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-- By Dontaira Terrell
It's no secret that moms are the real MVPs! Aside from the occasional TV or radio shoutouts, paying homage to your biggest supporter and the backbone of the family is a classic hip hop move. From Tupac, Kanye West, JAY-Z, Nas and more; stars have dedicated songs to their mothers because it's the best way to tell them, "Thank you."
Tupac's 1995 classic hit "Dear Mama" perfectly summarized this notion and resonated with the masses because it was authentic. A mother's love is unparalleled and after all, "Ain't a woman alive that could take my mama's place." It's safe to say, despite your age, your mom is going to be there for you no matter what. She's the original ride or die.
Just last year, we saw this firsthand when Meek Mill's mom, Kathy Williams, penned an open letter to Lady Justice that spoke about his controversial incarceration and legal issues. In her letter, she showcased the epitome of unwavering resilience and the determination of a mother on a mission to protect her son from the unlawful justice system.
Mother's Day only comes around once a year. But, honoring your mom or the person you consider a mother figure shouldn't be limited to this commemorative holiday. Every day is a celebration when it comes to the matriarch! So, to celebrate Mother's Day the right way, we've put together a list of nine "mom tracks" (in no particular order) that express the appreciation and admiration for the leading women in our lives.
Nas - "Dance" (2002)
Nas' mother passed away eight months before the release of his sixth studio album, God's Son. An ode to his late mother, "Dance" is one of the closing tracks on the album and features Nas' father playing the cornet in a tribute to his former spouse. Throughout the song, the Queens native raps about the pain of losing his mother and reminisces on the relationship they shared. Trying to come to terms with her passing, Nas raps, "You resting in peace, forever, I accepted you free/ A blessing to me, I see you dressed in all white/ Smilin' at me, happy, knowin' everything's alright."
E-40 - "I Love My Momma" featuring R.O.D. & Mic Conn (2011)
The Bay area rapper is letting everyone know that he loves his momma on this track! E-40 paints a vivid picture of his childhood that includes baseball games, holidays, his mom throwin' down in the kitchen and the many sacrifices she made for the family. It is the perfect anthem to give your mom all the praise she deserves. In the intro, E-40 states, "She's a superhero" and we couldn't agree more. Moms make it happen and get shit done. Periodt.
Rick Ross - "Smile Mama, Smile" (2015)
While in jail, Rick Ross wrote this emotional tune in dedication to his mother. In a previous interview with Billboard, as he reflected on the importance of family, the Miami native said, "Being incarcerated, you have time to sit down and realize what means the most to you." With Cee-Lo Green lending his vocals to this project, it added a dose of soulfulness and helped Ross create a personal portrait of his innermost thoughts about his momma.
Tupac - "Dear Mama" (1995)
One of the most popular '90s songs tributing a mother is still in heavy rotation today. It spent several weeks on the Billboard charts and was the lead single for Tupac's third studio album, Me Against the World. For those wanting to share their genuine appreciation for their mother, it is a classic song that highlights the good and bad times in a family. The lyrics speak to the hearts of many and the vulnerability takes you on an emotional journey. The culture has embraced this tune as the go-to anthem for honoring mothers around the world.
Kanye West - "Only One" (2014)
In a musical collaboration with Paul McCartney, Kanye West sings in autotune, "You know I never left you/ Cause every road that leads to heaven is right inside of you." Recalling the creative process of this project, West said the song is from the perspective of his late mother, Dr. Donda West, as she watches over him from heaven. A press release that was issued for the song stated that the rapper did not come up with the lyrics on his own. In fact, West said that they were words from his late mother and grandmother that he channeled into his work of art.
Beanie Sigel featuring Scarface - "Mom Praying" (2001)
This appreciation tune is full of emotional tales, as both mom and grandma receive their props from Beanie Siegel and Scarface. The hip hop heavyweights joined forces on this multi-generational ode to uplift the most important women in their lives. Producer Just Blaze's infectious beat samples the 1960s' R&B group The Dramatics' "It Ain't Rainin' (On Nobody's House but Mine)."
Snoop Dogg - "I Love My Momma" (1999)
This touching groove is the perfect way to warm the heart of any loving mother. It is the closing track off of Snoop's fourth studio album, No Limit Top Dogg, and his second release as an artist on No Limit Records. The Long Beach native only offered a single verse, while the rest of the track is comprised of featured vocals by an R&B crooner. "I Love My Momma" reflects on Snoop's past with his mom and fully captures the dynamics of their relationship: an unbreakable bond between a mother and son that I'm sure many can relate to.
JAY-Z - "December 4" (2003)
The Black Album was a critically acclaimed release that was supposed to mark JAY-Z's retirement from the rap game. His mother, Gloria Carter, made a special appearance on the "December 4" track as she recounted the hip hop mogul's life trajectory from birth to present. The heartfelt story provides a refreshingly honest look at the woman who raised Shawn Corey Carter, the man behind the bright lights, fame and moniker of JAY-Z.
Ghostface Killah featuring Mary J. Blige - "All That I Got Is You" (1996)
Taking it back to the early days of his childhood, Ghostface creates a vivid image of growing up in poverty. He speaks about the strength both his mother and grandmother embodied. Despite the circumstances that stemmed from having these two women at the forefront of his life, he passionately considers his upbringing "the good ole' days." Looking back, these tough situations served as a source of motivation and provides fond memories of a mother's sacrifice for her family's survival.
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