If you are a fan of rap music, you cannot forget the iconic 2000s rap tracks. From Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” to OutKast’s “Hey Ya!”, these songs have stood the test of time and continue to be popular even today. In this blog post, we will take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the best 2000s rap tracks that defined an era. We’ll cover everything from Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality” to Lil Wayne’s “Dr. Carter”, and explore what makes these songs so special. So whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking for some new tunes, read on to discover the best 2000s rap tracks that you definitely do not want to miss.
Nostalgia Alert: Revisiting Iconic 2000s Rap Tracks
Relive the golden age of hip hop with these iconic rap songs from the 2000s. Travel back in time with Kanye West’s anthem “Jesus Walks” or get down to the beat with 50 Cent’s club banger “In Da Club.” Feel the heat with Nelly’s summer jam “Hot in Herre” or get freaky with Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On.” From Ludacris’ catchy hit “What’s Your Fantasy” to Jay-Z’s New York-inspired track featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss, these hip hop classics defined an era.
Kanye’s Anthem: “Jesus Walks”
“Jesus Walks” by Kanye West was a game-changing hit during the 2000s rap era. Its incorporation of religious themes into mainstream music was unique and groundbreaking. The song’s impact on Kanye’s career was immense and helped pave the way for more socially conscious rap music. In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the lyrics and musical composition of this iconic track.
50 Cent’s “In Da Club”
“In Da Club” by 50 Cent is a classic track that achieved immense popularity upon its release. Its catchy opening line and music video have become iconic pop culture references. Over the years, many artists from various genres have covered or remixed the song. It won numerous awards at the Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Song.
Pharrell’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
Pharrell Williams’ hit track “Drop it Like It’s Hot” from the 2000s rap scene remains popular today with its catchy beat and unique production style. Featuring Snoop Dogg, the track won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the Grammy Awards in 2005 and was accompanied by an iconic music video directed by Paul Hunter set in a futuristic world. Incorporating key artists such as Snoop Dogg and the Wu-Tang Clan, Pharrell’s track helped shape the evolving hip-hop scene of the time.
Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality”
With “Southern Hospitality,” Ludacris made his mark on the top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100. The distinct southern sound of the track includes references to his hometowns of Atlanta and New Orleans. Ludacris showcases his signature witty lyrics and flow in this catchy hit. The music video features a lively block party scene with fellow Atlanta-based rappers Outkast and Lil Jon making guest appearances.
Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”
Released in 2002, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” remains one of his most iconic and popular rap songs. With its motivational lyrics and driving beat, it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song- the first rap song to receive the prestigious award. Interestingly, Eminem wrote and recorded the entire track in one take while on set filming for “8 Mile”. Today, this popular rap song continues to inspire fans around the world.
OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson”
OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” is a timeless classic of the early 2000s hip hop scene. Released in the year 2000, this iconic track instantly became a hit among fans of the genre. The lyrics were inspired by André 3000’s real-life relationship with fellow artist Erykah Badu, making it a relatable and emotional masterpiece. The accompanying music video tells a heartwarming story that complements the song beautifully. It’s no wonder that “Ms. Jackson” continues to be one of OutKast’s most beloved tracks to date.
Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”
Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” is an all-time favorite among hip-hop enthusiasts. It was part of the golden era of hip hop that saw new artists emerge such as Kanye West and Ludacris. The song keeps you hooked with its infectious beats and lyrics that are still relevant today. Nelly’s unique style and energy make him one of the most loved rappers ever.
Jay-Z’s “PSA” is a masterpiece that displays his skills as a rapper. This track has The Doors’ sample and has become an iconic in the world of hip-hop. It stands as a testament to the creative genius of Jay-Z and remains one of the most beloved songs of the 2000s rap era.
UGK’s “International Players Anthem” feat. Outkast
“International Players Anthem,” the timeless collaboration between UGK and Outkast featuring a sample from Willie Hutch’s “I Choose You,” has solidified its place as one of the most beloved tracks in the rap genre. The music video adds to its appeal with its humorous and unlikely wedding setting. It’s no surprise that this classic track has been sampled and referenced in many other hip-hop songs over the years.
