No matter the circumstance, it’s always important to acknowledge the women who brought us into this world and reared us into the individuals we’ve become. Many of today’s hip hop icons are aware of this, and make sure to give their flowers to the matriarchs of their respective households.
This weekend, much of the world will be taking part in Mother’s Day festivities with their loved ones. In celebration of the important occasion, REVOLT is excited to share 13 of hip hop’s notable moms — all of whom have had irreplaceable impacts in the lives and careers of your favorite artists. Check ’em all out below.
1. Voletta Wallace (The Notorious B.I.G.)
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Twenty-six years after The Notorious B.I.G.‘s tragic passing, Voletta Wallace continues to keep her son’s name alive, both as the overseer of his estate and the founder of the nonprofit Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. She also refuses to stop fighting for justice in regard to B.I.G.’s unsolved case. “As long as I have life, there’s hope,” Voletta declared to Entertainment Weekly in 2021. “I’ll never give up. And I hope when I’m not in this world anymore, my friends and family will carry on the fight. There is always hope.”
Biggie’s smile-inducing rhymes about his mom on “Juicy” are unforgettable. “Thinkin’ back on my one-room shack, now my mom pimps an Ac’ with minks on her back, and she loves to show me off of course, smiles every time my face is up in The Source,” the Bad Boy icon rapped.
2. Janice Combs (Sean “Diddy” Combs)
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There have been countless times where we’ve heard about the strength and support of Diddy’s mother, Janice Combs, especially during the Bad Boy mogul’s youth following his father’s passing. During a 2018 sit-down with VH1 (below), Diddy recounted a time when she had his back while fighting legal battles in court.
“I got myself in a little situation and I was on trial. My mother would come to court every day with me and sit there every day,” the Harlem icon revealed. “The trial was like three months. [She] prayed for me… When you go through a time like that, that shakes your whole existence, and when you turn around, or you look to the side, your mother’s gonna be there. And she was there every single day.”
3. Rita Owens (Queen Latifah)
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Back in 2021, Queen Latifah appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” where she revealed how her mom, Rita Owens, brought her into the rap world.
“It was my mother who kind of introduced me to everybody I know,” she said. “It’s because of her I got into hip hop. She introduced me to the DJ that became my producer, my partner, Shakim, [who is] my partner to this day.”
Four years prior to Owens’ passing from heart issues in 2018, the Flavor Unit alum held an emotional tribute for her mother during an episode of “The Queen Latifah Show” (above). In the short clip, the legendary artist shared how much her mom not only impacted her and her brother, but also many others. “I’m just one of the countless people whose lives she impacted, who consider her their most supportive friend, biggest fan, greatest teacher, and hero,” Latifah stated.
4. Donda West (Ye)
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Even if you’re not a day one fan of the man better known as Kanye West, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of a recent docuseries based on him that features his late mother, Donda West. Within 2022’s “Jeen-Yuhs,” viewers were able to see Ye and Donda’s beautiful relationship while she guided him through life as his champion. In one episode, she proudly shared how her son makes songs “like Michael Jordan shoots free throws,” while another showed her rapping the words to Ye’s Late Registration standout “Hey Mama.”
“Since you brought me in this world, let me take you out, to a restaurant, upper echelon, I’ma get you a Jag’, whatever else you want, just tell me what kind of S-Type Donda West like? Tell me the perfect color, so I make it just right,” they both rapped excitedly in the bittersweet footage.
5. Afeni Shakur (Tupac Shakur)
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Prior to Tupac Shakur’s existence, Afeni Shakur was a prominent member of the Black Panther Party and a part of the highly publicized Panther 21 collective. It only made sense for that powerful spirit to transfer to her son, who eventually became a prolific rap — no, music — icon whose art continues to reverberate throughout the world today.
Topics like socialism, politics, and street life aside, Tupac is widely known for his honest message to Afeni on “Dear Mama,” which revealed a troubled relationship that mended once he was old enough to realize the obstacles that his mother overcame. “You always was committed, a poor single mother on welfare, tell me how you did it, there’s no way I can pay you back, but the plan is to show you that I understand, you are appreciated,” the Death Row alum rapped on the Me Against the World single.
Following Tupac’s death in 1996, Afeni acquired the baton to man his massive estate, further ensuring that his name would ring among future generations. She transitioned in 2016.
6. Gloria Carter (JAY-Z)
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The best example of understanding JAY-Z’s relationship with his mother, Gloria Carter, would be the 4:44 track “Smile.” On the song, Hov opened up about his mother’s struggles with her sexual identity.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian, had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian, had to hide in the closet, so she medicate, society shame and the pain was too much to take, cried tears of joy when you fell in love, don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her…”
On another classic cut, The Black Album‘s “December 4th,” Carter intros the track by revealing her foresight when JAY-Z was a mere newborn. “The only one who didn’t give me any pain when I gave birth to him,” she said over the Just Blaze-produced track. “And that’s how I knew that he was a special child.”
