Ever since its inception in the 80s, hip hop has always been one of the more colorful and rapidly growing genres in recent memory.
During the 2000s, hip hop was starting to drift from the sounds of certain regions to music that is largely influenced by outside forces, like the radio, other genres, or even cultural events.
Here are some picks for some of the best that the 2000s had to offer in the hip-hop genre.
Our list of the best 2000s hip hop songs, enjoy!
Table of Contents
- 1. “1, 2 Step (ft. Missy Elliott)” by Ciara
- 2. “Stronger” by Kanye West
- 3. “Grindin’” by Clipse
- 4. “Low Class Conspiracy” by Quasimoto
- 5. “One” by Ghostface Killah
- 6. “We Takin’ Over (ft. Rick Ross, T.I., Akon, Birdman, Lil Wayne & Fat Joe)” by DJ Khaled
- 7. “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is…)” by Jay-Z
- 8. “Vaudeville Villain” by Viktor Vaughn
- 9. “They Say (ft. Kanye West & John Legend)” by Common
- 10. “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
- 11. “Sippin’ on the Syrup (ft. UGK & Project Pat)” by Three 6 Mafia
- 12. “Get Low (ft. Ying Yang Twins)” by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
- 13. Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’) (ft. Young Joc)” by T-Pain
- 14. “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” by Jay-Z
- 15. “Best I Ever Had” by Drake
- 16. “None Shall Pass” by Aesop Rock
- 17. “Kick, Push” by Lupe Fiasco
- 18. “Don’t Feel Right (ft. Maimouna Youssef)” by The Roots
- 19. “Day ‘n’ Night (Nightmare)” by Kid Cudi
- 20. “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliott
- 21. “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas
- 22. “Gold Digger (ft. Jamie Foxx)” by Kanye West
- 23. “B.O.R. (Birth of Rap)” by Lil B
- 24. “Hey Ya!” by OutKast
- 25. “The Salmon Dance” by The Chemical Brothers
- 26. “Feel Good Inc. (ft. De La Soul)” by Gorillaz
- 27. “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” by Jay-Z
- 28. “Many Men (Wish Death)” by 50 Cent
- 29. “Stan” by Eminem
- 30. “I’m Sprung” by T-Pain
- 31. “A Milli” by Lil Wayne
- 32. “Cupid’s Chokehold (ft. Patrick Stump)” by Gym Class Heroes
- 33. “All Caps” by Madvillain
- 34. “Int’l Players Anthem (ft. OutKast)” by UGK
- 35. “I Luv U” by Dizzee Rascal
- 36. “Right Thurr (Remix) (ft. Jermaine Dupri & Trina)” by Chingy
- 37. “Love Lockdown” by Kanye West”
- 38. “Doo Rags” by Nas
- 39. “Oh Boy (ft. Juelz Santana)” by Cam’ron
- 40. “Drop It Like It’s Hot (ft. Pharrell Williams)” by Snoop Dogg
- 41. “The Way You Move (ft. Sleepy Brown)” by OutKast
- 42. “Break Ya Neck” by Busta Rhymes
- 43. “99 Problems” by Jay-Z
- 44. “Dead and Gone (ft. Justin Timberlake)” by T.I.
- 45. “Hustlin’” by Rick Ross
- 46. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
- 47. “Lemonade” by Gucci Mane
- 48. “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West
- 49. “Lovin’ It (ft. Joe Scudda)” by Little Brother
- 50. “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast
- 51. “The Champ” by Ghostface Killah
- 52. “Clint Eastwood (ft. Del the Funky Homosapien)” by Gorillaz
- 53. “Slow Jamz (ft. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx)” by Twista
- 54. “Empire State of Mind (ft. Alicia Keys)” by Jay-Z
- 55. “Rapp Snitch Knishes (ft. Mr. Fantastik)” by MF DOOM
- 2000s Hip Hop Songs – Final Thoughts
1. “1, 2 Step (ft. Missy Elliott)” by Ciara
In the 2000s, if you were not on the dancefloor, you were not living.