Considered one of the greatest diss tracks ever, Nas’ “Ether” targets rival Jay-Z with scathing lyrics and clever wordplay. Cementing his reputation as a top lyricist in hip hop, Nas showcases his skills on this iconic 2000s rap track. With its hard-hitting lyrics and unforgettable beats, “Ether” remains a classic in the genre. Secondary keyterms used: Jay-Z, diss track, scathing lyrics, clever wordplay, top lyricist, hard-hitting beats.
Mike Jones’ “Still Tippin’” feat. Slim Thug and Paul Wall
Released in 2005, Mike Jones’ “Still Tippin'” feat. Slim Thug and Paul Wall is a classic Southern rap track that captures the essence of early 2000s hip-hop. This iconic collaboration between three Houston rappers features a catchy beat and memorable lyrics that still resonate with fans today. Jones’ verses flow effortlessly alongside those of Slim Thug and Paul Wall, creating a perfect harmony for this beloved rap anthem.
Ja Rule’s “Clap Back”
Ja Rule’s “Clap Back” is an iconic example of rap music in the early 2000s. With its aggressive beats and lyrics that hit back against rival rappers who had dissed him in their own tracks’, it continues to be loved by fans of hip hop. The track showcases Ja Rule’s lyrical prowess as a rapper and remains a testament to his talent even today.
Cam’ron’s “Oh Boy” feat. Juelz Santana
Released in 2002, “Oh Boy” by Cam’ron featuring Juelz Santana quickly climbed the charts, reaching the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track is known for its catchy beat, signature flow, and memorable lyrics that continue to resonate with fans of 2000s rap. With this hit collaboration, Cam’ron and Juelz Santana solidified their status as emerging stars in the hip-hop world. Other notable rap songs from this era include hits from artists such as Kanye West, Eminem, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, OutKast, Nelly, Nas and many more.
Twista’s “Slow Jamz” feat. Kanye and Jamie Foxx
Released in 2003, ‘Slow Jamz’ by Twista featuring Kanye and Jamie Foxx is an iconic example of early 2000s rap songs. The song showcases Twista’s fast-paced flow with a sample from Luther Vandross’s “A House Is Not a Home.” Kanye boasts about his success while giving shoutouts to other rappers such as Jay-Z and R.Kelly. Jamie Foxx provides the soulful chorus adding nostalgia to the hip hop scene of the early 2000s. Other artists like Jay-Z, Nas, Ludacris, Eminem, and Outkast also gave hits that are still enjoyed today.
Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”
Released in 2009, Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” is one of his most popular songs. The smooth melody and romantic lyrics resonated with listeners, propelling it to the top of the charts. This hip-hop classic showcases Drake’s signature style and stands out among other iconic rap songs from the 2000s such as 50 Cent’s “In Da Club,” Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” and Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” featuring Pharrell Williams.
Ciara’s “Goodies” feat. Petey Pablo
Ciara’s “Goodies” featuring Petey Pablo was an instant hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The catchy beat and empowering lyrics resonated with fans, while Petey Pablo’s Southern flair added a unique touch. The song cemented Ciara’s status as a rising star in the music industry. With its unforgettable melody and iconic status, “Goodies” continues to be enjoyed by fans of 2000s rap across the world.
Immortal Technique’s “Dance With the Devil”
The iconic track “Dance With the Devil” by Immortal Technique is an influential cult classic in early 2000s rap music. It tells a vivid story of a young man’s descent into crime and violence with a haunting beat that showcases the darker side of hip hop. Immortal Technique’s lyrical prowess has made him one of the most influential rappers ever to grace the mic.
OutKast’s “B.O.B.” is an iconic hip hop song from the early 2000s that showcases the group’s unique style. The track features a fast-paced beat and powerful lyrics that combine elements of rap, rock, and electronic music, making it both innovative and timeless. With its high-energy sound and boundary-pushing approach, “B.O.B.” stands as a hallmark of the hip-hop genre.
Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” feat. Alicia Keys
In 2009, Jay-Z released “Empire State of Mind” featuring Alicia Keys, paying tribute to New York City. Celebrating the city’s landmarks and people with lyrics that touch on themes like success and perseverance, this hip-hop anthem has remained a classic. Its memorable beat makes it distinct among other iconic 2000s rap tracks featuring artists like Eminem, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne, OutKast and more.
Lil Wayne’s “Dr. Carter”
Lil Wayne’s “Dr. Carter” is a prime example of 2000s rap music. Released in 2008, this song highlights Lil Wayne’s incredible lyricism and storytelling abilities as he takes on the role of a doctor saving hip hop from decline. As one of the most prominent rappers of his time, Lil Wayne was able to create a track that embodies the essence of true hip hop while still remaining relevant in today’s rap scene. Other notable artists from this era include Kanye West, OutKast, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Jay-Z.
Ludacris’ “Move Bitch” feat. Mystikal and I-20
In 2002, Ludacris released “Move Bitch” featuring Mystikal and I-20 as part of his album ‘Word of Mouf’. The fast-paced beat and aggressive lyrics took the hip hop scene by storm. The song tells a story of frustration on the road and demanding the other drivers to move aside. It became an instant classic and a signature track for Ludacris. Other notable rap songs from the 2000s include hits from artists like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliott, Outkast, Nelly, Jay-Z, Nas, Mike Jones, Juelz Santana and more.
Wu-Tang Clan’s “Gravel Pit”
Released in the early 2000s, Wu-Tang Clan’s “Gravel Pit” showcases the diverse creativity of rap music with its unique blend of hip hop and rock music. Featuring powerful verses from every member of the clan, this song continues to be a fan favorite. Wu-Tang Clan’s “Gravel Pit” highlights the best of 2000s rap, drawing inspiration from both hip hop and rock genres.
Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On”
Released in 2001 and featuring a unique blend of hip-hop and Indian music, Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On” showcases her versatility as an artist. Its catchy beat and memorable lyrics have made it a timeless classic that is beloved by fans of 2000s rap. With its infectious rhythm and Missy’s impeccable flow, this track is a must-listen for any true hip hop head.
T.I. & Jay-Z’s “Swagga Like Us” feat. Kanye West & Lil Wayne
In 2008, T.I. & Jay-Z’s “Swagga Like Us,” featuring Kanye West & Lil Wayne, won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the Grammys. Sampling MIA’s “Paper Planes,” this hit track pays tribute to the artists’ formidable impact on hip-hop. With its polished production and all-star lineup, “Swagga Like Us” remains an anthem of rap’s golden age that no playlist is complete without.
Freddie Gibbs’ “Thuggin’”
With gritty lyrics and a hard-hitting beat, Freddie Gibbs’ “Thuggin’” (2012) pays homage to the classic gangsta rap of the ‘90s. This track showcases Gibbs’ lyrical skills while representing a different era of rap music. Fans of 2000s rap can appreciate this tribute to old-school hip hop without missing out on the modern lyricism and production.
Common’s “The Light”
“The Light” by Common is an iconic classic love song from the 2000s rap era. With its smooth production and heartfelt lyrics, this track perfectly captures the essence of early hip hop. Revisiting this hip-hop gem will transport you back in time to a nostalgic era of hip hop. With its timeless appeal and exceptional musical artistry, “The Light” still remains one of the most beloved tracks from that era.
Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down”
Released in the mid-2000s, Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down” was a huge hit that reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song features a heavy bass line and fast-paced flow that makes it perfect for dancing, working out, or just pumping up your mood. With its catchy chorus and memorable lyrics, the track has become a classic party anthem that people still love to groove to today. Other iconic rap songs from the early 2000s include hits from artists like Eminem, Jay-Z, Ludacris, OutKast, Nelly, and many others.
Lil Mama’s “Lip Gloss”
Released in 2007, Lil Mama’s “Lip Gloss” quickly became an anthem for young women everywhere. Encouraging listeners to be confident and celebrating individuality, the song is a popular example of 2000s rap music. With its catchy beat and memorable lyrics, Lil Mama’s hit is still enjoyed today by fans of the genre.
