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Aux Cord Chronicles

Aux Cord Chronicles III: Come Through

70 songs to spin after that magical message

Come through.

It’s the late-night invitation so powerful it can induce a reaction reminiscent of LeBron James and J.R. Smith‘s after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals — or that time Martin hit the lottery. So influential is the mere sight of the three dots bubbling in iMessage that other, entire, well-constructed plans can be destroyed with two syllables — come through. Ever been out with friends and one randomly says they’re “out”? Like, leaving? And they do so with a grin or smirk? “Studies” have shown 63.4 percent of the time this is the result of a “come through” text or direct message. Yes, I just made that number up. And, no, there are no damn studies. So what? As we were.

The very idea of #ComeThrough is fascinating. The invitation itself is like Snapchat: Here today, gone tomorrow. The thrill of the anticipation. The thrill of daydreams becoming nighttime realities. The whole concept of intimacy and, dare I say, lust. And the phenomenon is only made better with the proper music. Every superhero (sender and receiver) needs theme music and every great occasion needs its soundtrack. Sometimes the drive and/or wait takes no more than five minutes. Sometimes it’s a good 30-45 minutes. Regardless, mental preparation is vital and music is the key to unlocking the door to the land of temporary milk and honey. But as a disclaimer, understand these two truths about the latest installment of #AuxCordChronicles:

  1. It’s not a cuffing season playlist. Or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. That’s in the works. This is for the ride over. Not once you drop your keys off on the kitchen island.
  2. These are not the end all, say all, be all. That’s where the community comes in. Shoot your suggestions over for the other 50-‘leven tracks that inevitably didn’t make the cut. You bunch of heathens, you.

Enough talking, though. From Bill Withers to Betty Wright to Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug to Marvin Gaye to PartyNextDoor to Janet Jackson to Beyoncé to Trey Songz’s 2009 classic and so many more, let’s get it.

Barbara Mason — Yes, I’m Ready (1965)

The song’s been covered by everyone from Gladys Knight & The Pips to Teri DeSario to KC of KC & The Sunshine Band and, yes, Cam’ron and The Diplomats, but Mason’s self-penned original is the sweetest and the realest.

Aretha Franklin — Dr. FeelGood (1967)

Don’t send me no doctor / Fillin’ me up with all of those pills / I got me a man named Dr. Feelgood / And, oh, yeah, that man takes care of all of my pains and my ills. Enough said.

Bill Withers — Use Me (1972)

Was this song based on Withers’ unsuccessful marriage to Denise Nicholas? You won’t care when he sings I want to spread the news / That if it feels this good getting used / Oh, you just keep on using me / Until you use me up.

Marvin Gaye — Come Get To This (1973)

When dealing with the gawd of this #ComeThrough ish, it would have been easy to go with the classic Let’s Get It On. But this one? Gaye will have you feeling like Billy Dee Williams. I’m talking like on some “unbutton the top three buttons on your shirt and grab a Colt 45”-type cool. The OG speaks so much game on here. **pats brow**

Betty Wright — Tonight Is The Night (1974)

“I like the music, the melody sure sounds nice. But I know you’re not gonna sing that song!” — Wright’s mother.

The Isley Brothers — For the Love of You (Pts. 1 & 2) (1975)

Helping get minds right 41 years and counting.

Con Funk Shun — [Let Me Put] Love On Your Mind (1979)

Let me be the one / To put a smile in your life. From the eternal Candy album, it gets directly to the actual point of the matter.

Rick James & Teena Marie — Fire & Desire (1981)

“Come through” texts weren’t yet a thing yet when Rick James and Teena Marie dropped this bona fide classic. But this joint had to have been a mainstay in Cadillac Coupe de Villes with the white-wall tires for occasions like this.

The Whispers — Say Yes (1981)

Have. You. Ever. Been. Kissed … and we’ll leave it right there.

Prince — Do Me, Baby (1982)

Here we are / In this big old empty room / Staring each other down / You want me just as much as I want you / Let’s stop fooling around. Indeed. Or you could just go with Soft and Wet.

Sade — The Sweetest Taboo (1985)

From cassette tapes to CDs to iPods to Bluetooth speakers, a timeless, sensual song that sounds as good in the ride to the bedroom as in the bedroom itself.

