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Sad Rap: Hip-Hop Laments For Valentine's Day

Hip-hop heavyweights might not always show their softer side, but when their hearts get broken, they're not often shy about airing their woes. As LL Cool J revealed in the sensitive classic "I Need Love," there's a tender heart beneath the surface of even the brashest rapper. Here are five tearjerkers from a group of normally stoic tough guys.

Advisory: Explicit language and subject matter not suitable for all ages.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Looking at the Front Door

Perhaps the definitive rap breakup song, "Front Door" finds Main Source frontman Large Professor at the tail end of a crumbling and dysfunctional relationship. Feeling "like a burnt piece of bacon," the legendary Queens rapper/producer airs out his lady friend for her elitism and argumentative stances. Mostly, though, he just sounds heartbroken.

Something You Forgot

Hip-hop's resident alien comes down to earth to lament a lost love on this lesser-known mixtape cut. Over a sped-up loop of Heart's '80s hit "What About Love," Wayne pours his own heart out, trying to convince his estranged lover to remember the good old days.

Never Be the Same Again

Perhaps the most emotive member of The Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah is no stranger to relationship drama. Here, he nearly comes to tears over his cheating lover. Backed by crooner Carl Thomas, "Never Be the Same Again" is notably somber, though Ghostface Killah doesn't fully compromise his bizarre sense of humor -- reminiscing on "those days [that] had you smellin' my boxers."

I Hate U B---- [explicit]

Despite its less-than-respectful chorus, Houston's underground king Z-Ro actually penned a heartfelt and realist breakup anthem with "I Hate U B----." In a sing-song flow, Ro walks the line between resentment and remorse, but even in the face of betrayal, he remains nostalgic. His significant other may have turned the police on him and taken the kids, but he's still thinking about their pillow fights. Note: This song contains explicit language.

Ex Girl to Next Girl

Unlike many rap breakup victims, Gang Starr's Guru positions himself as the dumper rather than the dumpee. As such, he sees this breakup as more of an opportunity -- a blank slate for both parties -- and leaves her with "much respect." Well, sort of: He also paints her as some sort of money grubbing groupie. C'est la vie.

Andrew Noz