Infidelity has existed for as long as relationships have. However, the open practicing of #thotlife or embracing hoe culture are fairly new phenomenons that are helped along by our society’s warped relationship with social media. These songs are great when you're not on the receiving end of the infedelity. Certainly not the most girl empowerment playlist, but hey, we're all bad feminists sometimes.
1. Destiny’s Child — “With Me (Part I)" (1998)
"Do you ever wonder when he, don't come home
Who he goes to see
Or why in the middle of the night
He leaves you alone
Leaves you alone"
Back when they were affectionately referred to The Chirren, Destiny’s Child was a group of four teens from Houston, Texas. Following their breakout debut single “No No No,” their second single, “With Me Part I” off their debut album, Destiny’s Child, was a complete 180º. With production assistance from Jermaine Dupri, the song taunts an unknown woman who is suspicious of her lover’s whereabouts. Beyonce, Kelly, LeToya, and LaTavia end any suspicions by declaring “he’s in good hands,” because low and behold, he’s with them. Never mind how grimy and braggadoccio the quartet is about it all, they were all sixteen or seventeen at that point. It’s all fun and games until it’s your man... *sips lemonade*
2. Azealia Banks — “NEEDSUMLUV” (2012)
"You ain't in love with her but she still lives in your heart
But you be in my apartment, tearing me apart and
Jingling my jewelery, you don't know what you do to me
I feel like you be using me"
Before the many, many public fights, it was 2012 and Azealia Banks was on top and could do no wrong. Despite all the drama, Banks always brought the music. The Fantasea mixtape and 1991 EP got everyone’s attention and had us anxiously waiting on an album. Banks' unique voice and experimental sound was a definite breath of fresh air. "Needsumluv" dropped and it was one of the first tracks where she only sang, proving she had a lot to offer. The tracks on this list teeter between bragging and begging, "you don't know what you do to me/I feel like you be using me..." He is sis. He's using you.
3. Xscape — "My Little Secret" (1998)
"You're my little secret,
And that's how we should keep it"
Well, before TLC's “No Scrubs,” and before their respective reality TV careers (Real Housewives of Atlanta and T.I. & Tiny's Family Hustle), Xscape was one of those R&B groups in the late ‘90s, when each member had a serious set of pipes on them. As Kandi’s velvety voice narrates the details of a very low-key trist, LaTocha’s rushes in for the bridge to inform listeners that the secret is: "I like being in the same room as you and your girlfriend/The fact that she don't know, that really turns me on/She'll never guess in a million years/That we've got this thing going on..." Before the crescendo, Kandi assures us “Everybody cheats, but you gotta know how, gotta know when...” This song was also produced by Jermaine Durpri. No to this concept, but yas to these vocals!
4. SWV — "You’re The One" (1996)
"What your girl don't know won't hurt her
Anything to make this love go further"
The beat and lead singer Coko’s voice almost makes you forget how brazenly disrespectful this song is. It is almost endearing how they’re professing their love, until you remember they are completely throwing themselves at this man hinting, “and if you she finds out/ I don't know nothing.” It's so upbeat, you cannot help but dance and chant the chorus along with her, "You're the one for me."
5. Mary J. Blige feat. Lil Kim — "I Can Love You" (1997)
"I can love you, (I can love you)
I can love you better than she can"
Mary J. Blige had already solidified herself as the original sad black girl with two very successful R&B albums under her belt that narrated the hardships (and joys) of black womanhood in the '90s, when her third album Share My World was released. MJB's "I Can Love You" blurs the lines for listeners as they don't know if this song is about a man who has moved on from Mary and she wants him back or if he was never hers to begin with and she still wants him. However, thing are quickly clarified by the end, with a verse from Lil’ Kim, who notoriously (no pun intended) played side-chick to the Notorious B.I.G. The story is messy: the two dated, he polished her as his rap protégé, and then to the Queen Bitch's surprise, he married fellow Bad Boy artist Faith Evans, having only known her a short while. If you've ever been passed over by a fuckboy and still wanted him back, because, well, the history, then this one might be for you!