Ready For the World — Let Me Love You Down (1986)

Obviously.

Freddie Jackson — Nice ‘N Slow (1988)

I was only a toddler when this song came out, but I can’t begin to tell you how many cookouts I heard this song at growing up. And judging by older folks’ reactions, they really, really, really liked ol’ Freddie’s jam.

Tony! Toni! Tone! — Me & You (1991)

I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. I. Don’t. Care. This is one of the coldest songs of all time.

Jodeci — Feenin’ (1993)

Everyone has that one person who’s like a fire hydrant. You don’t want to use the fire hydrant, but in case of emergency, you break the glass.

The Notorious B.I.G. — One More Chance (Remix) (1994)

Biggie made the late-night creep seem as effortless as his flow.

TLC — Red Light Special (1994)

Fun fact: A young Boris Kodjoe stars in the video. Funner fact: Had Left Eye had her way, the video would’ve been about how she burned Andre Rison’s house down. Thankfully, cooler (no pun intended) heads prevailed and a young Tins’ love of T-Boz blossomed even more.

LL Cool J feat. Boyz II Men — Hey Lover (1995)

The song that immediately starts playing the moment you get that 1:30 a.m. “go to sleep” text. Bonus: The Loungin’ (Remix) with Total, too. LL Cool J (aka Drake 1.0) really made these type of songs look too easy in the ’90s.

Faith Evans — Soon As I Get Home (1995)

For when you’re in the doghouse and you’ve got damage control to begin the moment the door opens.

Case feat. Foxy Brown — Touch Me, Tease Me (1996)

Ayo, Foxy Brown really floated on this something crazy. And shout-out to the days when movie soundtracks mattered and artists could wear one outfit the entire video and make it shake. Case wore the backward Cincinnati Reds cap and Jerry Rice jersey the whole video.

Aaliyah Come Over (1996)

Can I come see you / I know you’re sleep (you’re sleep) / But you’re on my mind (my mind) / And I’m wide awake (awake) / And I wanna stop by (come on cover) / So can you get up and get out of the bed / ‘Cause I wanna see you. YAHTZEE! I mean, c’mon, this song is the literal interpretation of a list like this. R.I.P., Babygirl.

Keith Sweat Nobody (1996)

Because The Undefeated’s Marc Spears would kill me if Sweat wasn’t on here.

Tupac Shakur — How Do You Want It (1996)

For the second verse. Am I a fool or what? Really for everything.

Missy Elliott feat. Ginuwine — Friendly Skies (1997)

If Friendly Skies sounds familiar, you’re thinking of Drake’s Bria’s Interlude from 2009’s So Far Gone, a hell of a record in its own regard. But the original is too damn player not to show love to.

Too Short feat. Lil’ Kim — Call Me (1997)

Given their NSFW (not safe for work) track records, it made sense that Short Dog and Kimmy Blanco combined ratchet Wonder Twin powers for a record featured on, what else, the Booty Call soundtrack.

Xscape — My Little Secret (1998)

Infidelity isn’t cool, my people. I can’t stress that enough. But … I’ll be damned if some fire music hasn’t been made about it. Over and over and over again.

Ginuwine — None Of Your Friend’s Business (1999)

You know your friends said ol’ boy/ol’ girl was bad for business. But you don’t care. Clear your mind with this OG classic.

Janet Jackson — I Get So Lonely (1999)

It’s one thing to get the “come through” text. It’s a totally different joy to get the “come through” text from The One, though. Let the record show, too, this was on my playlist before Brother President decided to do his own version of Aux Cord Chronicles.

The Roots feat. Musiq Soulchild — Break You Off (2002)

Self-explanatory.

Floetry — Getting Late (2002)

Because no great story really starts before 10 p.m. anyway.

Raphael Saadiq feat. D’Angelo — Be Here (2002)

You kind of forget how cold this was.

Outkast — “Vibrate” (2003)

I’m no longer one of those people who get all bent out of shape over never getting a new OutKast album or solo Andre 3000 project. But it’s songs such as Vibrate that make relapsing so tempting.

