranks No. 1. As I look at the list, combing for common traits in the songs, I think the best of them are heartfelt without being cheesy, humorous without being juvenile.
LL Cool J’s I Need Love is the closest you’d come to an R&B jam, and, at the time (1987), it had to be a bit of a surprise – this was, after all, the days of the I’m Bad Cool J, before he sexed us up in every song/video he put out. You could argue, though, that LL made it OK to drop a verse or three about love.
Some more of my favorites (in no particular order):
A Tribe Called Quest, Electric Relaxation.
The Pharcyde, Otha Fish.
The Nonce, Bus Stops.
Atban Klann (ex-Black Eyed Peas), Focus On You.
Del the Funky Homosapien, Why You Wanna Get Funky.
J-Live, Like This Anna.
Mos Def, Ms. Fat Booty.
Murs, Silly Girl.
LL Cool J, I Need Love.
The Roots, You Got Me.
I made a Muxtape out of these. Check it out. What hip-hop love songs did I miss?
Vast Aire | The Crush