Kanye West’s “All Falls Down”
Kanye West’s “All Falls Down” was a standout track on his debut album ‘The College Dropout’ that explored themes of materialism and self-image. With its soulful production and thought-provoking lyrics, it cemented Kanye’s position as one of the most innovative voices in hip hop. This classic track is still widely celebrated within the genre and remains a fan favorite to this day.
Wu-Tang Clan’s “Back in the Game”
With gritty lyrics and classic East Coast hip-hop sound, Wu-Tang Clan’s “Back in the Game” was part of their critically acclaimed album “The W” – exhibiting raw energy and innovative production. Undoubtedly a fan-favorite even today, this track reflects the perennial appeal of early 2000s rap music.
Big Tymers’ “This Is How We Do”
Big Tymers’ “This Is How We Do” is one of the standout tracks from the early 2000s rap scene. With its catchy chorus and Southern hip-hop sound, it remains a favorite at parties and events. Released around the same time as other classic tracks such as Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” and OutKast’s “B.O.B.”, “This Is How We Do” helped define the era’s hip-hop scene. Despite being more than twenty years old, Big Tymers’ anthem still resonates with fans today.
Eminem’s “Stan” is an emotionally powerful ballad about an obsessed fan from the 2000s rap era. The song narrates the story of a crazed fan named Stan, whose fixation on Eminem leads to disastrous consequences. Featuring poignant storytelling and impactful lyrics, “Stan” is still considered one of Eminem’s best songs and continues to be beloved by fans worldwide.
Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys’ “Get Low”
Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys’ “Get Low” was one of the most popular rap tracks of the early 2000s. This classic hit song dominated the charts with its infectious chorus and iconic crunk sound. Its catchy beat and playful lyrics make it a perfect party anthem even today. With other great 2000s rap songs like Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” and Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”, “Get Low” continues to inspire new generations of rap artists.
Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” feat. Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg teamed up on the iconic track “Drop It Like It’s Hot” in 2004. This simple yet infectious anthem took over the airwaves and dominated the charts. With its minimalist beat and catchy lyrics, it quickly became a fan favorite. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and even won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Its impact can still be felt in today’s hip-hop music scene. Featuring Pharrell Williams, this classic is often cited as one of Snoop Dogg’s most significant contributions to rap music.
Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy” feat. Shawna
Hip hop fans still can’t get over Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy” featuring Shawna, which is one of the most iconic songs from the 2000s rap era. Ludacris’ flawless rhyming technique blends perfectly with Shawna’s seductive vocals, making this track a must-listen for any rap enthusiast. The song’s explicit yet catchy lyrics are still relevant today and continue to dominate the playlists of many music lovers. This collaboration between two amazing rappers sets an unparalleled standard that continues to inspire new generations of artists.
Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’” feat. UGK
Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin'” is one of the early 2000s’ most iconic rap songs. Released in 2000, it features a sample from an Egyptian song and was well-received by critics. With contributions from Texas hip-hop duo UGK and catchy verses, the track remains a classic even today.
T.I.’s “What You Know”
Released in 2006, T.I.’s “What You Know” is a fan favorite featuring the rapper’s signature flow and hard-hitting lyrics. The track remains highly popular among fans of 2000s rap music and continues to feature on radio stations and playlists for parties. The success of the track helped establish T.I. as one of the leading rappers of his time, alongside artists like Kanye West, Ludacris, Eminem, and Jay-Z.
Nelly’s “Ride wit Me” feat. City Spud
Released in the year 2000, Nelly’s “Ride wit Me” feat. City Spud peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been a classic party anthem ever since. The song features a catchy beat that is still widely popular across generations. “Ride wit Me” remains one of Nelly’s most adored tracks even today as it continues to be played at parties worldwide.
