You know what they say. Art imitates life and we all know the best inspiration for love songs is love stories both good and bad. And as much as we love a happy love song, the messy ones tend to catch our attention even more. So let’s jump in shall we.
Cry Me a River- Justin Timberlake
In 2002, it was imperative that Justin establish himself in a major way. He was trying to shake off the Disney, NSYNC image and his debut solo album Justified was the way to do that. The second single from the album “Cry Me a River” certainly caught the attention of our ears and then our eyes with the video. We all knew what was up that the song was written to address Britney’s [rumored] infidelity (supposedly with NSYNC choreographer Wade Robson) and Timberlake’s response to it. No one cold deny the page boy cap and pink tinted glasses were a dead ringer for Britney’s style at the time. Even Britney called it a publicity stunt. It would be years, almost ten of them, before Justin admitted to it. In 2011, he said, “I was on a phone call that was not the most enjoyable phone call. I walked into the studio and he (Timbaland) could tell I was visibly angry.”
And then Timbaland says, “I was like, ‘Man, don’t worry about it’ and he was like, ‘I can’t believe she did that to me’ and he was like, ‘You were my sun, you were my earth…”
Thanks to Justin’s heartache, we got this bomb a$$ song. “Cry Me a River” still goes hard.
Do You Think About Me- 50 Cent
It’s no secret that 50 Cent dogged Vivica Foxx out. Not only did he break up with her, he clowned her afterward. Vivica cried openly as she told Mo’Nique that 50 Cent was just too immature to appreciate her and he let his friends get in his ear about her intentions. Perhaps 50 felt bad about the way he did her later because he actually invited her to star in his “Do You Think About Me” video. And even though it looks like Vivica is going to get the last piece of vengeance, it doesn’t go down that way.
Dirty Laundry- Kelly Rowland
I remember being shocked when Kelly Rowland released “Dirty Laundry” as a single from her Talk A Good Game album. It was so personal and exposed so much relationship mess we had no idea she had endured. In case you were living under a rock last year, you may remember the song detailed Kelly’s physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a man who was later revealed to be Cudda Love, Nelly’s former bodyguard. It took Kelly years to get to this point. She was in that relationship in the early 2000s and she didn’t speak on it publicly until 2013…or did she sing about it before then?
Girl – Destiny’s Child
You may remember Destiny’s Child’s song “Girl.” When it came out we just assumed that the ladies were acting when Beyoncé and Michelle cautioned Kelly about her terrible relationship. But it wasn’t just acting and it wasn’t just infidelity as the video depicted. When Michelle sang, “Girl, Take A Good Look At Yourself/He Got You Going Through Hell/We Ain’t Never Seen You Down Like This/What You Mean You Don’t Need Us To Help?/We Known Each Other Too Well…” she was referring to the abuse Kellly had endured. It was all just speculation until Rowland confirmed that Beyoncé and Michelle wrote it for her.
We Found Love- Rihanna
Now, Rihanna never admitted that this song was about her relationship with Chris Brown but did she really have to? The Melina Matsoukas directed video features a model who looked very much like Chris Brown. There was the drug use and that particular scene where the couple are arguing with one another in a car before Rihanna storms out. Basically, it’s a dysfunctional relationship even though the two love each other. Sounds familiar right?
I Hit It First- Ray J
A relationship doesn’t have to be current or even recently ended to make a song about it. If you don’t believe me, look no further than Ray J’s tacky song and video “I Hit It First.” It features a Kim K look a like, Ray J sings that “she may move on to rappers and ball players,” says she decided to “go West” and even says that the two could make another movie together before singing over and over again, “I put her on.” Homeboy swears that it’s not about Kim Kardashian but we would have to be bo bo the fool to believe that.
Obsessed – Mariah Carey
By 2009, Mariah had had enough of Eminem’s antics. During that period of time when people started saying Mariah was behaving oddly, Eminem stepped forward saying that he dated her for six months. Mariah denied it several times saying they had only met a few times and it was always professional. But that didn’t stop Em from talking about her in several songs, saying their relationship was sexual and he wanted her back. And she decided to address it in the lead single from her twelfth studio album Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel (Mariah and her elongated album titles. Lol) The song details a woman’s relationship with her male stalker. Mariah appears in the video dressed as a man, complete with a goatee and baggy sweatpants, looking just like Eminem who had been taking shots at her for years.
Best Thing I Never Had- Beyoncé
Beyoncé has said that aside from Jay Z, she only had one other romance in her life. She never named names but there was the song “Best Thing I Never Had.” In the video we see Beyoncé as she attends her prom and her date pretty much ignores her. We didn’t know who she could have been referring to until her ex boyfriend started chatting the media up. Lyndell Locke admitted that while he was Beyoncé’s first love and she was his, he messed things up by cheating on her. I still don’t know if I should believe dude but if there is any truth behind his claims, it wouldn’t be such a stretch to think the song is about him.
U Don’t Have To Call
Usher and Chilli had a very public relationship. Even their breakup was out there. While Chilli appeared in his “U Got It Bad’ video, by the time he released “U Don’t Have To Call” the two were already broken up and Usher used this little tidbit in his video. At the beginning we see him sulking over his lost love, even being confronted by her face on the side of the bus. And though his emotions are still a little raw, he has every intention of stepping out and getting his groove on at the club with Diddy. This video is so extra but I love this song forever and always.
All The Way Home- Tamar Braxton
But all relationship stories don’t end badly. If you watch “Tamar and Vince,” you know it’s no secret that the pair get into their fair share of arguments. Tamar used to often gripe about Vince being on the phone so often. But in her song “All The Way Home,” written by Sevyn Streeter, Tamar wants y’all to know that she’ll always come back home to her man.