Top Hip-Hop Songs Honoring Moms

Donda West, mother of outspoken hip-hop auteur Kanye West, passed away over the weekend from complications during cosmetic surgery. With big-name MCs like Jay-Z offering up condolences we figured today would be a good day to honor the greatest dedications to mothers in hip-hop.

Kanye West – “Hey Mama” (Late Registration)

In lieu of recent events Kanye’s “Hey Mama” has taken on a more important role: what was once a jubilant track dedicated to his mom raising him is now a heartfelt, last-goodbye on record. Over world-music inspired beatwork and gospel claps ‘Ye sounds far different than the heartless, egocentric MCs most associate him with. Humility goes a long way, and I’m sure he will revisit this subject with even more honesty in the near future.

Nas – “Dance” (God’s Son)

Using his God’s Son-given skills, Nasty Nas turns in an intensely personal track with “Dance,” a lovely, poetic expression about coping with the loss of his mother, wanting nothing more than to dance with her one more time. On paper the idea sounds a bit hokey, but Nas has enough determination and raw honesty to spin his troubles into gold. A future classic.

Canibus – “I Honor U” (Can-I-Bus)

While Canibus’ debut album was a universal disappointment – he wasted all of his ambition on posse cuts months earlier – “I Honor U” is the most essential track from his first outing. The lighter, acoustic touch in the production enables the katana-tongued rapper to wax lyrical about almost dying in the womb (the same story can be heard on a song by Bis’ favorite rapper, who died on March 9) while still maintaining his calculated, almost scientific use of metaphor and phrasing.

Brand Nubian – “Momma” (Fire in the Hole)

East coast pioneers Brand Nubian have been recording positive rap since the days of 40 ounces and gin n’ juice; their last album in 2004 found them working the same method, not seceding to trends and commenting on important issues. “Momma” rides out on an unmistakable Al Green sample that would be blasphemous if it was used for any instance outside the subject of family. Their older, wiser lyrics leave the snot-nosed rappers of today looking mighty embarrassing by comparison.

Respect your elders.

2Pac – “Dear Mama” (Me Against the World)

But of course: 2Pac’s ode to his mother is the most well-known on this list, and with good reason. At the top of his game 2Pac truthfully spoke out on his relationship with his mama, going so far as to bring up her drug addiction. Even though their tumultuous past didn’t lend itself as a picture-perfect tale of mother-son bonding it was far more sincere than every Top 40 hit at the time. Compelling in every sense of the word.

Ghostface Killah – “All That I Got Is You” (Ironman)

My personal favorite on the list.

Ghostface Killah’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics sometimes gets him pegged as a avant-rapper obsessed with word salad. While that may be true in some aspects, he’s proved time and time again that he’s more-than-capable of penning a straightforward song that doesn’t rely on an oddball gimmick. “All That I Got Is You” not only sports the best Jackson 5 sample of all time but delivers more “real” lyrics in its one extended verse than entire full-length albums.

Bonus: Mr. T. – “Treat Your Mother Right”

Mr. T. is hardly a rapper according to this gruff, PSA-styled rap, but his conviction on the subject is admirable. I pity the fool who doesn’t listen to his advice…

13 thoughts on “Top Hip-Hop Songs Honoring Moms”

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  2. Denise 'Money Making

    She died big woop. Moms die all the time, why do we care about his mom and not the millions of other moms?

    _denise

  3. Jay-z's mixtape is so crazy!! and i heard that He was said to be found at a millionaire&celebrity dating club "www.meetrich.com" not long before, and he is hot there.Quite a few girls and ladies write to him.OMG!

  4. Dr. Green Thumb

    While its not necessarily a real song I think MILF Weed should be on this list. The song was performed by Snoop Dogg on the show Weeds.

  5. Boring.

    Does anyone really give a sheet about this?

    It is about as relevant as a list of George W. Bushes 10 best bowel movements. Nobody cares.

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  7. all these comments cant be serious? youre basically saying you dont care that these rappers mom's died. thats seriously just fucked up in everyway

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