Rap Joints for Mom - Curated by Tomisin Akins
by Rapjoint Lagos
Mom, Mama, Mummy, Mother: in entertainment many have honoured the women who brought them into the world through the gift of music. In Hip-Hop, Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama” is the pinnacle of excellence when it comes to paying tribute to one’s mother. For every Eminem song lamenting on the trials of dealing with a mother, there are 20 more tracks from artists detailing each and every thing that their mother has done for them. Below we have listed some of the very best songs and included a link to our Youtube and Apple Music playlist.
- Tupac, "Dear Mama" (1995) - The go-to reference for those who want to honour their mom, he dedicated more than four minutes to the woman who not only raised him, but also defended herself in court mid-pregnancy against trumped-up charges against her and several other Black Panther Party members.
- Kanye West, "Hey Mama" (2005) - Kanye was able to give Donda West the roses while she could still smell them before her untimely death in 2007. A classic recount how a single mother can raise a stronger child than some entire villages.
- Rick Ross, "Smile Mama, Smile" (2015) - Ross reminisces on his mom’s impact in helping him deal with his seizures in 2011 in the first verse, then goes on to express thanks for his upbringing and solidify that he will “always depend on his mama.”
- Jay Z , “(Blueprint) Momma Loves Me” (2001) - this is the first part of the Track “Blueprint”, which is the outro of Jay’s 6th studio album “The Blueprint”. In this part of the song, Jay-Z talks about his childhood: who helped him become the man he is now, and who did not.
- DMX, “I Miss You” (2001) - This song is dedicated to DMX's grandmother, Mary Ella Holloway. Faith Evans sings a verse which recites Amazing Grace, it is almost to imply that DMX was lost, but found his way in life after realising his potential.
- J. Cole, "Apparently" (2014) - Cole thinks back to his mother’s struggles, especially his childhood home being foreclosed on, and his being unable to help in his college years. He admits to ignoring the issues present in her life in favour of childish needs."
- Snoop Dogg, "I Love My Momma" (1999) - This song is perfectly summed up by, “She taught me everythang, but she didn't charge a fee/She taught me everythang, except how to see a G/For the nine months you carried, I hope you bury me/Instead of the other way around, and I put that on Dogg Pound.”
- Jay Z, “December 4th” (2003) - Jay’s mother Gloria Carter gets to speak between each of the verses on “December 4th.” Carter gives her own perspective and voices her feelings as she tells us how Shawn was the only one of her four children who didn’t give her any pain when he was born, how she knew he was special, and when she bought him the boombox that changed his life.
- Ghostface Killah, “All That I Got Is You” (1996) - debut single by Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah, released as the lead single from his solo debut album Ironman. The song features R&B singer Mary J. Blige and an outro which has Popa Wu giving teachings. The song depicts the harsh life he struggled through with his mother during his childhood and praises her ability to raise him even in their downtrodden state.
- Kanye West, "Only One" (2015) - One of the few songs to take the perspective of the mother, released as a non-album single, was one of three collaborations between himself and Paul McCartney.
- Goodie Mob, "Guess Who" (1995) - Definitely one of the hardest instrumentals to accompany a mom song, this track off of Goodie Mob’s 1995 debut album Soul Food offers varying perspectives on relationships with mothers, from fights to love to posting bond payments to make bail.
- Nas, "Dance" (2002) - Nas takes time to honour his mother, who passed away just eight months before the release of God’s Son. Nas opens up about the emotionality of the loss in the first verse, nostalgic for the days that he was able to be held and wishing for a different reality. In the second verse, he comes to terms with his loss.
- Beanie Sigel & Scarface, “Mom’s Praying” (2001) - "I'm in love with two women. The one who birthed me, and the one who birthed her. Know that you gotta hurt me, before you hurt her, or hurt her. Or hurt them, or hurt we." This track is known to hit deep.
- Jay-Z, "I Made It" (2006) - Jay Z makes sure to mention specific thanks throughout the track—everything from repairing his relationship with his estranged father before his passing to her sometimes-failing efforts to keep the lights on—before hopping into a third verse that promises the world to his mother as his success continues.
- Eminem, “Headlights” (2013) - The most shocking of all (especially after the track "Cleanin' Out My Closet" - a confessional about how Eminem’s mother treated him as he grew up), in this song Eminem extends a formal apology to his mother, Debbie Mathers, and also forgiving her for her past mistakes.
- Clipse, “Momma I’m So Sorry” (2006) - this song is a larger apology to all the important women in the duo’s lives, especially the ones that raised them. It is standout on an album full of standouts—Hell Hath No Fury.
- LL Cool J, "Mama Said Knock You Out" (1991) - Before "Mama Said Knock You Out" was released, many people felt that LL Cool J's career was waning; his grandmother, who still believed in his talent, told him to "knock out" all his critics. And so, he did, winning the the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.