Rap is usually pigeonholed into bragging about chains, cars, and money, talking shit, or constantly competing for champion status, but what about when we are broken hearted? While artists like Drake have perfected the sentimental craft of heart break, artists have been spitting about love and loss since the beginning of the era. These records are proof that Drake’s not the only rapper in the game who needs some love and maybe a hug too. For those of you who need something besides Taylor Swift to sulk with after a break up, see below.
1. “The Break Up Song” – Wale
“Yeah, see, breaking up is hard, to move along, it’s even harder.” Geniusly modeled after 500 Days of Summer, Wale lets us in on the plot lines of his infamous breakup, reality and expectations included.
2. “My Problem (Jealousy)” – Juelz Santana
“But I’m stickin with my heart, now look, I’m sittin in the dark” Fans have to thank this Diplomat member for his apology letter turned rap, regrets included. If there is one thing to come away with, jealousy always kills.
3. “Thin Line” – Macklemore ft. Buffalo Madonna
”I said peace before but this time I meant it.” For the epitome of the on and off again relationship, Macklemore describes the nuances of why it is so goddamn difficult to leave for good.
4. “Little Bit” – Drake
“Hand down, I’m too proud for love; but with eyes shut, it’s you I’m thinking of.” Accompanied by the serial unrequited lover, Lykke Li, Drake’s version of Little Bit expresses the heart break of finally letting someone in while struggling to keep your pride in the process.
5. “Situationships” – Fabolous
“And what’s crazy is soon as you fall back, they crawl back, saying they sorry and wait it all back.” From the famous Soul Tape series, Fabolous single handedly defines the problem of our generation – situationships. With clips from Baby Boy and Martin, you’ll want to hear this, break up or not.
6. “Love Me Not” – J. Cole
“And ‘Where I Wanna Be’ was my favorite song. Sometimes I still be on my Donnell Jones but I just can’t leave you alone.” For those of us who go back with Cole to Friday Night Lights and are sick of this in and out of love type shit – and yes Cole, that includes you too.
7. “Days In The East” – Drake
“She said, ‘when that shit is real, you just know.’ And I was thinkin’ bout you, you already know.” Maybe about Rihanna, maybe not. Either way, this track delivers that ideal type of darkness we need attended by the imagination of drinking tea and talking love with Erykah Badu.
8. “Ordinary Love Shit, Part 1, 2, & Closure” – Joe Budden
“But wait, it’s to the point I gotta ask myself, why the fuck is it so easy to detach myself? Maybe it ain’t you, just something I lack myself, but if these wounds are self inflicted I can patch myself.” Classic Joe Budden, with Sade in the background, he does not hide a thing. Joey has to be the most sensitive member of Slaughterhouse, just check his twitter account for the brutally honest love advice he shares practically 24/7.
9. “I Lied” – Nicki Minaj
“Cause what happens if I fall in love, then you cut me loose? You just a heartbreaker, won’t let you break mine.” I was not a fan of Nicki, but once The Pinkprint dropped, that changed. She revealed rooted pain from her life including abortion, family, and insecurities; showing more to Nicki than the female rapper with pink wigs.
10. “Objects in the Mirror” – Mac Miller
“People love you when they on your mind, a thought is love’s currency.” Some speculate Mac is speaking about his relationship with drugs, most specifically, lean. Regardless, we feel every ounce of pain within the fucked up relationships we feel most chained to.
11. “IFHY” – Tyler, The Creator
“I never would’ve thought that feelings could get thrown in the air cause I accidently caught that. I need some new boxing gloves, shit got hectic whenever I fought back.” Heartbreak is a myriad of stages. IFHY, is the stage better known as, “Fuck, feelings? Crap, this blows” – I feel you Tyler.
12. “Sorry” – T.I. ft. Andre 3000
“Too much pressure, I peel off, I’m sorry; Was young and had to choose between you and what the rest of the world might offer me, shit what would you do?” Mannn, this track? A special thanks to Andre 3000 for including every piece of heartbreak life has to offers us.
