Our carefully curated Valentine’s Day Playlist Soft Spot contains our 14 favorite earnestly romantic hip-hop songs for you to enjoy this Valentine’s Day.
Music about love is often boxed in as sappy, cliche-ridden, and unrealistic. It idolizes romantic relationships or significant others as flawless. When in reality, the truth about love is that it often takes painful sacrifice, overcoming adversity, or embracing flaws. And sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.
That’s why hip-hop is such a beautiful art form. In our newest playlist, Soft Spot, we did our best to embrace this multifaceted emotion called love. Portray it in a way that is realistic, bittersweet, and varied.
Love is meaningless without specifics. So, we’ll take the time to highlight some of our favorite tracks on the playlist to answer the why.
6LACK’s haunting hook and gorgeous vibes on Pretty Little Fears provide the blueprint for a track that intertwines the idea of our insecurities comingled with love. On that platform, J. Cole spits one of the most compelling, romantic verses in the history of hip-hop. Cole focuses on the fact that despite his insecurities, everything his girl does makes his life better. Not just in the present, but in the future.
“Download your strain, wild high, come drown in your fragrance./You that red pill that a nigga found in Matrix./Before I had you this shit was fantasy./You plant a seed, it grows some roots, a branch, and leaves/becomes a tree of life until our nights are filled/with peace from stress and strife./And that’s the blessin’ that I get from wifing you.”
Pretty Little Fears is also paired with a must-watch music video:
Track 6 on 2020 album Everything sees Kota the Friend discussing simplifying things with a loved one. Escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and finding a quiet place to revel in each other’s company. It’s a song that’s appreciative of the small things, of those special snapshots that endure in our memory, even once a relationship has ended.
“Pull up, park, Polaroid, pic on the side of the road./Wake up, we outta the door, even our silence is gold./Lovin’ you slow, get it for free if you should run, run into me./I want to know, everything pertaining to you, give me the truth. I want the old, I want the new, I want the jokes that’s funny to you.”
Sometimes the most important/most challenging part of a relationship is confessing. Admitting when we make mistakes, when we are unfaithful, or when we are guilty. While in most circles, JID is known for his breakneck flow, and uptempo tracks, his sensitivity, vulnerability, and delicate nature shine through on All Bad. Mereba’s luscious vocals make this song feel like a confession between lovers. The song makes clear that even when it’s the hardest thing to tell, the truth is the most important thing that holds together relationships of all kinds.
“I don’t want the sun in my face, but I don’t want to walk away/without me saying what I have to say./And I been praying it’s another way/but it’s like mayhem on my fucking brain./I gotta say, I’m finna go insane, shame, shame/and I don’t know what I can do.”
As our fame or personal success grows, it becomes harder to maintain the relationships that are truly important. Joey touches on this point with tenderness and confidence, using a gorgeous sample via Statik Selektah/Men I Trust to drive home that point. As Joey’s personal triumphs grow, he laments the challenges of maintaining love with a partner who is truly deserving of his attention. The true definition of a soft spot.
“We could talk until the sun up, I see you trying/to say what’s on your mind, I promise to be fine./I could see the signs, be honest, I ain’t blind./The truth is we all got our own desires, our own dreams./It’s a big world, gotta try new things.”