Entertainment Music The 100 Best Rap Songs of the 2000s Share PINTEREST Email Print Big Boi and André 3000, making up the rap duo Outkast. Prince Williams/Getty Images Music Rap & Hip Hop Top Picks Basics Rock Music Pop Music Alternative Music Classical Music Country Music Folk Music Rhythm & Blues World Music Punk Music Heavy Metal Jazz Latin Music Oldies Learn More By Henry Adaso Henry Adaso has written about hip-hop since 2005 and founded the award-winning blog The Rap Up. He has written for "Vibe," MTV, Rap Rehab, and more. our editorial process Henry Adaso Updated May 25, 2019 These songs embody the spirit of the 2000s. Like the theme music to a good movie, they underscore a unique decade in hip-hop. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane and explore the best rap songs of the 2000s. 100 of 100 T.I. & Jay-Z - "Swagga Like Us" (Feat. Kanye West & Lil Wayne) Swagga Like Us - Jay Z (feat Kanye West, Lil Wayne and TI). Grand Hustle, LLC Kanye's braggart rhymes, Jay-Z's strong presence, Lil Wayne's unique delivery, and T.I.'s multi-syllabic flow make this a quadruple whammy of star power. T.I.'s star-stuffed single instantly became an inescapable radio hit, club banger, and summer staple in 2008. To crown it all, a heavily pregnant M.I.A. joined the boys onstage for a Grammy performance on her due date. Top that. 99 of 100 Soul Position - "The Cool Thing to Do" Soul Position - The Cool Thing to Do. Rhymesayers Recording Like your big brother giving you the "do good, live right" spiel before going away to college. But with a Rembrandt hanging behind him the whole time. 98 of 100 N.E.R.D. - "Everyone Nose" N.E.R.D performing live. Lester Cohen/WireImage This hilarious paean to booger sugar had all the girls (and some fellas) fiendin' for N.E.R.D goodness. 97 of 100 Shyne - "Bad Boyz" Shyne. Bad Boy Records You couldn't go anywhere in 2000 without hearing Barrington Levy's voice, followed by Shyne's gritty flow. Dude was practically on top of the world until a lousy club shooting sent him to jail and deflated his career. 96 of 100 Atmosphere - "Yesterday" Atmosphere When Life Gives You Lemons. Rhymesayers Recording "Yesterday," a standout cut from Atmosphere's, finds Slug reminiscing about his father's days on earth. 95 of 100 Emanon (Feat.Exile and Aloe Blacc) - "The Words" Emanon. Fat Beats Records Exile serves up the poignant production on this moment of uplift from 2005's The Waiting Room. 94 of 100 Young Buck - "Driving Down the Freeway" Young Buck. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Backed by Hi-Tek's ominously slamming beat and Dion's inspiring chorus, Young Buck and Outlawz invent a new genre: hardcorerapsoulnica. Check Buck Marley's comical rhymes from Buck Marley: "See when the sunshine come out, the Lamborghini somehow had the haters mad, looking at me with they tongue out." 93 of 100 Danger Mouse & Jemini - "Don't Do Drugs" Danger Mouse & Jemini - Don't Do Drugs. Lex Records The 2000s saw conscious rap crumble under the burden of sanctimonious sentiment. Jemini avoids that criticism by sarcastically urging kids to do drugs on a song titled "Don't Do Drugs," while Danger Mouse keeps the beat bubbly. 92 of 100 Erick Sermon (ft. Marvin Gaye) - "Music" Erick Sermon. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images "To relax my mind so I can be free" are the first words on Erick Sermon's "Music." Isn't that what comes to mind when we hear the words "music" and "Marvin"? Erick holds his own, but Mr. Gaye puts on a hell of a performance from the other side. 91 of 100 Nas (ft. Jay-Z) - "Black Republican" Nas & Jay Z. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images The reconciliation was just as historic as the battle. Rather than contrive a common ground, both men embraced their differences and left us with an event record. It was more than anyone had bargained for. 90 of 100 Murs & 9th Wonder - "And This Is For..." Murs and 9th Wonder. Definitive Jux Much was made about the growing purchasing power of white hip-hop fans. On the 9th Wonder-laced "And This Is For...," Murs imbues the topic with the insight, bite, and nuance it truly deserved. "Good music transcends all physical limits," Murs rhymed atop 9th's deft interpretation of "You're Winning" by Crackin'. 