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In music, cynicism is becoming more prevalent. These days, true love songs are hard to come by. Yellow Diamonds is a series of lyric breakdowns in which VIBE Senior Music Editor Austin Williams celebrates songs that sound like love found in a hopeless mainstream, taking its name from Rihanna's "We Found Love."
This column has previously served as a platform for various thought experiments. Unpacking whether heartache can exist in a love song, defining the difference between love songs and bedroom music, and contextualizing what it means to give someone the chance to break your heart are just a few of the exercises available. I came across another thought experiment in Tuesday's (May 17) breakdown of Brandy's "Angel in Disguise," the song at the centre of Jack Harlow's first Twitter dragging—searching for the love, care, and shrouded intentions in dirty macking.
It's difficult to define dirty macking, but you'll recognize it when you see it. In general, I'd describe it as a type of courtship marked by something less pure than love, but not entirely divorced from it. Things like jealousy when you want what another person has, the temptation of meeting the right person at the wrong time, or even the regret of losing someone to their next partner's arms.
Investigating "Angel in Disguise" was a particularly difficult case of dirty macking. Despite appearing to taunt her ex for allowing someone else to break his heart, Brandy maintains her love for him throughout the song.
She makes sure her man knows her feelings are still true as she exposes the phoney god who duped him. If you aren't looking for it, the dirty macking in the singer's 1998 single is present but nearly imperceptible.
Today, I'm here to compile a list of much more obvious romantic mischief. Check out the 9 best dirty macking love songs of all time in the video below.
9. "You Don't Have To Hurt No More" - Mint Condition
The creators of "What Kind Of Man Would I Be," as well as "You Don't Have To Hurt No More," prove that dirty makers come in all shapes and sizes. This song is good guy music, which may or may not be your cup of tea. Stokely Williams' sublime singing, on the other hand, should be enough to make you and your sneaky link swoon.
8. "He Can't Love U" - Jagged Edge
"I ain't no hater or nothing," says the song's first line. Every lyric that follows proves Brandon Casey and the other three members of Jagged Edge to be liars.
Throughout "He Can't Love U," each member of the Bad Boy quartet insists that his ex's new man can't love her like he can, despite the fact that the song doesn't elaborate on what comes with said love beyond sex and deception. The song's video emphasizes this point—dirty macking in matching leathers is a nasty business.
"He Can't Love U" is one of the least romantic songs on this list, but it still feels like a Yellow Diamonds love song because it shows how good begging music can sound when sung with passion.
7. "I Can Love You" - Mary J. Blige Feat. Lil' Kim
Mary J. Blige and Lil' Kim's "I Can Love You" is in the same vein as "He Can't Love U," though the latter feels more justified in its dirty macking.
The Queen Bee enters the chat with a more brash delivery as MJB sings soulfully of unrequited love. Kim sounds disgusted at the thought of the Tanisha's and Rhondas of the world running around with a man who should be hers, spitting subtly autobiographical bars aimed at Biggie ("I've been in love with you since the days of 'Juicy'")
While it's unclear why Mary J. Blige and Lil' Kim would want to love the men who abandoned them, they make compelling arguments for why they could do it better than anyone else.
6. "All The Things (Your Man Won't Do)" - Joe
Only stalking or lowdown dirty macking could come after a heavy-breathing phone call. In the music video for Joe's "All The Things (Your Man Won't Do)," a little bit of both happens as the singer dials up the diner where the woman he's eyeing works.
Even if promising to do whatever no one else has done is a little lazy, the 1996 song is actually quite sweet. If these lines from Joe were successful in getting his woman stolen, the ol' boy must have been slipping.
5. "Sensitivity" - Ralph Tresvant
Even before listening to his music, something about Ralph Tresvant makes him seem like someone dirty makers can look up to. His swag has a wavy-haired, late-'80s vibe to it that fits the bill. With "Sensitivity," the New Edition frontman's biggest solo hit, that's pretty much confirmed.
To this day, I find it deeply amusing that Tresvant's post-NE move was to dance barefoot while telling women to stop dating insensitive men, just as Bel Biv Devoe warned cats about trusting chicks with big butts and pretty smiles and Bobby Brown claimed his throne as the bad boy of R&B.
"Sensitivity" is more than just dirty macking; it's a way of life-based on unrepentant pandering. The fact that the song is a jam speaks to Tresvant's talent, as one could argue that he laid the groundwork for future Aubrey Grahams.
4. "Let Me Love You" - Mario
"I just don't get it, baby." "Do you enjoy being hurt?" says the hater of the Hall of Fame.
"Let Me Love You" is one of the most sincere and seemingly scornful songs on this list at the same time. Mario appears to genuinely adore the woman he's after as much as he despises the man she's with. His knocks against her current boyfriend sound like valid arguments for why she should love him back as he lists all the reasons she should let him love her.
3. "Hey Lover" - LL Cool J Feat. Boyz II Men
As Big Elly is hands down Hip-most Hop's diabolical dirty macker, this list could theoretically be made up of all LL Cool J songs. From the devilish expression LL's shades fail to hide in the song's music video to the scene in which he and someone else's girl are tonguing down an unreasonably large scoop of vanilla ice cream, everything about "Hey Lover" is foul yet inexplicably satisfying.
The shots thrown throughout the album are, of course, the main attraction. There are a few insults about a woman's boyfriend that I could pick out as the most venomous. "You only knew him five months/ Besides, he drinks too much and smokes too many blunts/ And I be workin' out every day thinking about you," I would say as a fitness fanatic. Respect your temple, fellas, or you'll lose your queen.
2. "Marvins Room" - Drake
While "Hey Lover" is the quintessential dirty macking anthem for those who grew up in the 1990s, moody teens in 2011 will tell you Drake's "Marvin's Room" is the song most associated with shameless simping.
If you grew up with a father figure, almost everything about this album is offensive. In theory, a rapper boasting about how much sex he's having while hating on the "good guy" she found should have been widely rejected. But it's Drake's songwriting prowess that makes "Marvin's Room" more catchy than any rational person could hope for.
In the age of social media captions and e-stalking exes, "I'm just saying you could do better..." is an objectively brilliant line. When the Take Care single was first released, the lyric was all over the place. Drake's patronizing brand of dirty macking is still going strong today, and it frequently results in undeniably great music. This is one of the few times in Yellow Diamond's history that I'll admit it.
1. "Saving All My Love For You" - Whitney Houston
When you realized "Saving All My Love For You" wasn't another of Whitney Houston's wholesome ballads, but rather a song about her wanting to steal another woman's man, how old were you? Because I didn't realize it until I was an adult.
Houston's 1985 single, "It's not very easy living all alone/ My friends try and tell me to find a man of my own/ But each time I try, I just break down and cry/ Because I'd rather be home feeling blue/ So I'm saving all my love for you," is without a doubt the most beautifully written and performed dirty macking song of all time.
Even though the concept of dirty macking goes against the purity I look for in love songs, this story of a woman yearning for her soulmate embodies Yellow Diamonds' romanticism.
Yes! Add to this article in the comment section your own opinion about this beautiful list of the top 9-10 Best Dirty Macking Love Songs Of All Timed.
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