DAR Music: A R&B Dirty Mack Singles Playlist

By @TrueGodImmortal

The concept of dirty macking. Ah, what an intriguing topic. For many years, dirty macking was a normal occurrence in music, especially R&B. While it is still relevant to the genre today, nothing beats that late 80's and 90's early of dirty macking where artists just poured it on to try and entice a woman who was already taken. Dirty macking is actually pretty sad in reality, but in music, it sounds amazing on record. R&B music is usually at its best when it is sensual, sexual, slow, or in this case, sneaky. While dirty macking isn't a new concept, the term itself became much more popular over the last 5 to 6 years and that's led us to make a list of singles that fit the criteria and are at the top of the mountain for the dirty mack music connoisseurs. What songs make the list? Let's take a look.

*LL Cool J featuring Boyz II Men- Hey Lover (1995)

-So, in short, I'll say that LL utilizing one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs as a sample for a song literally mired in dirty macking is hilarious. The concept of dirty macking is always to try and make the other guy look worse in comparison while also showcasing what you have to offer and this song is the smoothest example of a hip hop dirty mack song. The song is so smooth, with the production and the hook done by Boyz II Men, but I'll be honest, the lyrics from LL are pretty bad. Not bad in the sense of being a terrible lyricist, but there is so much salt in the words rapped by LL that it borders on pathetic and ridiculous. After a nice opening to the song, LL blatantly says "I gotta take you from your man, that's my mission", and while I enjoyed the line years ago, add that to the other lines about him working out thinking about her and staring at his own eyes in the rearview mirror, and the song is just downright embarrassing in some ways. However, that aside, one can't deny that it serves it purpose and is almost too smooth to deny. Still though, the lyrics are really pathetic, despite being perfect for the song. Do better, Big Elly (who the hell calls LL Cool J by Big Elly anyways???).

*Mario- Let Me Love You (2004)

-One of the biggest hits of the 2000s in R&B and one of the ultimate dirty mack songs, Mario took his name to another level with this song. It should come as no surprise that this track was written by Ne-Yo, as you can hear the lyrics in the song and compare it to some of his other work. Scott Storch provides a melodic beat, and Mario tells the woman in his view that he is the choice for her instead of the man she has. The essential dirty mack song that presents the artist singing it as the better option and highlights the mistreatment of said object of desire. Pitiful in theory yes, but it sounds good enough to ignore the obvious.

*Shai- Comforter (1992)

-This is actually a song that I never saw as an actual dirty mack song, but when I went back to listen, it was quite apparent that it fit the criteria. I always thought it was a song about someone in the friendzone who would lend their shoulder to a woman in need, but a close listen quickly put clarified that. Perhaps this person was in the friendzone, but the moment that her man messed up, he puts the cape on and saves the day. Once again, pitiful in theory, but the song sounds so smooth and Shai had such great harmony that you overlook the corny nature of dirty mack songs to appreciate an enormously melodic hook and smooth slow jam. I actually prefer this song over their mega hit single that we all know and love because it just feels a bit smoother overall and the hook is perfection.

*SWV- You're The One (1996)

-Yes, the women have their own dirty mack songs. If we are being honest, there are a lot of women who have dirty mack songs in their catalog. This one is one of the more out there singles honestly, because it caught me off guard when I first heard it and sometimes the lyrics still catch me off guard. SWV had some interesting songs throughout their career for sure and this one was definitely another that fits into the interesting category. The lyrics tell the story, from "what your girl don't know won't hurt her" to "anything to make this thing go further", SWV makes it clear that the man in their sights will be able to have his cake and eat it too. For some of us men, this sounds like an ideal song, but the dirty macking here is so blatant that you almost have to respect it, while recognizing that it is still pitiful like the others on the list. I love dirty mack R&B, but the facts are just the facts.

*Babyface- Soon As I Get Home (1989)

-If we are talking simp and simps supreme, Babyface resides on the Mount Rushmore of dirty mack simps musically. He is the greatest. The ultimate. There is no bigger evidence of Babyface being this than the lyrics of "Soon As I Get Home". For one, Babyface tells a story and sells a dream to a woman who he sees as being underappreciated by her man, and he makes it clear to her the levels he would go to just to have her. While paying her bills, cooking her dinner, and giving her a stack of major credit cards to use at her desire is a great fairytale, it is probably not the smartest dirty mack tactic, as dirty macking usually involves a bit less overblown simping, and more about how you would treat the woman outside of the financial part of things. Regardless, this is definitely a classic and a top tier Babyface song that many people thought was your standard love song, but it was indeed a dirty mack song of the lowest kind (though they are all pretty low).

*Dru Hill- I Should Be (2002)

-I love the music of Dru Hill. No, being good friends with members of the group isn't the reason why I'm such a fan, and I still believe Dru Hill is a top 5 R&B group of the 90's and perhaps top 10 all time. However, this song was hilarious to me when it first came out. I've always found songs like these to be funny in essence, mostly because of the lyrics and what they imply, but seeing the execution of this one was pretty good yet also laughable. Still, it is a very solid ballad that showcases the group trying to understand why a woman puts up with her lying and cheating boyfriend and why she hasn't given him (or them) a chance. Dru Hill has a lot of classics but this might be their one and only true dirty mack single and it works.