89 of 100 Nelly - "Hot In Herre" Nelly - Hot in Herre. Universal Records Nelly, in his prime, was a force to be reckoned with in the danceable-rap department. "Hot in Herre" was supposed to be a summer single, but the St. Louis native got more than he bargained for. It went on to become his first chart-topping single and inspired a remix craze that went on for years. 88 of 100 The Roots - "Rising Up" (Feat. Wale & Chrisette Michele) The Roots - Rising Up. Def Jam Records The glorious midtempo throb of "Rising Up" outshines everything on Rising Down. From the go-go drums to Chrisette Michelle's soulful chorus and Wale's flawless verse, this is what a hip-hop masterpiece sounds like. 87 of 100 Q-Tip - "Move/Renaissance Rap" Q-Tip - The Renaissance. Universal Motown It's bouncy enough for the club and frenetic enough for the gym. The second half of the song reminds us of the many reasons Q-Tip has managed to remain a strong force. With a flip of the beat, a bubbly rap song descends into a somber subway banger, as Tip recalls his days as a young MC. 86 of 100 Wale - "The Kramer" Wale - The Kramer. Allido/Interscope Records A usually lighthearted Wale gets serious on "The Kramer," in which he weighs in on the N-word debate. 85 of 100 Scarface - "On My Block" Scarface - The Fix. Def Jam Records Face's heightened spiritual awareness and ominous street tales on songs like "What Can I Do" and the Houston tribute "On My Block" helped make The Fix his second best album. Second only to The Diary. 84 of 100 Lil Wayne - "Dr. Carter" Lil Wayne. Ethan Miller/Getty Images Dwayne Carter dons his overalls and proceeds to stitch his ailing patients one after the other. Wayne devotes each verse to a specific element of hip-hop, doling out countless quotables along the way. 83 of 100 CRS - "Us Placers" Courtesy of CRS There's a certain magic to this song that I don't want to ruin by trying to dissect the ingredients. A sweet reminder of a time when CRS (Kanye, Pharrell, and Lupe Fiasco) teased us endlessly with the promise of a long-player. 82 of 100 Rakim, Nas, Kanye, & KRS-One - "Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)" Nike Label Three legendary MCs and one MC known for his legendary hubris celebrate Nike's Air Force 1. 81 of 100 Lupe Fiasco (ft. Jill Scott) - "Daydreamin'" Lupe Fiasco feat. Jill Scott - Daydreamin'. Atlantic Records "Daydreamin'" is a colorful blend of poetry, blues, and hip-hop. Philly sweetheart Jill Scott is on board to sweeten this riveting piece. 80 of 100 Jaylib - "The Official" Jaylib - The Official. Stones Throw Records Bass-heavy breaks and quirky samples surround the green-aided exchange between Dilla and Lib on this standout from 2003's Champion Sound. 79 of 100 Lifesavas - "HelloHiHey" Lifesavas - HelloHiHey. Quannum Projects Portland's Lifesavas paint a solemn and sincere portrait of life as an underground rapper, highlighting some frustrations and funnies that artists and fans can easily identify. The song's lighthearted vibe is apropos given Oregon's high depression rates. 78 of 100 J. Cole - "Lights Please" J. Cole. Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images On "Lights Please," the Roc Nation signee manages to cram an epistle's worth of social commentary into four minutes without wandering off into preachy territory. 77 of 100 Immortal Technique – "Dance with the Devil" Immortal Technique - Revolutionary Vol. 1. Viper Records Darkness permeates "Dance with the Devil" from start to finish, as Immortal Technique tells an elaborate tale of a man named Billy. Billy's hunger for social acceptance drove him to commit all sorts of atrocities. The song's hazed-out jazzy vibe, coupled with Tech's psychopathic recital, is incredibly chilling. 