XXL has created a list of “20 Hip Hop Songs About Specific Relationships.”
The publication explains that “Hip Hop has plenty of love songs written for specific significant others” and that “many top hits in Hip Hop have an underlying reason as to why they happen to connect with listeners so well—fans can identify with both sides.” As a result, the publication’s list includes several tracks, including Nas‘ “Getting Married” and “Bye Baby.” Both songs were written about Kelis, though one was done before the two were married and one was crafted after the couple went through a divorce.
The publication also highlights OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson.” XXL says Andre 3000’s verse is about Erykah Badu. “Between the trio of Common, Andre 3000 and Jay Electronica, Erykah Badu may be the most sought-after woman Hip Hop has ever seen,” the site says. “Andre hasn’t always been one to put romantic emotions on wax, but this was an anomaly in the catalog, as he brought up his relationship with Badu and his deteriorating one with her mother. It’s one of the greatest and most popular tracks in the OutKast discography, and it’s probably most notable for Big Boi’s verses than Andre’s, but it was Andre’s story that the duo was telling, and it came across like few other songs ever have within Hip Hop.”
Another Badu-inspired track on the list is Common’s “The Light,” according to XXL.
“Common and Erykah Badu dated from 2000 to 2002, and their breakup left the Chicago MC heartbroken,” XXL says. “In a 2011 interview with morning talk show Wendy Williams, Common revealed that Badu broke up with him over the phone. ‘I was in my hotel room on tour and….she called me and was like, “Hey, I don’t wanna be in this relationship no more. I’m liking somebody else.” That was my first love and my first heartbreak.’ Still, he never acknowledged that the song was about Badu specifically—even though she appeared on the remix and in the music video—until 2012, when he admitted she was the inspiration behind it.”
In September 2011, Common spoke about relationship-based tracks.
“I feel like this is the medium to do it,” he said at the time. “When I’m in a relationship, I’m not going to parade that relationship. It’s not for public consumption. It’s my life. But when I’m talking about things that happened in the past, this is perfect for me.
“The stories I’m telling are not only to entertain,” he continued, “but they’re there to inspire and to relate to and to say, ‘Man, this guy is not perfect, this guy been through some of the same things I’ve been through and he just decided to make some choices and is doing well. But he’s still a work in progress.”