Usher — That’s What It’s Made For (2004)

Confessions is the defining R&B project of the 2000s. And it’s on that album where peak Usher delivered the greatest song sequence of his career from Bad Girl to That’s What It’s Made For to Can U Handle It to Do It to Me. In terms of this list, however, nothing gets the mind racing on the drive over quite like Figured I’d hit and quit it just one night/ Got so good to me doubled back twice.

Lloyd — Feels So Right (2004)

Much like the show Everybody Hates Chris, Lloyd has never gotten the respect he deserves. This record, in particular, was a, well, Samuel L. Jackson’s favorite word.

G-Unit feat. Joe — Wanna Get To Know You (2004)

Laugh all you want, but this knocked.

Destiny’s Child — Cater 2 U (2005)

Beyoncé reached an entirely new level of sexy when she offered to put her man’s do-rag on. Also, I really included this to have a reason to link to a moment that’s still hilarious more than a decade later: Beyoncé snatching Terrence Howard’s soul straight out of his chest.

Pharrell — Take It Off (2006)

The summer of 2006 was a great time for music and Pharrell’s solo project In My Mind was a big reason why. And Take It Off remains a big reason for the album still sounding so fresh 10 years later.

The-Dream — Playin’ In Her Hair (2007)

Bruh, listen. You had to be there when The-Dream came on at the absolute right time. Which reminds me, a “best of” playlist from Terius “The-Dream” Nash would be appreciated on so many levels.

Ciara — Promise (2007)

When this song came out nine years ago, Russell Wilson (now the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and husband to Ciara) was redshirting at North Carolina State University and drafted by Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles. What does this have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. “Promise,” though, definitely became a go-to staple at historically black college house parties in the summer of 2007. I can personally attest to that.

Usher feat. Beyoncé & Lil Wayne — Love In The Club (Remix) (2008)

The original with Jeezy was fire. But, here, we’ve got Beyoncé talking about possible voyeurism and a totally in his prime Lil Wayne being every bit of what a totally in his prime Lil Wayne was. It answers itself, for real, for real.

Trey Songz — On Top (2009)

As a fellow Virginian, I feel 100 percent confident saying Anticipation is the best project Trey Songz has ever done. This is about as sensual as R&B got in the 2000s.

Lil Wayne — Single (2009)

A truly standout song from the truly standout 2009 mixtape No Ceilings. The hook is still money seven years later. It’s impossible to get the truest appreciation for this song unless in the whip, at night, on a mission.

The-Dream — Fancy (2009)

Or, as it is known in certain parts of the world, “the greatest song of all time.”

T-Pain & Lil Wayne — Damn Damn (2010)

I’ll never forgive my generation for turning on T-Pain the way we did after Jay Z’s 2009 track D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune). It’s disgusting, really. Staying on topic, though, T-Pain’s massive 2008 single alongside Lil Wayne, Can’t Believe It, was also one of his smoothest. But the real low-key gem the unofficial tag team produced? This one. It’s also another depressing reminder of how incredible that T-Wayne project could’ve been had it ever seen the light of day.

Erykah Badu — Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long (2010)

It could be just me. But this is one sexy song.

Lil Boosie — Greenlight Special (2011)

Even gangstas have a romantic side, too.

Wale feat. Jeremih and Rick Ross — That Way (2011)

Two tough Wale verses? Check. Witty one-liners like TSA be laughing, all them rubbers in your luggage? Check. Rick Ross’ flow seamlessly riding the beat? Yep. That, too. But it’s Jeremih’s hook here that ties everything together.

Rihanna feat. Future — Loveeeeeee Song (2012)

It’s really baffling that these two haven’t made more songs together.

Miguel — Arch & Point (2012)

Or, in other words, press play on the intro to 2012’s Kaleidoscope Dreams and let the vibes take you two the rest of the way.

Ty Dolla $ign feat. trey songz & kirko Bangz — 1st Night / 4 A (Remix) (2013)

Life happens, ya know. Sometimes, you’re out and you meet someone. And, well, let Ty Dolla Levert take it from here.

PartyNextDoor — Break From Toronto (2013)

Nearly went with Persian Rugs, but this is one of the quintessential late-night drive tracks from PartyNextDoor. And in a catalog that has all but dedicated itself to that exact vibe, that’s saying something. You know what? Add Persian Rugs, too.

