Dear Mama: A Mother's Day Hip-Hop Playlist
Insane Clown Posse
"The Mom Song," 2001
A mother's love is unconditional, even if her child grows up to be a politician, a cowboy, or a wicked clown. Insane Clown Posse member Violent J has made no secret of how thankful he was for having such a supportive parent, and on the group's 2001 rarities collection Forgotten Freshness Vol. 3 put his feelings on record with the inventively titled "The Mom Song." Joined by frequent associate The Rude Boy on the hook, J takes a break from the Dark Carnival's Juggalo mythology to remember every thing from his mother setting up chairs at his early backyard shows to his regrets about "the china cabinet." If there's a chance your mother would enjoy any ICP song, this would be it.
"Hey Mama" (Demo Version), 2003
Most remember Kanye West's sophomore album Late Registration for its lavish soundscapes and sweeping production. As enjoyable as the beats on it are, there's something really special and much more earnest about the demo version of "Hey Mama." Recorded prior to the release of his first album (in the "Isn't it pronounced 'Kain?'" days) you can hear that West didn't have much else in his life other than the love of his mother, but that was more than enough for him. RIP Mama West.
"Whip You With a Strap," 2006
On the late J. Dilla's masterpiece Donuts, his track "One For Ghost," re-contextualized and repeated a sample of Luther Ingram's opening line from "To the Other Man" which resonated with listeners and called to mind memories of their mother's guidance. One such listener, Ghostface Killah, used the beat that same year for his song "Whip You With a Strap," a shining example of his effective storytelling that recalled instances of his mother's punishments that helped shaped him into the person he became.
"Take Me in My Sleep," 2007
Kansas City rapper (they exist) Mac Lethal's offered a few unique perspectives on the mother-son dynamic in his decade-plus career. While one of his first signature songs was the outrageous fictional "My Mom Izza Thug," his later work explored both the joys of making his mother proud as well as the pain of eventually losing her. His 2007 track "Take Me in My Sleep" recalled the moments of taking care of her when she was sick and the bravery required by both individuals in such an ordeal. As touching as it is contemplative, it's a brave look at searching for comfort in one of life's toughest situations.