Of the many descriptors assigned to hip-hop, “thoughtful and melancholy” isn’t usually one of them. But like any other music style, fans of rap and its adjacent genres have hearts that sometimes get broken.
Luckily there are a plethora of recent songs to soothe the pain of a lost love. Enter Chance the Rapper’s “Same Drugs” with the sorrowful refrain we don’t do the same drugs no more as a metaphor for two people growing apart. Another Chance-inspired broken heart masterpiece is Skrillex’s remix of Hundred Waters’ “Show Me Love,” featuring Moses Sumney (and Chance the Rapper) with a chorus that is a pain-filled plea:
Don’t let me show cruelty/
Though I may make mistakes/
Show me love/
Show me love/
Show me love
Rihanna’s recent “Close to You” from album Anti is slow and heartbreaking, with simple music backing up her sad vocals about not being able to be with the person she loves–not through any accident of space or time, but simply because they won’t let her.
Of course, no list like this would be complete without Beyonce’s Lemonade, where she layers her music with poetry about troubled love though a collaboration with decorated poet Warsan Shire. Shire’s poetry is as broken-hearted and hip-hop-essence as it gets, as evidenced by one of her more well-known pieces, “For Women Who are Difficult to Love.”
you can’t make homes out of human beings.
someone should have
already told you that.
and if he wants to leave,
then let him leave.
This line brings me back to the song that is maybe the most powerful medicine for a hurting heart that hip-hop has ever made, Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up.” A love letter to black women, this classic is a reminder of the close lyrical and emotional connection that hip-hop shares with poetry, and finally, a reminder that even when you’re at your lowest, you’re never completely alone.