Much of Black Twitter has been up in arms over Jonathan Majors, thanks to legal woes that brought specifics of his past relationship to light. One of the wilder moments connected to the case was the public release of audio in which Majors told his now-ex to be more like Coretta Scott King and Michelle Obama. The unexpected take spawned countless memes on the internet.
Showing awareness of that statement and its unintended outcome, the embattled actor once again referenced King while giving Meagan Good her flowers. “She’s held me down like a Coretta. I’m so blessed to have her,” Majors said during an interview on “Good Morning America.”
In light of it all, REVOLT gathered 17 instances where Hip Hop paid homage to Coretta Scott King on a track. The songs in question range from witty metaphors about being a king to full-on heartfelt tributes to the author and civil rights activist. Check out the full list of songs below.
1. If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) — Nas feat. Lauryn Hill
Conceptually, Nas‘ It Was Written classic “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” saw the Queensbridge legend rapping about what he would do if he had absolute power over the planet, which would include “no parole,” an end to poverty, and better protection for children. He also included Mrs. King within the rhyme scheme, “I’d let Coretta Scott King mayor the cities and reverse fiends to Willies, it sound foul, but every girl I meet’d go downtown, I’d open every cell in Attica, send ’em to Africa!”
2. Made In America — JAY-Z and Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean
On Watch The Throne, JAY-Z and Kanye West teamed up with Frank Ocean on “Made In America,” which saw the artists reflecting on Black history, faith, and much more. In that instance, it was Ocean’s infectious hook that paid homage to Coretta and other notable figures. “Sweet King Martin, sweet Queen Coretta, sweet Brother Malcolm, sweet Queen Betty,” the Odd Future alum sang before acknowledging others.
3. Make Me Better — Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo
One of Fabolous‘ biggest hits of his career, the Ne-Yo-assisted “Make Me Better,” is both a song about his special someone and a tribute to all of the women in his life — including his mother. At the end of the From Nothin’ To Somethin’ standout’s first verse, Loso sends a message to his love interest that somewhat mirrors Majors’ comments. “The sag and my swag, pep in my step, daddy do the Gucci, mommy in Giuseppes, guess it’s a G thing whenever we swing, I’ma need Coretta Scott if I’m ‘gon be King,” the Brooklynite rapped.
4. Pain — A$AP Rocky feat. OverDoz.
On the pivotal album LONG.LIVE.A$AP, A$AP Rocky recruited OverDoz. for the genre-bending “Pain,” a look into the Harlem emcee’s rock star lifestyle and high-end fashion sense. Still, Rocky managed to squeeze in a Coretta Scott King reference while also predicting his future with a certain pop star.
5. Letter To The King — The Game feat. Nas
As the title makes clear, “Letter To The King” is a direct tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott, and others who paved the way for civil rights in America. Unlike the others before it, The Game’s LAX offering mentions the matriarch twice. Notably, Jim Jones later utilized The Game’s lines on his Vampire Life: We Own The Night deep cut “Letter To The Game.”
6. Exhibit A (Transformations) — Jay Electronica
Before the groundbreaking “Exhibit C,” Jay Electronica (and Just Blaze) delivered the equally powerful “Exhibit A,” an effortless display of rewind-worthy bars about the Roc Nation emcee’s creative abilities and thoughts on the world. In this case, the pointed reference arrived just before the closing of the second verse.
7. The Last 2 Minutes — Method Man feat. Iron Mic
Taken from Meth Lab Season 3: The Rehab, Method Man‘s “The Last 2 Minutes” is largely a short-yet-effective reminder of his legendary lyrical abilities. In the midst of the explosive wordplay, the Wu-Tang general managed to drop an impressive Coretta reference in the closing verse. “Your queen got a pro-Meth habit, I call her Rah Ali, she not a side thing — like Coretta, she like King, and King run the palace, I’m not a savage,” he rapped.