Wale feat. Tiara Thomas — Bad (2013)

The version with Rihanna became the hit. The version with Tiara Thomas was that fire.

Beyoncé — Rocket (2013)

Mrs. Knowles-Carter with an opening line for the ages. FOR THE AGES!

Drake — Come Thru (2013)

Debate him, his music and his passive-aggressiveness all you want. It’s probably all warranted. But what’s not up for debate is no one makes better late-night, “hey, big head” music than the 6 God. Well, maybe, except for PartyNextDoor. #YouDeserveRoundsTonight

Rich Gang — Freestyle (2014)

The first Rich Gang mixtape (Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan) had its fair share of replay-worthy monsters from Tell ‘Em, Milk Marie and the crossover smash Lifestyle. But for that late-night ride to vibe out to? Give me this one.

YG feat. TeeFLii — Do It To Ya (2014)

My Krazy Life was the best album of 2014. My Krazy Life is also a modern-day classic. Capisce? Now that that’s settled and we’re all in agreement, can I just say how I’m still in awe how YG and DJ Mustard flipped one of the definitive West Coast anthems into their own new-age mainstay? Because I am.

Drake — Days In The East (2014)

I’m terrible at inviting myself, call me over. Yeah. Straight to the point. No clue how that works for anyone who doesn’t have the No. 1 album in the country, but, yeah.

Ro James — Permission (2015)

The video, for the most part, takes place in an actual car, making it automatically eligible for this list. The real winner, however, is Willie Hutch’s Brother’s Gonna Work It Out, which has been inspiring dope rap and R&B records since the days of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic.

Jeremih — Drank (2015)

In all honesty, there could, would and probably should be a Jeremih-only post for these type of songs. But in the interest of rules, this dark liquor-influenced ode about a night of bad decisions fits in quite well.

Bryson Tiller — Don’t (2015)

It could be raining sideways at quarter to 3 a.m. But Tiller’s hit will inspire you toward the end destination on your GPS.

Tinashe feat. Young Thug — Party Favors (2015)

You’ve gotta admit. Tinashe Tinsley really does have a ring to it, you know?

The Weeknd — Tell Your Friends (2015)

The beat, yo. It’s the beat.

Future — Rich $ex (2015)

Or, for the less financially free crowd, direct deposit.

Dvsn — Too Deep (2015)

In too deep, don’t wanna pull out is one hell of a double entendre. He’s talking about the relationship, damm it! Get your minds out the gutter, people.

Rihanna — Kiss It Better (2016)

With Work, Needed Me and Too Good at the party, Kiss It Better for the ride over and Sex With Me when things get heated, Rihanna is legit the soundtrack to a wild night.

Chance The Rapper feat. Justin Bieber and Towkio — Juke Jam (2016)

For when y’all have a lot of history that only y’all two could ever truly understand.

Big Sean and Jhené Aiko (Twenty88) — On The Way (2016)

The hook literally says it all. FYI, too, Twenty88 is a top-five project of 2016 if we’re keeping score at home.

Anderson .Paak feat. The Game & Sonyae Elise — Room In Here (2016)

First things first, Anderson .Paak’s 2016 album, Malibu, could very well be the finest of the year come December. Secondly, Room In Here just sounds like a song you’re playing as you’re getting off the highway and you get the “where r u?” text. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Also, The Game’s verse? Buddy flexed something crazy.

Jacquees — Body Right (2016)

Excuse the fact that Birdman’s newest protegé bears an uncanny resemblance to Lil Wayne. Because that’s absolutely not weird at all. But the point is buddy has some pretty hitting songs, Body Right being one of them, perfect for those early morning highway excursions.

PartyNextDoor feat. Drake — Come And See Me (2016)

PartyNextDoor’s music is essentially a flashing neon light “come through” advertisement. Case in point: his 2016 subdued cut with that other artist on OVO. Truth be told, too, the entire P3 album fits here.

Justin Tinsley is a culture and sports writer for The Undefeated. He firmly believes “Cash Money Records takin’ ova for da ’99 and da 2000” is the single-most impactful statement of his generation.