10) Mr. T – “Treat Your Mother Right”
This cult classic from The A Team star’s motivational video “Be Somebody…or Be Somebody’s Fool” was sadly one of T’s only forays into music. He could have been a talent in the so bad it’s good vein of William Shatner.
9) Snoop Dogg – “I Love My Mamma”
Although a great lyricist, Snoop has never been famous for giving it up for the ladies, in fact quite opposite. But on this heartfelt song he give his mother credit for sticking with him “through all the drama.”
8) Canibus – “I Honor U”
In this memorable cut from his debut album, Canibus actually recreates his journey as a sperm entering his mother’s whom. Trust us, it’s better than it sounds.
7) Saigon – “If (My Mommy)”
Thanks in part to an irresistible sampling of Luther Vandross’ rendition of “If This World Were Mine,” Saigon’s gritty “If…(My Mommy)” is a memorable tribute to the “one woman who no other one ever could be.” The Brooklyn rapper and occasional actor confesses his arguments with his mother as a child gave him the confidence to pursue his dreams.
6) Jay-Z – “Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)”
On the last official track from his legendary 2001 album The Blueprint, Jay-Z details the different mentors he had coming up in the project. Chief among them is his beloved mother, Gloria Carter.
5) Eminem – “Cleaning Out My Closet”
Ok, so this doesn’t exactly qualify as a tribute song. But Eminem’s blistering, savage verbal attack on his mother (“I’m dead to you as can be”) is one of his most memorable tracks.
4) Ghostface Killah – “All I Got Is You”
Using one of his trademark classic soul samples (this time The Jackson 5’s lush “Maybe Tomorrow) Ghostface Killah teams up with Mary J. Blige for this honest and revealing track where he gives his mother props for enduring a life of poverty.
3) Nas – “Dance”
Nas references his late mother throughout 2002’s God’s Son. But in “Dance,” the Queens’ emcee delivers one of his most touching lyrical performances – longing for one last dance with his mother who lost her fight to breast cancer 8 months before the album’s release.
2) Kanye West – “Hey Mama”
West’s sweet homage to his mother Donda West was actually composed back in 2000, but the song took on greater meaning after Ms. West’s sudden death due to cosmetic surgery complications in 2007.
1) Tupac Shakur – “Dear Mama”
One of the legendary late MC’s most poignant and accessible songs was this tribute to his mother Afeni Shakur (pictured). An ex-Black Panther and political activist, Afeni controls the rights to all Shakur’s music.
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Arguably more than in any other musical genre, hip-hop artists love to pay respect to their moms. Since so many rappers come from single parent households, where mothers were the sole source of financial and moral support, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
But in a world where toughness is often valued over sensitivity, it’s refreshing to see rappers give a glimpse of their gentler side. In honor of Mother’s Day weekend, theGrio has compiled its 10 favorite rap songs dedicated to moms.