76 of 100 The Game - "Dreams" Wiz Khalifa (L) and The Game perform at the 2012 Closer To My Dreams Tour at Club Nokia on September 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images This is an imaginative masterpiece from Game's brilliant debut, 2005's The Documentary. 75 of 100 The Cool Kids - "Black Mags" The Cool Kids - Black Mags. CAKE, LLC The year of Chicago was 2007. Not only did the Windy City send three albums to 07's Top 10; it also introduced us to this cool duo. Their top single "Black Mags" is a sonic collision of different styles and genres, from hyphy to boom bap. 74 of 100 Blackalicious (feat. Cut Chemist) - "Chemical Calisthenics" Blackalicious- Blazing Arrow. MCA/Geffen Records If "Chemical Calisthenics" didn't help you ace your Chemistry class, you're doing it wrong. 73 of 100 Raekwon (feat. Cappadonna & Ghostface) - "10 Bricks" Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.. Pt II. Caroline Records/ICEH2O Records Raekwon serves up a certified Wu banger, alongside Ghostface Killah and Inspectah Deck. "10 Bricks" is a movie on wax, replete with vivid descriptions and rewind-worthy metaphors. 72 of 100 The Foreign Exchange - "All That You Are" The Foreign Exchange - Connected. The Foreign Exchange Music North Carolina MC Phonte teamed up with Dutch beatsmith Nicolay on 2004's Connected. Where most rappers tend to approach their side gigs lightly, Tay attacked every beat on Connected as if his career depended on it. One of his most memorable performances arrived on the Darrien Brockington-aided gem "All That You Are." 71 of 100 Devin the Dude - "Doobie Ashtray" Devin the Dude - Just Tryin' Ta Live. Rap-A-Lot Records/Rap-A-Lot 2K Records, Inc. Devin is known for propagating the green gospel. Usually, when he does so, it's because he has trouble on his mind. When he's down and out, his doobie is all he has. But when you take away his refuge, it's like stealing a fat kid's lunch. Luckily for us, some mean bastard took his doobie away and Devin lived to tell the beautiful tale of "Doobie Ashtray" possible. 70 of 100 Cam'ron - "I Hate My Job" Cam'rom - I Hate My Job. Asylum Records/Diplomatic Man Cam'ron's recession rap anthem captures the frustrations that peppered the global economic turmoil. "Why am I workin' here? It ain't workin' here, it ain't worth it here/I'm never gone persevere," Cam raps on "I Hate My Job." 69 of 100 Jay-Z (ft. Alicia Keys) - "Empire State of Mind" Jay-Z and Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind. IDJ/S. Carter Enterprises, LLC distributed as Roc Nation More of a standout than any of Jigga’s rhymes is the brilliant display of exceptionally strong vocals from Ms. Keys. Imagine if Jay-Z teamed up with Nas and Rakim for a remix. A brother can dream, right? 68 of 100 Terror Squad (feat. Fat Joe & Remy Ma) - "Lean Back" Terror Squad - True Story. Universal Records/Rifkind Entertainment If you partied at the dawn of the century, you must have encountered this bouncy trifle at some point. Best of all, it went down easy no matter what kind of dance you were doing in the club. 67 of 100 Rich Boy - "Throw Some D's" Rich Boy. Interscope Records Rich Boy made a splash in 2006 with his ubiquitous hit single, "Throw Some D's," which spawned a kabillion remixes, including the one that ultimately set off Kanye West's campaign for Graduation. 66 of 100 Snoop Dogg (ft. Pharrell Williams) - "Drop It Like It's Hot" Snoop Dogg (feat. Pharrell Williams) - Drop It Like It's Hot. Geffen Records Snoop dropped this one in the hovering humidity of '04 and watched it sit on No.1 for three weeks. By now, everyone had learned one thing: never bet against The Neptunes. 65 of 100 Mos Def - "Quiet Dog Bite Hard" Mos Def - Quiet Dog. Downtown Records Mighty Mos Def blends Fela Kuti-inspired funk with Kanye-esque 808s for an uncanny hip-hop anthem. 64 of 100 Nas - "Black President" Nas. Island Def Jam Music Group/Columbia Records Aside from Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, no other event garnered hip-hop support like the 2008 presidential election. Nas and a bunch of others made something of a contest out of documenting the historic election. "Black President" took Pac's skepticism ("we ain't ready to see a black president") and turned it into a positive assertion of progress in U.S. politics. 