Immortal Technique’s “Point of No Return”
With its powerful lyrics highlighting social issues like police brutality, government corruption, and economic inequality, Immortal Technique’s “Point of No Return” established the rapper as a socially conscious artist. His passionate delivery of thought-provoking lyrics stirred emotions within listeners. The track reflects the political climate of the early 2000s rap scene and solidified Immortal Technique’s position among hip hop’s most influential voices.
Big Boi’s “Royal Flush” feat. Andre 3000 and Raekwon
Big Boi’s “Royal Flush” is one of the most beloved 2000s rap songs featuring Andre 3000 and Raekwon. With its smooth beat and catchy hooks, it remains a classic even today. The song’s lyrics delve into themes like street life, success, and loyalty, making it one of the most memorable collaborations in hip-hop history.
Eminem’s “The Way I Am”
Eminem’s “The Way I Am” is a track from his debut album “The Marshall Mathers LP”. In this 2000s rap song, Eminem highlights his own struggles with fame and media criticism through honest and raw lyrics. The track showcases his signature aggressive style of rapping, making it a thought-provoking listen for fans of hip hop. With its powerful message and iconic status, “The Way I Am” remains a classic piece of the 2000s rap music scene.
OutKast’s “Hey Ya!”
OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” is an iconic 2000s rap song that took the world by storm. The track’s infectious beats and catchy lyrics made it a party favorite across the globe. Praised for its blend of pop and rock with hip-hop, “Hey Ya!” remains a popular choice at clubs and parties even today. With its unique sound and chart-topping success, it secured Outkast’s place in music history.
Beanie Sigel’s “Feel It in the Air” feat. Melissa Jiménez
Beanie Sigel’s “Feel It in the Air” ft. Melissa Jiménez was a hit rap song of the 2000s that dealt with mortality, loss, and redemption. The haunting melody and introspective lyrics make it one of the most memorable tracks of its time. This song was sampled by Jadakiss and J. Cole, showing its impact on future hip hop music. The ethereal vocals of Melissa Jiménez blended perfectly with Beanie Sigel’s rapper style to create an unforgettable sound.
Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘n’ Nite”
Released in 2008, Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘n’ Nite” marked the debut of rapper Kid Cudi. With its blend of rap and electronic sounds, the track has become a hip-hop classic. Focusing on themes of loneliness and anxiety, “Day ‘n’ Nite” remains popular among fans of early-2000s rap music.
Jay-Z’s “New York” feat. Fat Joe & Jadakiss
“Jay-Z’s ‘New York City’ ft. Fat Joe & Jadakiss pays homage to the city’s hip-hop culture with catchy piano riffs and hard-hitting drums that complement Jay-Z’s flow perfectly. It remains an iconic rap song of the 2000s that still resonates with fans of the genre worldwide.”
What Are the Best 2000s Rap Tracks?
The 2000s were a remarkable time for rap music, and many tracks from that era remain iconic. “99 Problems,” “In Da Club,” and “Lose Yourself” are some of the best-known songs. Others, such as “Hey Ya!” and “Gold Digger,” stand out as well. Choosing the best 2000s rap tracks is subjective and varies based on individual preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
How has the rap genre evolved since the 2000s?
The rap genre has diversified with the emergence of sub-genres like trap and mumble rap. While lyricism is still important, some artists prioritize catchy melodies and beats. Social media and streaming platforms have changed music promotion. Hip-hop culture now extends beyond music to influence fashion, language, and dance.
Can listening to nostalgic music have a positive impact on mental health?
Studies suggest that listening to nostalgic music can boost mood and alleviate stress by evoking positive memories. However, it’s vital to discover new music instead of relying only on nostalgia for mental wellbeing. While familiar music provides comfort, novelty can also provide a refreshing sound and experience.
The early 2000s was a golden era of rap music that brought us some of the best tracks of all time. From Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” to Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality,” these tracks have left an indelible mark on the genre and continue to be loved by fans today. There are so many unforgettable songs that it’s hard to pick just one favorite, but we’ve compiled a list of some of the most iconic tracks from this era. So, whether you’re feeling nostalgic or discovering these gems for the first time, check out our list and share your favorites on social media!