7. Holly Thomas (Megan Thee Stallion)
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As the world knows, Megan Thee Stallion lost her mother, Holly Thomas, in 2019 due to a brain tumor — a year before the arrival of her chart-topping debut LP, Good News. As she made clear in an Apple Music interview (below), Thomas was a major part of her life and career well before that album’s arrival.
“I really realized that my mama was really driving the car for a long time,” she said. “I didn’t even have to think about too many things when mama was with me. I feel like it is just recently that it’s clicking to me, like who can I ask anything to?”
She continued, “She was just like, ‘Just because I’m sick, you and T Farris, y’all don’t stop. Y’all need to go to LA and still do your show.’ She said, ‘Don’t stop,’ so then I just took that literally. And we’re here today.”
8. Beverly Tate (Snoop Dogg)
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Longtime followers of Snoop Dogg know how much his mother, Beverly Tate, meant to him. In a visual for his 2018 tribute, “Thank You For Having Me” (below), the Long Beach legend opened up about her influence.
“My daddy is my business hand. My daddy had jobs my whole life. He worked three or four jobs. He was a hustler,” he began. “But my game and all that slick talk come from my mama… how to dress, how to be fly, how to communicate, how to network, how to get down, all of the above.”
After she passed in 2022, Snoop spoke to “The Breakfast Club” about continuing to push on after such a tremendous loss. “I just lost my mom a couple of days ago,” he revealed to the hosts at the time. “It’s heavy on my heart but at the same time, I know that these are things that she loved for me to do. To make people smile, to make people laugh, to spread joy.”
9. Stacia Mac (Polo G)
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For Stacia Mac, being hands-on in your son’s career has proven nothing short of beneficial, as Polo G is currently one of the biggest rappers in the game. Outside of that, she is both an entrepreneur and community leader in her own right. In December of 2022, she teamed up with XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, to provide water to residents during the Jackson, Mississippi water crisis that year.
In a video clip from family friend Deshae Frost (above), Mac explained why she never forced her children to have jobs. “Coming from a person that came from an impoverished community, I wanted my kids not to know the struggle. I wanted my kids to know what support was,” she stated.
10. Ruby Mae Jones (Lil Kim)
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Lil Kim’s youth is well-documented. As she’s explained in various interviews, her parents divorced, and — following a brief stint with her mother, Ruby Mae Jones, in New Rochelle, N.Y. — she found herself at odds while living with her father. Things are different post-fame with Jones continuing to provide support for her legendary daughter. In a past interview during Kim’s appearance on “Dancing with the Stars,” she beamed with pride when asked about the Junior M.A.F.I.A. frontwoman’s success.
“I am so proud of her,” Jones said. “Both of us have been through so much, and to see her [now] is just awesome for me.”
11. Debra Antney (Waka Flocka Flame)
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Debra Antney has been a full-blown business mogul since launching the wildly successful Mizay Entertainment almost two decades ago. In addition to steering the careers of rap heavyweights like Nicki Minaj and French Montana, she was also a major force behind the success of her son Waka Flocka Flame. If you were in doubt, Waka made sure this was known as fact in a self-recorded video to his fans. “To make the record straight, my mother started my career,” Waka stated. “My mother started Gucci’s career. My mother started Nicki’s career, Juiceman’s career, French Montana’s career. Lex Luger as a producer. She molded us all.”
12. Patricia Elliott (Missy Elliott)
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During an impromptu Twitter Q&A in April, Missy Elliott was asked about what inspired her to remain persistent in a male-dominated industry. Her response?
“I’ve seen many strong women in the industry before me that made it through,” she began. “My mom was in an abusive relationship, so I told her I would make it, so I could get her out of that situation… I would make sure she’d never have to work again. That’s what really kept me going.”
In a 2021 Instagram post (above), Missy revealed that her mother, Patricia Elliott, also made the ultimate sacrifice in order to stay close to her daughter. “She stopped her own singing career because she didn’t want to leave me and go on the road. Thank God he blessed me with a gift because I said [that] if I ever made it big, I would take care of her like she did me! I kept my promise.”
13. Sandi Graham (Drake)
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Many times throughout his career, Drake has been open about his relationship with his mother, Sandi Graham. As heard on the Take Care classic “Look What You’ve Done,” Graham nurtured her son’s talents early on.
“After all the things that we been through, I got you… look what you’ve done for me now, you knew that I was gonna be something, when you’re stressed out and you need something, I got you…”
Just prior to the release of 2021’s Certified Lover Boy, Drake shared a poem from his mother that proves just how strong the love is between the two. “With each new album, my heart skips a beat, being your mother has been my life’s greatest treat,” wrote Graham. “It’s been a long, hard road together… I wanna celebrate you, son, more than you’ll ever know.”
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