By Chris Yuscavage
Talk about making the song cry.
On his latest track, “Tribute To Hud 6,” Cam’Ron borrows the Just Blaze-produced beat used on Eminem’s “No Love” to pay homage to Harlem hero and Dip Set affiliate Andre “Huddy 6″ Hudson, who passed away two weeks ago in a car accident on the George Washington Bridge in New York City. As you might expect, the Harlem rapper uses the song to remember all of the good times he shared with Huddy during his lifetime.
Tributes like this have been used for years as a way for rappers to pay their respects to their fallen friends—famous or otherwise. From album cuts written in memory of 2Pac to gigantic hit singles written to honor Notorious B.I.G., rappers are no strangers to using music to help them through the grieving process.
In honor of Cam’s latest contribution, RapFix took a look back at some of the most notable rap tribute songs. To Huddy 6 and everyone else on this list: Rest in peace.
The Song: “I’ll Be Missing You,” by Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans
Dedicated To: Notorious B.I.G.
You can’t make a list of rap tributes without naming the most commercially successful one, right? So let’s get it out of the way. Puff jacked The Police for the hook (and gave up all the royalties in the process) to get this heartfelt ode to Biggie done. Granted, he didn’t actually write the words for the song (Jay-Z’s associate Sauce Money handled that) but it remains the crowned jewel of rap tribute songs.
The Song: “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Dedicated To: Eazy-E
Though Bone’s tribute to their close friend and business associate Eazy E wasn’t quite as blatant as Puff’s tribute to B.I.G., the accompanying video made it very clear that they were using their biggest song to-date to pay respect to the former N.W.A voice.
The Song: “Life Goes On,” featuring Bizzy Bone
Dedicated To: 2Pac
“Crossroads” isn’t the only song to feature a Bone Thugs member showing love to the dearly departed. Though everyone from the Outlawz to Crooked-I have recorded songs that namecheck ‘Pac, Bizzy Bone actually borrowed a 2Pac name of the same title to create “Life Goes On” for his solo debut, Heaven’z Movie. It didn’t end up making the album but it remains one of the more heart felt 2Pac tributes.
The Song: “Miss U (Remix)” by Jay-Z
Dedicated To: Aaliyah
You don’t need to read Hov’s new book “Decoded” to understand that his remix for “Miss U” was recorded to honor the late, great R&B singer Aaliyah. Of course, we didn’t understand half the stuff he was talking about in his rhymes but he definitely caused a few tears with this one.
The Song: “They Reminisce Over You” by Pete Rock & CL Smooth
Dedicated To: Trouble T Roy (of Heavy D of the Boyz fame)
Consider this the quintessential tribute record. From Pete Rock’s pristine horn-heavy production to the catchy hook to the sentimental value of the verses, this wasn’t just good in a “good for a tribute track” sort of way. It was a classic hip-hop track that’s definitely stood the test of time.
The Song: “Live In The Sky” by T.I. featuring Jamie Foxx
Dedicated To: Philant “Big Phil” Johnson
Shortly after the tragic death of Tip’s close friend, he penned a song dedicated to his memory and paid respects to anyone who’s lost someone close to them.
The Song: “Tribute” by DITC’s O.C., A.G. and Lord Finesse
Dedicated To: Big L
This record hasn’t gotten as much love as most of the other songs on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impactful. The Diggin’ In The Crates crew included this at the end their 2000 album, Worldwide, in order to keep the name and memory of Big L alive.
The Song: “Send Him Our Love” by Joe Budden
Dedicated To: Stack Bundles
From the Stack verse at the beginning of the song that segued into Budden’s opening verse to the vivid memories Joe shared about the day he found out his friend had gotten murdered, this is definitely one of the more heart-wrenching hip-hop tribute tracks ever created.
The Song: “You’re Never Over” by Eminem
Dedicated To: Proof
Though Proof died back in 2006, it took Slim Shady about four years to put together a proper tribute to his friend. The reason? Well, let’s just say that when you’re trying to put everything that you’re feeling into words, it takes time. And because of it, this track was well worth the wait.
The Song: “Runnin’ (Dying To Live)” by Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac (produced by Eminem)
Dedicated To: Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac
Speaking of Eminem, “You’re Never Over” wasn’t his first tribute track. In fact, he created one of the more interesting tributes when he honored both Biggie and 2Pac on “Runnin’ (Dying To Love)” back in 2003 by piecing together old verses and producing a song that featured both of them for the “Tupac: Resurrection” movie. It was, quite literally, history in the making.
What is your favorite rap tribute song of all-time? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below.