The theme of fatherhood has always been a fixture in rap music. Whether it’s the hottest emcees spitting rhymes about their fathers, their own experiences having children, or even imagining the possibilities of having kids, the subject invokes a spiral of emotions. These records find artists at their most vulnerable and intimate, allowing them to share more about their lives, use their experiences to give advice to listeners and to share the emotional highs and lows associated with such relationships and memories.
For instance, Jay-Z has been vocal in his records about not only his love for his three children, but his challenges in fatherhood and his own strained relationship with his late father. For the first decade-plus of his career, he dissed his dad on wax every chance he got. On “Hova Song” from his 1999 album Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, he shares that his dad wasn’t present in his life and no love was lost there. “Retrospect, ain’t been the same since I lost my dad/He still alive, but still f*** you don’t cross my path.” But he also used his music to chronicle how they mended their relationship before his father’s death, and how their journey made him doubt his own ability to raise a child.
Much like Jay Z, other rappers such as Nas, Eminem and others have shared their stories about their fathers, both positive and negative. But their music captures it all. So, for this Father’s Day it’s only right to highlight 10 verses about fatherhood from some of hip-hop’s greatest.
Nas – “Daughters”
“I finally understand/It ain’t easy to raise a girl as a single man/Nah, the way mothers feel for they sons/How fathers feel for they daughters/When he date, he straight, chip off his own papa/When she date, we wait behind the door with a sawed-off/‘Cause we think no one is good enough for our daughters/Love.”
Jay-Z – “Glory”
“Life is a gift, love, open it up/You’re a child of destiny/You’re the child of my destiny/You’re my child with the child from Destiny’s Child.”
Slick Rick – “It’s a Boy”
“So it ain’t forgotten, hope I don’t spoil the nigga rotten/Also, don’t discriminate white, he’ll be quite bright, if taught him right/If not he like ask heavenly father, help me raise my shorty right.
Eminem – “Hailie’s Song”
“My baby girl keeps gettin’ older/I watch her grow up with pride/People make jokes ‘cause they don’t understand me/They just don’t see my real side/I act like shit don’t faze me, inside it drives me crazy/My insecurities could eat me alive/But then I see my baby, suddenly I’m not crazy/It all makes sense when I look into her eyes, oh no.”
2Pac – “Letter 2 My Unborn”
“Please take care of all my kids and my unborn child/To my unborn child…/This letter goes out to my seeds/That I might not get to see ‘cause of this lifestyle/Just know your daddy loved you/Got nothin’ but love for you/And all I wanted was for you to have a better life than I had.”
J. Cole – “She’s Mine Pt. 2”
“Reminisce when you came out the womb/Tears of joy I think filled up the room/You are now the reason that I fight/I ain’t never did nothing this right in my whole lifeGot me thinking…”
Ja Rule – “Daddy’s Little Baby”
“Degrade yourself never, ’cause I’m teaching you better/Life ain’t all about cheddar, diamonds, and leather.”
The Game – “Like Father Like Son”
“They say every time somebody die, a child is born/So I thank the nigga who gave his life for the birth of my son.”
Meek Mill – “Save Me”
“I just pray Papi forgive me, ain’t seen my son a while (I pray) I go and pick him up from school to see him fucking smile (facts).”
6Lack – “Never Know”
“I got a baby on the way, I think about it every day/They think that paper gon’ change me, I do this shit for my baby.”