13. “Babylon” – SZA ft. Kendrick Lamar
“I’m sure I’ll be the death of me – And I can’t recall the last time I took love from anyone. I called daddy, who’s got one anyway? Not me” Coupled with SZA’s hypnotizing vocals and Kendrick’s dark but honest verse, this TDE collaboration is all types of pain jammed into one. If you need lonely emptiness, with eerie background samples, this is exactly what you’ll get.
14. “The Worst” – Jhené Aiko
“I don’t need you – but I want you. I don’t mean to – but I love you.” Gotta thank my girl Jhené for this one, because some people are the absolute worst. However what makes our heart break even worse is how much deep down, we still love and miss them.
15. “Teenage Love” – Slick Rick
“For the feelings were the same, now here’s the score. You love him too much, and they don’t love you anymore.” Let’s take it back to Slick Rick the ruler because maybe if our generation had more of these type of tracks when we were younger, things would be different.
16. “I Want You Back Lady Lady” – BJ The Chicago Kid
“But, I want you back, I want you back, I want you back, baby we can have one last laugh.” BJ is a true musician because he does it all. From his debut album, Pineapple Now-Laters, he never fails to incorporate the perfect amount of soul, tenacity, and production into every track, just ask everyone he has worked with.
17. “Leaving You” – Fabolous
“Never saw it coming, what a cheap shot. Your strongest enemies the one who know ya weak spot.” I’m sure relationships can end on a good note, but a majority of break ups will leave you feeling bitter as hell. As Fabolous flaunts on the first installment of The Soul Tape, despite how badly people hurt us, we’ll still debate opening that casket again once more.
18. “Song Cry” – Jay-Z
“Shit I’m a man with pride, you don’t do shit like that. You don’t just pick up and leave and leave me sick like that. ” The perfect song for those of us who have never been too good at crying. Despite Hov admitting to all his mistakes, he still is left in shock that a female would actually get up and leave him.
19. “Heartbeat” – Childish Gambino
“Ayo, fuck this. Are we dating? Are we fucking? Are we best friends? Are we something? In between that?” Just in case you needed some visuals, the music video depicts everything about not having the only person you truly want. With Childish Gambino walking us through it, we know ain’t no one else we’d rather drive around, eating Cheetos with than that special someone.
20. “Sellin’ Dreams” – Big Sean ft. Chris Brown
“What was no strings attached got tangled when fun stopped being fun, and feelings tried to finagle in. We had that independent love, you tried to bring a label in.” Detroit is one of my favorite mixtapes, filled with story after story. This track keeps right in theme of the tape, with Chris Brown added in for the extra R&B type of heartache.
21. “Autumn Leaves” – Chris Brown ft. Kendrick Lamar
“Before I sleep I talk to God, he must be mad with me, it’s coming; I’m confused who I’ll spend my forever with.” Chris Brown released this song for those of us still holding on. With a flow and tempo drawing in slowly like the ocean we watch, Kendrick Lamar’s verse shakes us up while simultaneously helping us regain our strength.
22. “Losing My Balance” – J. Cole
“Hoping this will reach you when you understand, that your value ain’t determined by another man. Cause right now you let them brothers get the upper hand.” Easily one of Cole’s most overlooked tracks, the quintessential story teller that he is, Cole delivers so many types of heartache on one track. With the media’s impact on our self-esteem, surviving everyday in the hood, or even, first love – the heart is bound to be broken.
23. “Heartless” – Kanye West
“You bringing out a side of me that I don’t know. I decided we weren’t gonna speak, so why we up 3 AM on the phone?” It’s all in the name. Kanye lets em know how truly heartless people can be – in addition to the superficial, unappreciative, or better yet, those people who are forever hot and cold.
24. “Undying Love” – Nas
“I ain’t know whether to cry or just, try to laugh it off.” From, I Am …, Nas shares the most detailed account of being cheated on and automatically losing it, leaving listeners feeling nothing less than haunted.
25. “Opposites Attract” – Kendrick Lamar ft. Javonte
“And so he said, why you gotta be so kind hearted? Why you couldn’t be a con artist? Why you couldn’t? Why you couldn’t be mischievous or just a lil devious the moment that we first started?” Before good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick first began to blow up after the release of Overly Dedicated. This track weighs heavy on the heart with a chilling outro of Lamont Carey’s poem, “She Says She Loves Me.” Click here to listen to the poem in full.
You can find the entire playlist here!