8. Coretta — CyHi The Prynce
The always lyrically inclined CyHi The Prynce dedicated an entire song to Coretta Scott, a gleaming standout from the critically acclaimed Black Hystori Project. The track also saw the Atlanta lyricist speaking to his special someone about love and affection, making similar comparisons to Mrs. King as other song’s on this list.
9. New Malcolm X — Sy Ari Da Kid feat. JID and EARTHGANG
While this Better Safe Than Sy Ari collaboration is mainly centered around the life and legacy of Malcolm X, JID takes time to also acknowledge the Kings and the senseless murder of Laquan McDonald in his fiery verse. “By any means, yaddadimean? In the coupe, my Miss Coretta Scott thing, and I swear I had a dream, I had a dream, but it went out like Dr. King,” the Dreamville lyricist stated on wax.
10. DOWN BY LAW — Killer Mike feat. CeeLo Green
On the hard-hitting MICHAEL opener, Killer Mike uses several names to describe his personal queen while also honoring a wealth of leaders, including Larry Hoover, Barack Obama, and more. Of course, it’s his tribute to Coretta and other strong Black women that truly makes the CeeLo-assisted offering the most memorable. “Thick with her a**, she in some Betty Shabazz, pretty as Coretta Scott,” Mike declared.
11. Run It — Logic
“Run It,” which can be found on Logic‘s sophomore LP, The Incredible True Story, is mainly about the Maryland rapper’s rise to fame and everything that comes with it. Early on, he referred to himself as a king and set the stage for the next lines about his better half.
This wasn’t the first time that Logic mentioned the Kings on a song, either. On his debut album, Under Pressure, he used the iconic couple as a clever flip on a track about his then-nicotine addiction. “You’re the only thing I let in that would put me in the grave, I’m a king, you’re my Coretta,” he rapped on the somber effort.
12. Fresh Out! — Tech N9ne feat. Swisher Sleep
Taken from Planet, Tech N9ne immediately name-drops Coretta on his first verse. Outside of that, the song isn’t much more than an impressive lyrical exercise for the Strange Music co-founder and his collaborator.
13. Molasses — Raekwon feat. Ghostface Killah and Rick Ross
Taking a more creative approach than others, Raekwon decided to throw a twist on Coretta’s name — referring to her as “Beretta King” — while providing a vivid depiction of his mafioso rap alter ego. It’s a style that he helped to pioneer and make popular with the iconic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… This particular collaboration can be found on the well-received Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang.
14. Big Bidness — Big Sean and Metro Boomin feat. 2 Chainz
One of the most notable tracks from Sean and Metro’s Double Or Nothing project was “Big Bidness,” a 2 Chainz-assisted drop that generated much speculation over what was thought to be Sean’s response to Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 4.” The track also contained — you guessed it — a witty line about the late matriarch.
15. Don’t Cheat — Jeezy
Throughout Dr. King’s career, the FBI and other entities made more than a few attempts to discredit him via his private life — specifically through claims of numerous extramarital affairs. Despite this, his marriage to Coretta Scott did not waver, something that Jeezy referenced on the I Might Forgive… But I Don’t Forget cut. “See ain’t nothin’ comin’ between us, yeah, that’s the goal, like Magic Johnson and Cookie, yeah, that forever s**t, right or wrong, you stand by your king, yeah, that Coretta s**t,” the Atlanta legend rapped.
16. Hatshepsut — Rapsody feat. Queen Latifah
Keeping with the themes found on the groundbreaking album Eve, Rapsody and Queen Latifah’s “Hatshepsut” — named after the powerful Egyptian pharaoh — was a dedication to Black women everywhere. As such, Mrs. King is one of the many who were honored on the booming collaboration via the line, “I’m just like Coretta in fact, see only kings would understand just how that metaphor match.”
17. Just Like Me — Dej Loaf
Dej Loaf quickly marked her return on Hip Hop’s radar with Sell Sole II. On that project was a track titled “Just Like Me,” which saw the Detroit talent harmonizing about not dimming her light for anyone. It was the second verse that contained a short-but-sweet Coretta reference.