Top 25 Personified Concept Songs


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)


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)


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

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


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

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


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

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


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)


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)


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)


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

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


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

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


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)


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)


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)


Online porn has never sounded funnier…or yummier?

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


Ye’s love song for Chicago.

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Pap goes undercover as the hip-hop police.

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


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)


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)


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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