Let’s give it up for moms! Their endearing love and support is something that should be celebrated 365 days a year, not just on Sunday. No music genre shows more love to the women who made us than hip-hop. Through every era, from Tupac to Migos, rap artists haven’t hesitated to give credit where it’s due. These mama’s boys often share the common thread of being raised by their mother or grandmother exclusively. Like many of us, they see their moms as the driving force of their ascension. They also see their success and the money that comes with it as a way to pay back their matriarchs for years of faithful sacrifice. Here are some of the best tracks dedicated to the special ladies in our lives.
Only One/Kanye West
Kanye collaborated with legendary Beetles frontman Paul McCartney for this celestial sounding track. West’s relationship with his mother was strong, and losing her in 2007 impacted him greatly. Anyone who’s lost their mom can find solace in the lyrics, knowing your biggest cheerleader is still looking out for you. He flips the script a few times in this song by speaking from the perspective of his mother in heaven talking to her only child, giving him words of encouragement and taking pride in the family he’s built.
Best Line: “Remember who you are / No, you’re not perfect but you’re not your mistakes.”
Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)/Jay-Z
HOV has always shown affection to his mom through music. This classic details his life story and how “Momma loved me” through it all. She also helped him push through the angst he felt toward his absent dad. The sample of Al Green’s "Free At Last" speaks volumes; Jay-Z credits his mother for his freedom. What a powerful sentiment.
Best line: “Marcy raised me, and whether right or wrong/ Streets gave me all I write in this song.”
Big Mama (Unconditional Love)/LL Cool J
LL Cool J dedicates this song to “my grandmother and your grandmother” as he reminisces about the unconditional love of his ‘Big Mama,’ and her salmon and grits. Dru Hill’s silky sweet vocals and the soft backing chords conjure warm memories and remind us that every Black man is built by generations of Black women.
Best Line: “Big Mama, my blood is your blood/ When the whole world is against me I know I got your love.”
Hey Mama/Kanye West
‘Hey Mama’ is a standout song from Kanye West’s critically acclaimed “Late Registration.” It plays like a victory chant with its use of synths and light percussion. West cheerfully sings, “I want to scream so loud for you. ‘Cause I’m so proud of you” to his mother, the late Donda West. It’s a light, cute and loving piece of Kanye’s discography that you can’t help but smile to.
Best Line: “Forrest Gump mama said life is like a box of chocolates / My mama told me go to school get your doctorate / Something to fall back on, you could profit with / But still supported me when I did the opposite”
Hey Ma/Chance The Rapper
Chance gives props to not just his own mom, but every woman that stepped in to help raise him, like “auntie Toni” and “Ms. Moody.” The joyful track ends with the Chicago rapper running through a list of people he wants to thank. It’s all about gratitude to the village that built him up, and he wants them to share in his wins.
Best Line: “I want to thank anyone who’s been a mother to a motherless child.”
I Love My Momma/Snoop Dogg
In case there was any confusion, there’s no limit to Snoop’s love for his mom. He spends the majority of the song repeating the phrase “I love my momma” before giving a few brief bars for emphasis. If this isn’t the ultimate mama’s boy rap song, I don’t know what is.
Best Line: “My momma was my homey, my daddy, and my best friend.”
Look What You’ve Done/Drake
Not every mother-son relationship is roses and rainbows. There are fights, arguments and disagreements over life choices, especially in a single parent home. Real talk, sometimes you just get on each other’s nerves. Drake speaks to some of that tension in his teen years with "Look What You’ve Done." In the end, he proclaims “I got you.” Like many of us as we get older, he’s gained a greater respect and appreciation for what his mom has done.
Best Line: “You love me, and I love you/ And your heart hurts, mine does too / and it’s just words and they cut deep but it’s our world, it’s just us two.”
Guess Who/Goodie Mob
Goodie Mobb dives into the complicated mother-son dynamics of their upbringing and how it set them up for today. Each tells a different story, but all are in agreement “there will never be another that will love me like my mother.”
Best Line: “Thank you for caring, thank you for sharing your love/ I guess that was your way of preparing/ your son to be the one and not the two / to make you and my daddy’s dreams come true.”
Dear Mama/Tupac Shakur
This is probably the first song that comes to mind when you think about classic hip hop mom ballads. In ‘Dear Mama,’ Pac gives a touching tribute to his late mother Afeni Shakur, detailing her experiences raising children in poverty and dealing with drug addiction. He ends every verse by stating “you are appreciated” before the chorus,
Best Line: “For a woman it ain’t easy tryin’ to raise a man.”