Pride is kind of killing modern love, and arguably modern music. No one wants to stick their necks (or hearts) out and clearly, unabashedly decalre undying love. Subtweets and meme posts pass as love letters (but only if you catch that they’re about you). And in music, there are plenty of songs about leaving your love or taking (borrowing) someone else’s; few about staying. Even fewer about fighting to get love back.
But the word says love is not boastful. It also says to be without fear and make your petitions known. So today, church, we’re gonna talk about Beggin’ Ass R&B Songs.
R&B has a long & strong history of various types of begging, simping, pleading, negotiating, etc in songs. The Temps laid it down clearly, early.
Not all begging is created equal; there are subcategories of Beggin’ R&B. We’re gonna walk through them one by one.
First, there’s the HOLLA BEGGING
Holla Begging is that “They just did last call and I need to close this deal” R&B. It is sometimes interchangeable with MACKING. Old playas specialize in this. Who was telling a cat like Teddy P no?
Marvin had a couple of these joints (because, duh, he’s Marvin). Also, Marvin is too cool to even be bothered to pretend he’s using the mic, and I love it.
Marvin was even like “F*ck after the dance. I know you feeling what I’m feeling, what we doin?”. While laying down, in sweat pants. Effortless.
Eugene Wild wasn’t even coy with it. No mixed messages. No chance of misunderstandings.
Holla Beggin’ was also “Ay, ay girl. Lemme talk to you.” (Which admittedly borders on Street Harassment R&B)
Even young Tevin was in the mall trying to get his Holla Beg on.
Obviously we can’t get to deep into a Begging thread without the KING of Begging R&B, Keith Sweat, and his Holla Beg anthem.
Then there’s the CREEPIN’ BEG.
I know I’m not yours, this is wrong. But listen, just chill for a minute. We act like Chaka wasn’t singing about this.
Cover song master Luther took a Brenda Russell Creepin’ Beg classic and Lutherized it, complete with runs and the whole nine. Chile, just stay the night, sh*t.
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And I don’t know for sure that the Blue Notes were talking about being pressed to see their side piece again, but that’s what this sounds like.
Then we have the OLD WORK BEG. (Ya’ll definitely ran into this at your college homecoming). The Old Work Beg is “Damn it’s been a long time. You look great…”
“Don’t you remember how it used to be? I know we both gotta go back to our families tomorrow, but just tonight.
Revered Al said There. Is. No. Need. To. Watch. The. Bridges. That. We’re. Burning. But this kind of talk should suprise no one, considering Al’s lore.
Next there’s the HEARTBROKEN COME BACK BEG. This is self explanatory. This category has me in my feelings even when I’m in a happy relationship and he ain’t gone nowhere.
These songs don’t always tell us who did what, we just know there’s a hole in the heart. Pain. Longing. Just fix it, Jesus. Bring ’em back.
Marvin was like, if you’re not gonna be here, this should at least consume you the way it consumes me. Told ol’ girl, “You should think about me… say a prayer for me.” SAY A PRAYER FOR ME. It’s that dire. I need prayer cause you gone.
(Marvin also really wasn’t for the lipsync move, ever)
Lisa Stansfield ain’t even know where her man was!!! She just knew she had to find him and bring him home!! She was Carmen Sandiego with it!
Then there’s the I FUCKED UP COME BACK BEG. Girl my bad. I ain’t mean it. I won’t do it anymore (again).
K-Ci, JoJo, Dalvin and Devante knew they effed up so bad, they sojourned into the dessert when she’d only been gone an hour.
Another one from the Blue Notes and Teddy in this category. Now you know this old school when they’re talking about how much they been drinkin’. Asking how the kids are doing.
And yes, we’ve had a conversation as a family about Teddy’s wig.
Next, the YOU SHOULD BE WITH ME AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW IT silent Beg. This entry may surprise you, but listen closely to the lyrics.
The absolute all time anthem for this category comes from Aunt Patti. And I pulled an old video, even though the quality isn’t great, so you could check her ‘fit. Amen.
I’ve been trying to slip Vanessa Williams in a sermon for a while, because folks need to be reminded, and this song finally presents the opportunity. Even a former Miss America was trying to get out of the friend zone.
There’s also YOU NEED TO BE WITH ME & LEMME TELL YOU ‘BOUT IT.
Jeffrey Osborne put his pleading game down with no hesitancy and no shame. “And you-woo-woowoo…”
Dudes like Shai are why you need to be careful to not let your girl leave hurt, because she’s going to these dudes to cry and vent, and they plottin’.
Dude calling the next day to make up, and she’s in a cabin in the mountains with Shai.
Or she’s at dinner with Joe.
We’re rounding for home. There was also STOP PLAYING R&B. Your girl going hot and cold, acting like she don’t know what’s up?
Bobby wasn’t gonna try to negotiate but for so long.
Stokley was also tired of this young lady and her games.
Rick came home high, drunk, making noise, knocking shit over. His lady was not having it, and he was not having her not having it.
In our final couple of categories, we come to the begging-ist of begging: The I JUST CAN’T GO ON WITHOUT YOU Beg. I’ma die. Life just over.
Shirley Murdock was cozied up during “As We Lay”, then her man left and life came at her with lightening speed.
Even Whitney was about that if it’s not us, it’s nothing love. And we know she was ‘bout that in real life too.
The sentiments of this song might feel overdramatic now, but when it came out? Man…
Shoutout to one of the greatest soundtracks of all time.
But wasn’t nobody, not nobody, going through it like brother Lenny. Ya’ll young’uns don’t know actual TV programming going off at night, with the National Anthem and then a screen full of static.
Then there was OK, I MIGHT NOT DIE, BUT STILL DON’T LEAVE ME.
This is probably my favorite Boys II Men song.
Winding this category down, my favorite En Vogue song. (Beggin’ songs are great for heart felt sing-alongs, by the way.)
I’m going to close this out, appropriately, with the King of Begging once again, because this song could fit multiple categories we covered.
The moral of this sermon: the next time you need to get your baby back, or let that person know ya’ll need to be together, humble yourself and remember these words…