Rappers are mama’s boys. Absentee fathers and pickin’-up-the-slack mamas have long played roles in that one song on the album where nobody gets shot or other rappers don’t become a Jeffrey Dahmer-style entrée. No matter how much of a hooligan your favorite MC is, he always turns into a sucker when the topic of mama comes up. Some examples are solid odes to mothers of the world (the obvious “Dear Mama” by Tupac, “Ma Dukes” by O.C., etc.) and some are just an odd juxtaposition of loving ones own mother yet beating another’s mother’s brains out (any song featuring Malachi the Nutcracker of Group Home). But with Mother’s Day approaching, I’ve decided to compile a list of my personal favorite types of mama songs – the ones that have twists.
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10. Willie D - "Play Witcha Mama" (Wrap,1994)
How did a song primarily about artists from the South being discriminated against by an east coast media outlet end up on this list you ask? It’s Willie D and Ice Cube, that’s how. Don’t ask questions; because he’ll tell you who you can go play with. The 12” cover art is a work of genius.
9. Disco Rick - "(Your Mama's On) Crack Rock" (JR, 1991)
A man who can only be fairly described as an x-rated / dumbed down / more entertaining Run from the south, Disco Rick turned everyday subject matter into niche classic ign'ant rap. "Crack Rock" is no different. A game of the dozens plays out on record here, with mama jokes and the number one epidemic of the inner city at the time marrying to create an infectious jam that is probably dumb enough to still be a hit today. Your mama could be fat, ugly or smell like a fish market, but allegations of drug use always ended in a fist fight.
8. Eazy-E - "My Baby’s Mama" (Ruthless, 1995)
Sigh. Now that solid marriages have all but gone the way of the MySpace mood change and “you are NOT the father” test results have become WWE-style afternoon entertainment for so many in search of a train wreck, we forget about the dire state of the nuclear family. Eazy-E was a pioneer in addressing the nefarious baby mama in rap – a character that would rise to prominence as the ‘90s came to a close. The floodgates on rhyming “court” and “child support” opened ocean wide after this one dropped. Eazy was so bold he even told his infant daughter about her triflin’ mother at the start of the song, as the lullabies chimed away in the background. Now that's a ruthless record.
7. The Pharcyde - "Ya Mama" (Delicious Vinyl, 1992)
The dozens and rap are Randolph and Mortimer, Scoob and Scrap, Theo and Cockroach, etc. Mama snap sessions have found skit-worthy spots on albums by everyone from Diamond D, to Tweedy Bird Loc to King Tee. Nonetheless, The Pharcyde was the first and only one to take a whole arsenal of mama jokes and parlay them into an entire song. As the groups debut single, “Ya Mama” flopped and had it not been for “Passin’ Me By,” Bizarre Ride From The Pharcyde may have languished in obscurity. But they get mega points for trying.
I hate sounding like an old man, but do kids even snap on each other’s mothers until someone cries or throws a punch anymore? The week leading up to Mother’s Day was always the time lines were crossed via gift suggestions (ear and nose hair trimmer, a specialized housing project freight elevator in which she could fit comfortably) that were just dead wrong.
6. K-Solo - "Your Mom’s In My Business" (Atlantic, 1989)
Anyone attempting to date outside of race or class boundaries (or even better, both!) runs into this quite often. The generation gap and the prejudices that come with it always ensure that an overzealous mama will do her best to cockblock - unless the boyfriend is coming in there on some Alex P. Keaton shit. I am a staunch advocate of dating outside of all available boundaries and giving the mother a heart attack.
5. Willie D - "I Wanna Fuck Ya Mama" (Wrap, 1994)
On the flip side, what if the mother of the girl you’re looking to get with is actually showing you more rhythm than her daughter is? Been there, done that. MILFs are a rare and beautiful phenomenon, and the only time in life you can attest to getting some Mother’s Day ass and not sound like a complete psycho. Willie D knows this. There’s a certain level of Pam Grier-like moxie only a cougar has – and that’s why MILFs are like Gretsch Round Badge jazz drum kits from the ‘50s: Valuable, rare and classy as fuck with a lot of kick.
4. Audio Two - "Get Your Mother off the Crack" (First Priority, 1990)
Crack was no joke in 1990, but the always arrogant, brash and entertaining Milk Dee walks the line of facetiousness like a ballet dancer. Brilliantly weaving rap lines about how great life is for him when he’s getting laid and paid through an otherwise serious anti-drug tirade directed at the listener and his mother, this is the most puzzling yet wildly entertaining anti-drug / mother record of all time.
3. Pudgee the Phat Bastard - "Mommie Dearest" (Giant, 1993)
Whoa. The MILF acronym implies a desire to stick OTHER people’s mothers, not your own. Apparently Pudgee knew a sick character in the Bronx who found pleasure in returning from whence he came. That’s really all that needs to be said about this one. Oh, and that Pudgee was a New York rapper from the early ‘90s; Ganksta Nip or Big Lurch he was not. That’s a pretty pioneering concept considering those circumstances if you ask me.
2. Thirstin Howl III - "I Still Live With My Moms" (Concrete Productions, 2000)
Yes! I’ve always wanted to put out “I Live With My Grandmoms” as a sequel, but never got around to it. In the conceptually-flatlined world of late ‘90s indie rap - don't let $100 12" prices fool you, most that stuff has aged like an open bottle of seltzer in the sun - Thirstin could always be counted on for having fun and bringing some entertainment to the scene. But with money scarce, good-paying jobs rare and rents on the rise, life has imitated art in 2013 – livin’ with your mother as an adult isn’t all that odd anymore.
1. L.L. Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out" (Def Jam, 1991)
Well, what the fuck else would be #1? Never has a song not about mothers represented the power of mothers so fiercely. Arguably LL Cool J’s best album and biggest hit of all time, both the album title and song were inspired by his grandmother, who told him to “just knock ‘em out” after rappers trying to go back to Africa had taken over the hip-hop landscape and his lifelong supply Moet, limos and hoes had gone trite.
Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, even baby mamas…they’re all somebody’s mama. So salute!