When it comes to music and parental tributes, moms usually get most of the love.
You know several of them well, like “I’ll Always Love My Mama” by the Intruders, “A Song For Mama” by Boyz II Men or “Mama Used To Say” by Junior.
A very timely example is by Tupac Shakur, whose biopic was released in theaters this weekend and who famously recorded a tribute to his mother and to moms worldwide with his 1993 classic “Dear Mama.”
But did you know that 2Pac also recorded a song about a father?
The tune “Papa’z Song” from ‘Pac’s second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., painted a much less flattering picture of a father than “Dear Mama” did of his mom. Still, it captured all the raw emotion and sincerity that Shakur was best at delivering, in this case that of a son whose father was absent during his childhood.
Father-child relationships are often tough ones to navigate, especially in circumstances like the one Tupac describes. They’re sometimes complex situations involving a father who either struggled with his responsibilities or who simply wasn’t there. Most songs describing those relationships – especially the ones by hip-hop artists – tend to tell the negative side of this story.
That sentiment isn’t limited to hip-hop though. The Temptations famously sang about an absent father whose philandering ways did nothing to endear his children to him. That song, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” became a Number One pop hit in 1972.
Madonna recorded not one, but two hit songs about the strained relationship a girl sometimes has with her father. On 1986’s “Papa Don’t Preach,” Madonna’s pregnant protagonist cannot get advice from her daddy as she struggles with telling him the news about her pending motherhood. Three years later, “Oh Father” eerily told of a daughter’s escape from the clutches of an abusive father.
And King of Soul James Brown sang about a less stark, but very familiar situation involving a father who wasn’t afraid to break out a can of whoop-ass on his kids if they acted up (not necessarily a bad thing depending upon the generation in which one grew up).
But things with Dad aren’t always bad.
Late soul crooner Luther Vandross recorded the sentimental Grammy-winning song “Dance With My Father” about his late dad and how they would dance together in his youth. Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses” gave a dad’s poignant perspective on watching his little daughter grow up.
And, of course, there’s Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” which told of the joys of being a new dad from the singer’s real-life perspective with daughter Aisha. Wonder would shower some similar love on his second child Keita in the 1980 song “Do Like You” from the Hotter Than July album, though not as memorable a tune as his first child’s tribute.
The prolific Wonder, whose song catalog spans more than five decades, is arguably as gifted at bringing children into the world He has nine of them – by five different moms. It is still not known whether Wonder, who hasn’t released a new album in years, will record a song tribute to his youngest child, who turns 3 later this year.
Regardless, there are plenty of songs out there to celebrate (or maybe not celebrate) fatherhood and dads all over the map. And no matter what your relationship with your father is (or isn’t), you’re sure to find a song that fits your situation if you look long and hard enough.
This Fathers Day, djrobblog has done some of the work for you and found what I consider to be the Fifteen Best Dad Songs. These are all songs that are either about a father or about being one. They’re counted down in order from #15 to #1.
The rankings are based on the typical djrobblog factors, including popularity, impact, endurance, and the always subjective one of quality – which is in the eye of the beholder, in this case me.
Now you may or may not agree with the order or inclusion of some songs, but that’s the beauty of blogging – you get to tell me about it in the comment section or on the blog’s Facebook page.
So keep reading to see the djroblist of the Fifteen Best Dad Songs and scroll through to find out which one ranks the highest.
Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially mine. Love you, Pops!
This countdown is dedicated to you!
When 2Pac angrily raps to a dad who was absent during his childhood, you can almost predict where the song is headed. And it delivers. Lyrically, Shakur doesn't hold back on this early single from his second album, and with lines like "I had to play catch by myself," you at least begin to understand the source of the hurt and anger he so emotionally conveys.