"How to Love" (CD Single)

Music review by
Stephanie Bruzzese, Common Sense Media
"How to Love" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Popular with kids
Cleanest song yet from notoriously raunchy rapper.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 17 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Encourages a girl with a rough romantic past to believe in herself and never settle for less than the best.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Emphasizes that everyone should have a high sense of self-worth.


One euphemism ("dippin'") for oral sex.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One mention of drinking ("poppin' bottles") and "bartending."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that "How to Love" is one of the cleanest singles released to date by Lil Wayne. There's no profanity or violence and just one muted reference each to sex and drinking. Moreover, the song offers a positive message to girls and women, encouraging them to have high self-esteem. For younger teens who just have to listen to Lil Wayne, this is the best choice around.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAllie Pierson June 10, 2012
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written bykmichael97 July 31, 2011
Teen, 14 years old Written byspeyan727 September 11, 2018
Teen, 15 years old Written byCooltiger37 September 6, 2018

Lil Wayne's cleanest song

OK, while there's one mild profanity ("d--m") and a couple of veiled sexual references, this is probably Lil Wayne's cleanest song ever. Gra... Continue reading

What's the story?

"HOW TO LOVE" is the first single from Lil Wayne's fourth album, Tha Carter IV. In a complete about-face from most of his previous releases, the infamously explicit rap star uses no profanity or graphic descriptions of sex, substance use, or violence to make his point: that a woman who has dated a string of bad guys should stop settling for less than the best. The unusually introspective and positive lyrics include: "You can't have a man look at you for five seconds without you being insecure, you never credit yourself ... You had a lot of crooks tryin' to steal your heart, never really had luck, couldn’t never figure out how to love ... I just want you to know that you deserve the best, you're beautiful ... And I want you to know, you're far from the usual." Though the song does include one brief allusion to sex and another to drinking, it's still a fairly inspirational pick for younger rap fans.

Is it any good?

In "How to Love," Lil Wayne shows off his vocal chops, and to good effect. True, he's no Chris Brown when it comes to singing -- but he's no Kanye West, either. With Wayne's simple delivery and a mellow, uncomplicated groove, this track turns out to be a pretty sweet little love song.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Lil Wayne would make so many songs that describe disrespectful behavior toward females, then release a single promoting positive attitudes toward them. Is this a mixed message?

  • How can you be respectful of others? What does it mean to have self-respect?

Music details

  • Artist: Lil Wayne
  • Release date: June 27, 2011
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Cash Money Records
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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