*Mary J. Blige featuring Lil' Kim- I Can Love You (1997)

-While it is a bit more rare than when the men do it, women can definitely dirty mack, and it might be more acceptable how they do it in music. I think a lot of people just loved this song and never even realized that it does fit the criteria of what a dirty mack song is. Mary is saying to the man of her desire that she could love him better than any other woman can, and she seems pretty adamant on proving that. The production is solid here and even the Lil' Kim is solid, along with the harmony Mary brings with the hip hop appeal in the hook. All in all, this is a definite top tier dirty mack single on the women's side, and it might just be the best of them all for how subtle it is. Mary is always at her best when she is some form of peril, and what better form of peril to have in your music than trying to convince someone that you can love them better than whoever else you may have in mind? It wasn't your typical dirty mack song and another woman isn't even really mentioned in the lyrics, which makes it better in some way because you know what's being hinted at without it being as overly cheesy or overboard like some of the others on the list.

*Jagged Edge- He Can't Love You (2000)

-In essence, most dirty mack songs are pretty much songs full of "why did you choose him" and "baby I am better than him" quips, with a little extra added in from time to time. Jagged Edge usually made direct ballads and songs about love, but this one was a little different. For one, the song opens with the disclaimer "I ain't a hater or nothing" before then continuing on with a song that is essentially one big fest of hate on the man that the woman he desires is currently with, and while the lyrics are of course ridiculous, this one is actually more concise and slightly more noble....slightly. The song gives off the vibe of regret, as the realization of how special the woman was that he lost becomes clear and apparent. Jagged Edge was definitely a group that would make a dirty mack classic and they lived up to that without a doubt.

*Joe- All The Things Your Man Won't Do (1996)

-There is no dirty macking without this song. Sure, I could reference a ton of classic songs from the 70s and 80s that features dirty macking, but this song is the one. When I say it is the one, it is THE ONE. I don't think you could dirty mack on a level like this in music ever again man. Joe was in his bag for this song, and while I do recognize this as a pivotal and classic 90's R&B staple, it is the greatest dirty mack song of all time. Why is it the greatest? Well, first, let's start with the basics. Joe starts off the song with "hey love", as if the rapport he has with a taken woman even constitutes that. To be honest, that is the first step in dirty mack success and who better than Joe to pull it off with precision. Two, selling dreams is always a part of dirty macking. Make the woman feel like you will be her knight in shining armor, when in actuality, you know nothing about the woman or her habits. Joe does that and then some on this song. He provides the woman with what seems like true comfort, tells her all of the things he wants to do to her and how he can make her feel so much better than her man does. It is admirable to say the least to see the levels to which Joe would go to get some pussy. Is that a bit vulgar? Well, deal with it. Regardless, Joe is actually at his best here, and no one executes the dirty mack quite like Joe in their music.

*Drake- Marvin's Room (2011)

-Okay. So, here is the thing. Drake isn't really R&B, but this song is. LL isn't R&B, but his song on this list is about as R&B as you can get and Drake goes full fledged crooner on this hilarious yet slightly ridiculous single. As popular as the song is, the lyrics are a bit pathetic as well, and that seems to be the theme for every dirty mack song that has seemingly ever existed. I liked this song when it dropped and still do somewhat, but it is a bit hilarious when you think of the fact that he starts off saying the woman he wants to contact is happy with a good guy, but he doesn't care and decides to call and throw hatred on the phone. The drunken phone call dirty mack song is always going to be hilarious in reality. While the first two verses that are sung are pretty funny, I do actually like the rapped/sung verse a lot and it adds a little more depth to a song that starts off mostly as "hey I know you're happy but fuck that and the nigga you're with", and tries to become slightly more than that before rounding out as just that.

*Trey Songz- Cant Help But Wait (2007)

-To be fair, Trey has a few of these in his catalog, but what the hell would you expect from a man who calls him "Mr. Steal Your Girl" honestly? He has no concern for relationships and clearly breaks up happy and unhappy homes with a reckless abandon. All jokes aside however, this song was actually pretty solid and it followed the formula we know and love for the traditional dirty mack execution. The song was an attempt to show the woman in question that perhaps what she had wasn't nearly what it should be and that he is patiently waiting for her to come to her senses. That's some genuine dirty macking there, folks. Regardless, the song itself is catchy and a nice smooth track that allows Trey to exhibit one of his favorite topics: trying to steal your girl......uh, yeah.

*Mint Condition- You Don't Have To Hurt No More (1996)

-I loved this song and I never really thought about it as a dirty mack classic, but it without a doubt is just that. While I originally thought the song was about a woman who was recently going through a breakup, the lyrics make it evident, especially the bridge and the hook. Still, I find this to be the best song on the actual list, as it doesn't go off into Joe or Babyface or LL Cool J (once again, who calls this man Big Elly!!!??) territory, and keeps it smooth and almost sounds genuinely concerned for the woman in question. While many people tend to forget this song in the dirty mack history books, I nominate this excellent single by Mint Condition as one of the better dirty mack singles to be released.



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