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The rap world is full of tough guys, or at least dudes who want to be perceived as such. But let’s be honest, there’s one woman who all men have to drop their hard exterior for: their mamas. 2Pac said it best when he rapped: “Ain't a woman alive that could take my mama's place.” And for each of these five artists, their mom is one of the most important people in their lives, if not the most important. Prepare to feel all the feels and then call your mother.
Perhaps the biggest mama's boy of all is Drake. (We're pretty sure the rapper would gladly wear the title). His love and adoration for his mom Sandi Graham knows no bounds. She raised the Toronto native on her own—he's called her the "best single mom"—and her son often references the struggles they endured together when he was growing up. Now, he's just happy to give his mom the life she deserves, rapping in "Look What You've Done": "You get the operation you dreamed of / And I finally send you to Rome / I get to make good on my promise / It all worked out, girl, we shoulda known / 'Cause you deserve it."
Truthfully though, it'd be hard to pinpoint just one dedicated song since lyrics about her are sprinkled all throughout his catalog. Even his Instagram serves as proof of his love: you won't see many (or any) photos with ladies by his side, except for his "one and only." He clearly wasn't lying when he told us, "I only love my bed and my mama, I'm sorry."
In 2005, Kanye West released his sweetest dedication, "Hey Mama," but just two years later, mother Donda tragically passed away from complications after cosmetic surgery procedures. Now it's pretty impossible to listen to the song (or in 'Ye's case, perform it) without getting choked up, especially with lyrics like: "Hey mama, I want to scream so loud for you / 'Cause I'm so proud of you, let me tell you what I'm about to do / I know I act a fool, but I promise you I'm going back to school / I appreciate that you alive for me, I just want you to be proud of me." Since her death, he's keeping her memory alive in many ways, including adorning her face on his 'The Life of Pablo' tour merch and making sure his kids know their grandmother is watching over them.
Before Big Sean was selling out shows, he was performing in front of an audience of one: his mama. “My mom is the first person I rapped for,” he told CBC Radio. And now that he’s successful, he’s brought his mother along on his journey, having her head up his philanthropic efforts as the Executive Director of the Sean Anderson Foundation (his government name). Sean’s commitment to give back to the community certainly stems from his mother, Myra Anderson, a former educator who Sean told Billboard “has a natural instinct for teaching and helping.” So it’s no wonder that he felt compelled to write a song as a tribute to his mom. On his last album, I Decided., he released “Inspire Me” on which he rapped: “My mama's the man of the house / Mama you too good for them men / Even dad, you too good for him / Mama you know you inspire me / You deserve early retirement / You text me, tell me to take my vitamins / When I got a new love, you invite 'em in / When we break up, you don't like 'em then / Loyal, loyal, swear you super loyal.”
Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper’s mom is a big fan of her son and has been by his side since the beginning, so when he had the chance, he went all out on Mother’s Day last year and had her favorite singer, Maxwell, perform a surprise mini-set during Chance’s concert. She was obviously over the moon and Chano couldn’t help but gush on stage about how “special to me” his momma really is. And if that’s not enough to help you feel the love, then consider Chance’s song “Hey Ma,” on which he rapped about something all us children can relate to: “I know I never did behave a lot / Never got good grades a lot / And turned your hairs to grays a lot / And go in stores and take a lot / And never shopped but saved a lot / So you ain't gotta shop at Save A Lot.” To tug even harder at your heart strings, the track's music video, naturally, features too damn many cute pics of baby Chance.
Jay-Z, Gloria Carter
One sign of a maturing relationship with our parents is when they are able to confide in us, and when we can show up for them in a way that’s absent of the selfishness accustomed to children. This interaction recently happened with JAY-Z and his mom when the rapper’s mother told him for the first time that she loved her partner, thus confirming what Jay knew, that his mom is gay. The interaction moved him to tears. “I cried cause I was so happy for her, that she was free,” he told David Letterman. Following his conversation with her, he recorded “Smile,” on which he acknowledged his mom’s painful past, but praised her for stepping into her truth: “Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian / Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate / Society shame and the pain was too much to take / Cried tears of joy when you fell in love / Don't matter to me if it's a him or her / I just wanna see you smile through all the hate.”