Despite the stereotypes of the genre, the five best rap break up songs are only a little bit misogynist, and a whole lot sad. From greats to well kept secrets, the lyricists and producers behind these songs have given hip hops heads comfort in tough times.
- “F**k You” – Cee Lo. One of the five best rap break up songs, Cee Lo’s gospel inflected Hotlanta Motown boogie “F**k You” is so damn catchy it’s dangerous. Listen to it once and you’ll find yourself walking down the street inadvertently bleating out its infectious chorus, which is riddled with the titular phrase. Despite its seemingly nasty sentiment, “F**k You” is a joyous and ridiculous song that celebrates the tradition of great break up songs as much as it laments lost love.
- “Dry Your Eyes” – The Streets. Plaintive British indie rapper Mike Skinner, more commonly known as The Streets, went big on his second record. Rather than rehashing the revolutionary bedroom sound collage of his first record, he created a proudly pop-oriented album with an anti-pop premise: played in its proper sequence, the record tells the story of 1000 British pounds that’s gone missing, and residual effects of this. The dissolution of the narrator’s relationship is documented throughout the record, though never more profoundly or succinctly as it is on “Dry Your Eyes,” one of the top five rap break up songs.
- “You Had Me You Lost Me” – Eve. Leave it to Eve to bring a woman’s perspective to a game dominated by men. With the vitriol that only a woman scorned could bring to the table, Eve neither laments nor regrets the break up detailed in “You Had Me You Lost Me,” and it’s no wonder why. The cheating, lying, conniving man Eve takes to task does things like take numbers from her phone for booty calls and play emotionally manipulative games. Eve doesn’t just go off, she plays amateur psychologist, suggesting various causes of her former beau’s deep-seated emotional insecurities.
- “Song Cry” – Jay-Z. Jigga’s contribution the five best rap break up songs of all time has some pretty cheesy stuff going on—"I know you love me like cooked food…” um, ok. Is she a woman or a bear?—but the brilliant coda of “I can’t see ‘em comin’ down my eyes/so I gotta make this song cry” is as good as it gets in the world of rap break up tracks. The whimsical, old-timey beat and aching background vocals enhance the sense of sad nostalgia for simpler times, and the song's overall power.
“Never Be the Same Again” – Ghostface Killah. What’s a hip hop list without at least one track from camp Wu Tang? If it weren’t for Ghostface’s conflicted delivery and the slivers of insecurity shining behind the misogynistic façade of the track, “Never Be the Same Again” would be just another wrote rap track. But it’s the little things that make the great ones stand out, and “Never Be the Same Again” has enough of them to make it one of the five best rap break up songs.
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