63 of 100 Ghostface Killah - "The Champ" Ghostface Killah - The Champ. Island Def Jam Music Group Just Blaze does his best Mathematics impression on this "Mighty Healthy" sequel. Perfect ring walkout jam. 62 of 100 50 Cent - "Many Men (Wish Death)" 50 Cent - Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. Shady Records/Aftermath Records/Interscope Records As deadly as the bullets that pierced his skin and nearly claimed his life. 61 of 100 Jurassic 5 - "What's Golden" Jurassic 5 - Power in Numbers. Interscope Geffen (A&M) Records "What's Golden" hearkens to Jurassic 5's mission statement. Merging conscious rhymes with old-school beats was the forte. And they held onto those values all the way to the end of the group's run in 2007. 60 of 100 Ludacris (feat. Pharrell Williams) - "Southern Hospitality" Ludacris - Back for the First Time. Island Def Jam Music Group Spun by The Neptunes, "Southern Hospitality" grew to be a club requisite in the early 2000s. That unmistakable bling tug filled the floor quicker than a money rain. 59 of 100 Brother Ali - "Uncle Sam" Brother Ali - The Undisputed Truth. Rhymesayers Entertainment Brother Ali rails against the status quo. Sorta like Ron Paul without the political baggage. 58 of 100 Chamillionaire (ft. Krayzie Bone) - "Ridin'" Chamillionaire - The Sound of Revenge. Universal Records Cham's octane-flow approach is only rivaled by the fast-tongued Krayzie Bone here. It's arguably the biggest hit to ever come out of Texas. This one was so hot it inspired Weird Al's "White & Nerdy" remix. 57 of 100 The Streets - "Blinded By The Lights" The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free. Pure Groove, Ltd./69 Recordings Ltd. Mike Skinner's A Grand Don't Come for Free was a flawless album. It relies on a simple plot: a boy loses money, gets a girl, loses the girl, finds the money. "Blinded by the Lights" is a smart, intense bit from the narrative that encapsulates the protagonist's helplessness. 56 of 100 Jadakiss (feat. Anthony Hamilton) - "Why" Jadakiss - Why (featuring Anthony Hamilton). Ruff Ryders Jadakiss hooked up with Havoc and Anthony Hamilton for a moment of reflection on a wide array of social issues. The Common-aided remix is equally fascinating. 55 of 100 Elzhi (feat. Royce Da 5'9") - "Motown 25" Elzhi - The Preface. Fat Beats This giddy lyrical back-and-forth is a good enough reason to pick up eLZhi's The Preface. El and fellow Motor City MC Royce engage in a fierce rhyming contest over Black Milk's sample-heavy concoction. "Motown 25" is four minutes of non-stop multi-syllabic rhyme schemes. 54 of 100 Aesop Rock - "Daylight" Aesop Rock - Daylight. Block Block Chop "Daylight" is the perfect theme song for a walk through a cold night. It's the very song that helped spur the Def Jux revolution. A modern masterpiece. 53 of 100 Wu-Tang - "Gravel Pit" Wu-Tang Clan - Gravel Pit. SBME Strategic Marketing Group/BMG Music When Antoine Duhamel scored the French TV miniseries Belphegor in 1965, he didn't expect RZA to turn it into a rap hit 35 years later. I would've liked to be a fly on the wall to see Duhamel's reaction when he first heard this gem of a song. 52 of 100 Jay Z (ft. UGK) - "Big Pimpin'" Jay Z - Life and Times of S. Carter. Roc-A-Fella Records/Roc Nation/IDJ Oh man, the good ol' days when Timbaland was cranking out club knockers every other Tuesday. Jiggaman and UGK teamed up to give us this sure-shot in the summer of 2000. And if you happened to be a UGK fan back then, you probably recall doing backflips as soon as you heard Bun go, "It's the big southern rappin' pimp Presario." 