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Top 25 Personified Concept Songs

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In 1994, Common’s ode to hip-hop “I Used to Love H.E.R.” sparked so many emotions, even a pre-family-friendly Ice Cube caught feelings. Common yearned for the innocent days of hip-hop rather than the dissipated commercial genre it had become. Yet, “H.E.R.” didn’t only become the preeminent love letter to hip-hop; it was a stellar display at hip-hop at its finest—concept songs. It spawned a litany of concept songs dedicated to hip-hop, guns, drugs, and, yes even, online porno (thanks MF Doom). XXLMag.com presents the Top 25 Personified Concept Songs. Take a look and a listen and tell us if your favorite song made the cut. —Jesús Triviño Alarcón

25. Styles P "Nobody Believes Me," A Gangster and a Gentleman (2002)

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It’s five-way conversation between Styles, his knife, his gun, his weed, and his money. Someone needs to lay off the pipe.

24. NaS "Money Is My Bitch," I Am… (1999)

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Nasir marries his money stacks. No wonder Kelis left him.

23. Pharoahe Monch "When the Gun Draw," Desire (2007)

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Monch reprises his "Stray Bullet" concept with an updated twist.

22. NaS "Project Roach," Untitled (2008)

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NaS compares insects to “niggas.” Are both pests? Discuss amongst yourselves.

21. 50 Cent "Baltimore Love Thing," The Massacre (2005)

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This is perhaps Fiddy’s most creative song: a story of addiction and heroin.

20. Jay-Z "Girl’s Best Friend," Blue Streak Soundtrack (1999)

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Who can make a pop hit about diamonds? Only Jigga.

19. Wale & 9th Wonder feat. J. Cole & Curren$y "Rather Be With You (Vagina Is for Lovers)," Back to the Feature (2009)

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Wale and company give a new meaning to suckers for love.

18. Sticky Fingaz feat. Raekwon "Money Talks," Blacktrash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones (2001)

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Onyx's standout traces currency's trajectory through crime, wars and business.

17. NaS feat. Busta Rhymes "Fried Chicken,” Untitled (2008)

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High cholesterol. Heart disease. Obesity. Thank you, fried chicken.

16. Eminem “25 to Life,” Recovery (2010)

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Em writes a Dear John letter to his most embattled mistress — hip-hop.

15. The Roots f/ Common “Act Too…The Love of My Life,” Things Fall Apart (1999)

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Essentially, “I Used to Love H.E.R.” Part II.

14. MF Doom "My Favorite Ladies," High Times Presents The Hip-Hop Collection Vo1. 1 (2005)

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Doom references every drug (marijuana, alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine, crystal meth) he possibly can in less than three minutes.

13. MF Doom “Kookies,” Mm…Food (2004)

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Online porn has never sounded funnier…or yummier?

12. Kanye West "Homecoming," Graduation (2007)

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Ye’s love song for Chicago.

11. Ghostface f/ Raekwon, Slick Rick and The RZA “The Sun,” Bulletproof Wallets (2001)

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Ghost, Rae, RZA and MC Ricky D enjoy a day in the Sun.

10. Masta Ace feat. Jean Grae "Hold U," Disposable Arts (2001)

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Ace spits about his tumultuous relationship with his microphone (Jean Grae).

9. Pharoahe Monch "Rape," Internal Affairs (1999)

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Monch rapes rap and rides the beat like a porn star. No Vaseline.

8. Papoose "Sharades," Sharades Mixtape (2005)

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Pap goes undercover as the hip-hop police.

6. KRS-One “I Can’t Wake Up,” Return of the Boom Bap (1993)

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KRS is a fat blunt being passed around by De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Redman, Bill Clinton, among others.

5. Mobb Deep f/ Q-Tip "Drink Away the Pain (Situations)," Infamous (1995)

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Hav and P devote their bars to spirits while Tip pulls a bank job with designer clothing labels.

Jeru The Damaja "You Can't Stop the Prophet," The Sun Rises in the East (1994)

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Jeru battles the inner city’s main antagonist — Ignorance.

4. 2Pac "Me and My Girlfriend," Makaveli—Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (1996)

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Pac’s obsessed with his gun. How do you “finger fuck” a gun?

3. Organized Konfusion "Stray Bullet," Stress: Extinction Agenda (1994)

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A stray bullet is one of the coldest killers in the inner city.

2. NaS "I Gave You Power," It Was Written (1996)

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The master lyricist describes the bloody trail left by a gun.

1. Common Sense "I Used to Love H.E.R.," Resurrection (1994)

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The Chi-town legend serenades his long lost love — hip-hop.