6. Me’shell Ndegeocello — "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)" (1993)
"I'm the kind of woman
I'll do almost anything to get what I want
I might play any little game
Call me what you like but you know it's true
You're just jealous cause he wasn't with you"
This up-tempo, jazz, and spoken word ’90s stylings in this track is super laid back, until you actually listen to the lyrics. This British musician most definitely didn't feel any remorse about the affair. Though she comes off defensive and disrespectful, the song does bring up a very important notion of never addressing the other person involved in the infedelity. They owe you nothing. Even if they had full knowledge of a relationship; you should always address and focus an anger at the person you were in a relationship with. But we all know this song would most definitely amp up a catfight.
7. Changing Faces — "That Other Woman" (2000)
"You only see me every Friday night at nine
Can't imagine what you told her this time
You never take me to a public place
Worried that somebody might notice your face"
On their third and final album, Visit Me, the duo didn't have much success with the buzz single "The Other Woman." This song, unlike the rest of the list, showed much more remorse. Though the song admits to no longer wanting any involvement in the forbidden relationship expressing, "Why am I crying every night over you/ You're never gonna leave her/Finally I woke up and smell the coffee I understand/ Why two women can't share one man," which is fine and dandy, the damage is already done. And it cannot be summed up to "Can't be that other woman/ Yes I want you bad/ But she needs you much more."
8. Diana Espir — "Side Chick" (2015)
"What are you doing?
If your girl found out
That we've been screwing
Your life it would be ruined
Then you'd be all mine
So let's just do it"
While the previous track describes a mistress wanting out after the dirt was done, Diana Espir's "Side Chick" takes a different approach. Though Espir declares that she isn't anyone's side chick, despite having already committed the crime, she demands that the partner make a decision. Given the other tracks on the list, Espir's approach is sort of admirable.
9. Melanie Martinez — “Pacify Her” (2015)
She’s getting on my nerves
You don’t love her
Stop lying with those words"
Since her introduction to the world in 2012 on NBC's third season of The Voice, Melanie Martinez has garnered a nice following for herself. Her first studio album, Cry Baby, was a concept album exploring themes of body image, family disputes, sexual assault, and romance through the perspective of a baby-doll persona named Cry Baby. A play on the word pacifier, "Pacify Her" details Cry Baby trying to free a boy from the grip of a girlfriend, even though she doesn’t really love the boy herself. It's petty, but the concept evolved from previous track "Tag, You're It" which covers the topic of sexual assault. As Martinez told VICE, "She’s so numb to love and doesn’t think that it exists."
10. LeAnn Rimes — “Borrowed” (2013)
Sometimes art really does imitate life. And sometimes shit happens. The beloved country songbird, featured her very public cheating scandal on "Borrowed" from her album Spitfire in 2013. In 2009, she left then-husband Dean Sheremet for actor Eddie Cibrian, who was married to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills wife, Brandi Glanville. Some may argue that the song tries to justify the affair, but mostly "Borrowed" just explains what it's like it is like to fall in love with a married man. The two married in 2011 and are still together. So he wasn't actually borrowed if she married him, right?
11. Shirley Murdock — "As We Lay" (1986)
"I know you got to hurry home
To face your wife (whoa)
I would never want to hurt her
She would never understand
You belonged to me for
Just one night"
Unlike, Destiny’s Child, Shirley Murdock waited til her second album before she came out swinging. The soul singer effortlessly belts out lyrics on “As We Lay” almost making listeners sympathetic to her infidelity. Not glorifying the act, Murdock narrates the morning after a one night stand, where both participants have to return home to their respective partner. The song reappeared on the charts in 2000, when Kelly Price released the cover on her second album, Mirror, Mirror. Price's rendition of the song is only comical because her debut single was the complete opposite, when she sung of the betryal of her best friend messing with her man.
Check out BUST's Mistress Music playlist below, and see other playlists on spotify.
Top photo: Obsessed (2009)
Published October 24, 2017
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Bry'onna Mention is a digital editor at BUST and a wavvy womanist who is always ready to square up against misogynoir and respectability. She can usually be found running through the burbs with her ‘fro. Catch her on the internet at @radsadblackbry or firstname.lastname@example.org.