51 of 100 Kid Cudi - "Day 'N' Nite" Kid Cudi. G.O.O.D./Dream On/Universal Records Kid Cudi's trippy psych-jam became the go-to song for lonely stoners in the 2000s. Little did we know, at the time, that Cudi planned to make a career out of stoner jams. 50 of 100 M.O.P. - "How About Some Hardcore" M.O.P. - To the Death. J-Love M.O.P. made considerable strides in the 2000s because of songs like "How About Some Hardcore" and "Ante Up." Respect is due. 49 of 100 Trae - "Swang" Trae - Restless. Starz Music/BCD Music Group Well, it's heavy, compelling, a deeply moving jam that sucks you in until you're devoid of sunlight. A classic eulogy that nails the job it wasn't trying to do in the first place. 48 of 100 Madvillain - "All Caps" Madvillain. Stones Throw Records MF DOOM reached the height of his creativity in the 2000s. This ebullient jawn from his collaboration with Madlib captured the two in top form. 47 of 100 Kanye West (feat. Dwele) - "Flashing Lights" Kanye West. Manny Carabel / Getty Images Already a respected producer, Kanye West demonstrates his sonic range on "Flashing Lights." He doesn't disappoint on the mic either: "Martin with no Gina,” he quips on “Flashing Lights,” while Dwele rides shotgun. 46 of 100 J Dilla - "Time: The Donut of the Heart" DC Loves Dilla - 9th Annual Tribute and Fundraiser (2014). fuseboxradio/Flickr.com "All I Do Is Think of You" is a favorite among Jackson 5 fans. The ballad, which appears on Jackson 5's Moving Violation, is also one of the group's most sampled tunes. A slightly faster, albeit equally melancholic, version of the song is the framework for Dilla's "Time: Donut of the Heart," off his critically-acclaimed 2006 album, Donuts. The Roots later used the same track as for the album closer, "Can't Stop This" on 2007's Game Theory. 45 of 100 T.I. - "Rubber Band Man" T.I. Jeff Golden / WireImage David Banner serves up an orchestral sound-bed, while The King kicks street wisdom to young trappers in the struggle. You can play this at a retirement home and watch old souls get excited about a line dance. 44 of 100 Reflection Eternal - "Four Women" Reflection Eternal - Train of Thought. Rawkus Entertainment, LLC Reflection Eternal's debut, Train of Thought, will go down as one of the best hip-hop albums of the 2000s, thanks to timeless tunes like "The Blast" and "Four Women." Nina Simone's beautiful art survives on this sprawling epic, as Kweli confronts the social pain afflicting black women everywhere. 43 of 100 Jay Electronica - "Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)" Jay Electronica. Brad Barket/BET/Getty Images Jay Electronica is no ordinary rapper. And "Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)" is no ordinary rap song. Jay flips the theme music from Eternal Sunshine into a gorgeous hip-hop gem. Powerfully plumbed with acoustic guitar, though the production is lo-fi. Its simplicity only accentuates the sound of Jay’s heartbreaking. No hip-hop song in recent memory captured so perfectly the sentiment of despair and the possibility of hope. 42 of 100 The Roots - "Here I Come" The Roots. Greetsia Tent/WireImage/Getty Images This song has enough bounce to get your adrenaline flowing any day, any weather. 41 of 100 Jay Z - "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" Jay Z. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images In the midst of his battle with Nas, Jay-Z needed a magical moment. Kanye came to his rescue on the back of this Jackson 5-sampling anthem from The Blueprint. 40 of 100 ABN - "No Help" ABN - It Is What It Is. Rap-A-Lot/SoSouth Music Distribution Once that deceptively smooth piano loop drops, you immediately think these guys are about to sing you a lullaby. Instead, they kick you in the teeth. "First of all, f--k you to every one of y'all." Wait, what are those things standing upright at the base of your skin? 39 of 100 Brother Ali - "Forest Whitiker" Brother Ali - Shadows on the Sun. Rhymesayers Entertainment This is the hymn of a man at peace with the sound of his own voice. As subtle as T-Pain's "You Don't Have to Like Me" tattoo. 38 of 100 Dizzee Rascal - "Fix Up, Look Sharp" Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up Look Sharp. XL Recordings Orbiting around a bombastic Billy Squire sample, "Fix Up, Look Sharp" grabs your ear instantly and keeps ringing even after the last note has dropped. 