10 Top Rap Songs of the 2000’s

Being one of the most creative decades in hip-hop, selecting the 10 top rap songs of the 2000's was difficult. At the end of the 1990's, with hip-hop titans Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. sadly taken from the world too soon, it was hard to imagine who would land on a list of top rap songs of the 2000's. But many rappers stepped up to fill the void, with 50 Cent and The Game starting a new East Coast-West Coast feud; Nas and Jay-Z starting and ending a New York-centric beef; a cadre of  Southern rappers bringing a new sound to the top of the charts; and Kanye West showing the world some great songs and a horrible ego. The best songs of the decade, however, came from a Detroit white boy and a couple of self-professed aliens from Atlanta.

  1. "B.O.B." by Outkast. Though the Atlanta duo of Big Boi and Andre 3000 produced bigger hits in the decade, including "Hey Ya!" and "Ms. Jackson", this sped-up, sonic tour de force takes the top prize. A jungle-influenced beat with a chorus singing "Bombs Over Baghdad" complement exceptional rhymes. Even though the song had nothing to do with Iraq, it took on extra significance when bombs really did rain down on Baghdad later in the decade.
  2. "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. The first rap song to win an Oscar, this theme from Marshall Mathers' autobiographical film "8 Mile" inspires listeners to lose themselves in the rhymes describing Eminem's use of music to escape his dreary reality in Motor City. 
  3. "Gold Digger" by Kanye West (featuring Jamie Foxx). Fresh off Kanye West's successful debut album "College Dropout" and Jamie Foxx's Oscar-winning role of Ray Charles in "Ray", the two teamed up for this hit single from West's second album, "Late Registration." If you play it, they will dance and sing along.
  4. "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco (featuring Matthew Santos). After appearing out of nowhere with his "Food & Liquor" album in 2006, he proved he truly was a rap superstar with this single from his 2007 album "The Cool."
  5. "One Mic" by Nas. Pronounced the next big thing in rap after 1994's "Illmatic" album, Nas finally lived up to the hype in the 2000's, starting with this hit from the 2001 "Stillmatic" album. Varying the pace of his rhymes and the beat throughout, Nas proved that with just one mic, he could spread his voice to the world.
  6. "99 Problems" by Jay-Z. A beef with Nas, a romance with Beyonce and a short-lived retirement were just some elements of Jay-Z's whirlwind decade, which included several big hits. This is the best song of the bunch however, with an electric beat and legendary rhymes.
  7. "Stan" by Eminem (featuring Dido). The most memorable rap song ever to deal with the travails of fame, this hit from "The Marshall Mathers LP" features Eminem speaking from the perspective of a crazed fan and then dealing with the consequences of his fan's actions. The haunting Dido hook completes a song that will live forever as one of the greatest story raps ever recorded. 
  8. "The Seed 2.0" by The Roots (featuring Cody ChestnuTT). One of the most talented and original groups in rap since 1993, The Roots reached the charts in 2002 with this lively combination of ?uestlove's funky drums, Cody ChesnuTT's mesmerizing neo-soul and Black Thought's machine-gun rhymes. 
  9. "So Fresh, So Clean" by Outkast. While "B.O.B." is the best song from Outkast's 2000 "Stankonia" album, this is the track you want to play at a party. The hook proclaims "Ain't nobody dope as me," and it's hard to argue that point.
  10. "America's Most Blunted" by Madvillain. A standout track from one of the best albums of the 2000's, this pairing of underground heroes MF Doom and Madlib is a tidal wave of frenetic rhymes, beats and sound clips.
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