37 of 100 Freeway (feat. Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel) - "What We Do" Freeway. Roc-A-Fella Records Roc-A-Fella was the dominant crew of the decade. Long before Beans went rogue, the Roc's top three MCs joined forces to craft this street masterpiece. 36 of 100 El-P - "Drive" El-P. Def Jux Records Tense, dark, paranoid. "Drive" starts out with El spewing lines like, "C'mon ma, can I borrow the keys? My generation is carpooling with doom and disease." Classic El-Producto rocking the world, one anxious thought at a time. 35 of 100 OutKast - "Ms. Jackson" OutKast. Rick Diamond / WireImage / Getty Images Andre 3000 and Big Boi, in their creative ebullience, dazzled with 2000's Stankonia. Arguably their best LP, Stankonia, scored 5 mics in The Source and spawned three of the year's most popular songs: the ferocious "B.O.B.," the swaggerlicious "So Fresh, So Clean," and this here baby-mama-drama anthem "Ms. Jackson." 34 of 100 AZ (ft. Nas) - "The Essence" AZ Aziatic. Universal Motown Records AZ and Firm partner trade rhymes on, "The Essence", which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group. 33 of 100 Akrobatik - "Remind My Soul" Akrobatik - Remind My Soul. Play Aktion/EMI On this underappreciated gem, Akrobatik reminds his peers to be careful about what they're teaching the younguns. Ak's code of ethics is simple: If it makes Bob Marley turn in his grave, don't do it. 32 of 100 Eminem - "Lose Yourself" Eminem - Lollapalooza 2011. EMR/Flickr.com Eminem's songwriting prowess is part of what made him one of the premier MCs of the 2000s. "Lose Yourself" has the double gift of being both an inspirational speech and an instructional manual. Em instructs you to "lose yourself in the moment," while the beat motivates you to move your feet. Perfect for a mid-tempo workout session. 31 of 100 Missy Elliott (feat. Ciara & Fat Man Scoop) - "Lose Control" Missy Elliott. Myrna Suarez/Getty Images Strong songwriting and instrumentation as well as respect for influences. In other words, pure joy crystallized into an impossibly catchy dance cut. 30 of 100 Jay Z - "Takeover" Jay Z performing in Philadelphia. Arik McArthur / FilmMagic / Getty Images Musically accessible, but no less intriguing than "Ether." Mature, nuanced, and rife with unexpected metaphors. This will probably go down as the greatest challenge ever posed in a head-butting contest. 29 of 100 Nas - "Ether" Nas, Hamburg/Germany 2003. Mikamote/Wikimedia Commons Nas' esoteric yet wittily ferocious response to Jay-Z's "Takeover" helped clinch his victory in the battle for New York supremacy. It's undoubtedly one of the greatest diss songs in the history of hip-hop. 28 of 100 Rhymefest - "Angry Black Man on an Elevator" Rhymefest performing live in the U.K. Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images Classic Rhymefest humor ("I'm Saddam, except I got weapons") sprinkled with Classic Rhymefest musings ("They sold MySpace for $500 million/They sold YouTube for $1.6 billion/And you're in the project fighting over a building"). Theme music for any revolution. 27 of 100 Ghostface Killah - "Shakey Dog" Ghostface Killah performing at The Meadows Festival. Taylor Hill/Getty Images Too many songs on Fishscale either veered too far left of Wu mantra or stuck too close to home. "Shakey Dog" worked because it found that sweet spot in the middle. 26 of 100 Kanye West (ft. Lupe Fiasco) - "Touch the Sky" Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West. Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Few newbies ever get an opportunity to split a single with a big enchilada. When Kanye used the chart-topping "Touch the Sky" as a vehicle to ferry Lupe Fiasco to the big scene, Lupe seized the opportunity and gave one of the most memorable guest performances of the decade. 25 of 100 Eminem - "The Way I Am" Eminem. Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images Unlike many of the tracks on 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, there are no targets. No punching bags, either. Just Eminem defending his sheer existence as an unapologetic, foul-mouthed, lyrically-equipped artist who can't stand boy bands. 24 of 100 50 Cent - "In Da Club" 50 Cent. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images 50 struck gold with this Dr. Dre concoction from his debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin'. "In Da Club" sat atop every chart in every country and scored a few Grammy nods for Fif. The song that had college kids chanting "Go shawty, it's your birthday" regardless of what day or month it was. 23 of 100 Aasim - "Hip-Hop 101" Aasim. Ray Tamarra/Getty Images Aasim is not a household name, but he should be. His flow on "Hip-Hop 101" is crispier than vanilla wafers. His rhymes are sharper than a Samurai ginsu. The beat, courtesy of the late great Roc Raida, will have you reaching for Bengay from too much head bobbing. Among the greatest rap songs of all time. 22 of 100 OutKast - "Hey Ya" Andre 3000 of Outkast performing at The Grammy Awards. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images While everyone else was preoccupied with the next big bassline, Andre 3000 kept it simple. The ingredient for this runaway smash? One mindless phrase repeated over and over and over and over until it becomes irresistible. 21 of 100 Lil Wayne - "A Milli" Lil Wayne - 2009 BET Awards. Kevin Winter/Getty Images Weezy goes on a free-verse rampage, rambling about everything under the sun. But you simply can't turn it off because his flow is so damn infectious. 20 of 100 Missy Elliott - "Get Ur Freak On" Missy Elliott with Grammys. Vince Bucci/Getty Images Missy quickly became a favorite in the 2000s on the strength of her progressive production and innovative videos. "Get Ur Freak On" is a testament to her array of artistic strengths. It combines disparate elements that have no business being in the same pot together: Indian strings, tribal drums, Chinese gibberish. The result is a cohesive gem that sent ripples across the airwaves. 19 of 100 Jay Electronica - "Exhibit C" Jay Electronica. Prince Williams/Getty Images “Exhibit C” embodies everything people admire about Jay Electronica—a combo of compelling confessionals and convincing boasts, delivered in a charismatic manner. Jay’s imagery is impressive. But it’s only one part of the equation. The other part comes from Just Blaze’s musically rich soundboard. A dense soundscape of shimmering piano licks over a classic breakbeat and thumping bass is the recipe for an instant banger. Hey hip-hop, your future is in safe hands. 18 of 100 Mike Jones - "Still Tippin'" (Ft. Slim Thug and Paul Wall) Mike Jones. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images How many artists can claim to have placed their hood on the map with just one single? The H-Town triumvirate of Mike, Slim, and Paul should be somewhere near the top of that list for spearheading Houston's momentary chokehold on hip-hop. Loud and languorous, "Still Tippin'" captured the essence of southern hospitality in 2004. 17 of 100 M.O.P. - "Ante Up" M.O.P. Scott Gries / Getty Images Mash Out Posse came out the door with a loud bang and sustained that intensity throughout the 2000s. "Ante Up" is further proof that their albums should come with the following warning sticker: "Repeated listens may lead to violence against things." 16 of 100 Royce Da 5'9" - "Boom" Royce Da 5'9". Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images In this corner wearing green trunks, representing Detroit, Royce da 5'9"! "Boom" is the sound of a heavyweight champ sparring with himself. 15 of 100 Big Boi - "Royal Flush" Big Boi performing at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square New York for the Advertising Week party. David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons (CC by 3.0) Outkast and Raekwon hadn’t collaborated since Aquemini and this track – with an amazing closing verse from Andre –showed us why they needed to do it again. Though Big Boi and Raekwon dropped some memorable lines here, you'll remember 3K's verse even after "Royal Rush" has pumped out its last note. Then you hit the repeat button. 14 of 100 Talib Kweli - "Get By" Talib Kweli. Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images This jam about survival helped Kweli make the transition from member of a dynamic duo to a strong solo artist. 13 of 100 The Game - "Hate It or Love It" (Ft. 50 Cent) The Game performing with his son at the BET Awards. Michael Caulfield Archive/Getty Images We may never know exactly how much of this song was 50's idea, but one thing is certain: "Hate It Or Love It" is a winner. Too bad, 50 doesn't craft hooks like this anymore. 12 of 100 Kanye West - "Diamonds (From Sierra Leone)" Kanye West 2015 VMAs. Michael Tran / Getty Images Most impressive is how seamless Kanye's social commentary and Shirley Bassey's extolling of diamonds mesh. 11 of 100 T.I. - "What You Know" TI. Johnny Nunez/Getty Images Ahh, the good ol' days when every rap single posed a question to the listener. What you know about that? 10 of 100 Dead Prez - "Hip-Hop" Dead Prez. Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images A bouncy anthem simultaneously showcasing DP's versatility and underlining their commitment to activism. 09 of 100 UGK - "Int'l Player's Anthem" The Pimp and The Bun -- RIP Pimp C. Udbhav Gupta/Flickr.com Two revered groups merge forces for the first time and yield a pulverizing hip-hop moment. From the goofy concept to the way the beat is tailor-made to suit each artist, "Int'l Players Anthem" is flawless. It doesn't matter if you're a backpacker, a purist, or a southern rap aficionado, this is one anthem you won't forget anytime soon. 08 of 100 Clipse - "Grindin'" Clipse. Hannah Maule-Ffinch / Getty Images The pared downbeat and thumping bass made this a solid club banger and one of the strongest singles of the 2000s. 07 of 100 Nas - "One Mic" Nas. Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images "One Mic" builds up gradually and explodes into a torrent of explosive rhymes. One of Nas' finest moments. 06 of 100 Lupe Fiasco - "Kick, Push" Lupe Fiasco. Don Arnold/WireImage Lupe’s skateboard anthem made the world take notice of the Chi-Town MC’s push for the return of the art of storytelling sorely needed in this decade. 05 of 100 Kanye West - "Jesus Walks" Taylor Hill/FilmMagic West demonstrated that a rap song could marry the mainstream to the Messiah and make it both sonically dynamic and commercially viable. 04 of 100 Eminem - "Stan" The Concert for Valor in Washington, DC Nov. 11, 2014 -- Eminem. EJ Hersom/DoD News (Publicly shared via Wikimedia Commons) "Stan" unmasks a vulnerable Eminem, one that turns up the pathos several notches while barely raising his voice. Dido's ethereal crooning adds more soot to the tale. 03 of 100 Jay-Z - "P.S.A." Jay Z. Roc-a-fella Records It's impossible to fully appreciate the genius of this concert favorite until you've seen hip-hop fans leap up in excitement as Jay-Z delves into an exercise in lyricism. 02 of 100 Common - "The Light" Common -- NYC 2003 in Taxi. Mikamote/Wikimedia Commons Produced by the late great J Dilla and inspired by Common's ex Erykah Badu, "The Light" warmed up many nights throughout the 2000s. It was musical irrigation to our souls the first time it washed over the summer airwaves. 01 of 100 OutKast - "B.O.B." OutKast. outkast.com They couldn't have foreseen the emergence of Vuvuzelas or Octomom's prominence, but they had everything else covered on "B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad)" The gulf war, political imbalance, and global warming never sounded so good. A frenetic drum blast supplies the backdrop while the chorus gets its riveting effect from a group of children now old enough to enlist in the military. OutKast used the eerily prescient "B.O.B." as a missile metaphor to challenge their peers to go hard or go home: "Don't pull the thang out unless you plan to bang."