Thanks to songs like “1, 2 Step,” hip hop ruled the clubs, having everyone show off who’s got the best moves and who deserves to stay on the back burner.
2. “Stronger” by Kanye West
Pop rap during the 2000s would change forever thanks to innovators like Ye.
After sampling Daft Punk of all people, Mr. West creates a fusion of pop, rap, and electronic music into an anthemic display of talent that was unheard of at the time.
3. “Grindin’” by Clipse
Forever being rapped on school cafeteria tables everywhere, Clipse and The Neptunes know how to make a real banger beat.
It’s nice to see that Clipse is slowly becoming a thing again and maybe, just maybe, we can find ourselves listening to some brand new music by the duo sooner rather than later.
4. “Low Class Conspiracy” by Quasimoto
Quasimoto, the rap persona of the infamous producer Madlib, comes through with something so left-field and out there that no one in the 2000s was prepared for.
When it comes to output, Madlib has always found himself being a quality and consistent ballplayer.
5. “One” by Ghostface Killah
After the success of the Wu-Tang Clan, many members drifted off into solo ventures and no one felt more prominent than Ghostface Killah.
After listening to songs like this off of “Supreme Clientele,” is that really much of a surprise that his material is so monumental?
6. “We Takin’ Over (ft. Rick Ross, T.I., Akon, Birdman, Lil Wayne & Fat Joe)” by DJ Khaled
Most people forget that DJ Khaled technically got his start in the 2000s.
“We Takin’ Over” showed the world that DJ Khaled had the ability to bring together musicians from all around into a song so massive and quality that he would continue to do this for decades to come.
7. “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is…)” by Jay-Z
A song about celebratory success, Jay-Z is one of the most successful musicians and entrepreneurs of the 2000s.
If there was anybody who deserves the success they have for what they’ve done for hip hop throughout multiple generations, it’s definitely Hov.
8. “Vaudeville Villain” by Viktor Vaughn
Known as the villain of hip hop, DOOM’s alter ego Viktor Vaughn brings energy unseen by him or any of his various pseudonyms.
Shifting from cool and relaxed to gritty and menacing, Viktor Vaughn brings new life into the 2000s hip hop scene and no song encapsulates that more than “Vaudeville Villain.”
9. “They Say (ft. Kanye West & John Legend)” by Common
Common speaks to his hater on this beautifully-produced track, talking about how he’s going to continue having his values of embracing afro-centrism even if he still strives for success.
There’s a big trend around hip hop musicians becoming huge figures in the music industry during the 2000s and it’s great to see the success they’ve found themselves.
10. “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
When it came to weird and left-field popular hip hop, M.I.A. always pushed the boundaries of what music sounds like.
In her biggest success to date, she finds herself on her most fun and enjoyable beat.
Make no mistake, however.
If you think going through the rest of her discography will be as conventional as “Paper Planes” then good luck.
11. “Sippin’ on the Syrup (ft. UGK & Project Pat)” by Three 6 Mafia
Being one of 2000s hip hop’s more underappreciated genres, Memphis rap birthed so many classic musicians in the genre.
Some of the more iconic ones even came from the extremely notable Three 6 Mafia, such as Juicy J, Gangsta Boo, DJ Paul, and more.
All of them and more are responsible for creating this almost strange side of hip hop that’s influenced so many artists in the upcoming decade.
12. “Get Low (ft. Ying Yang Twins)” by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
Crunk music took over the 2000s radio hip hop sound and back in the day, Lil Jon & The East Boyz ruled the crunk scene.
From their car-hopping beats to their unmatched energy, the posse proved that hip hop had so much steam left in it than people might have thought.
13. Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’) (ft. Young Joc)” by T-Pain
Mixing sensual and hip-swiveling aesthetics, T-Pain has always been a hit maker and pioneer in his own respect.
“Buy U a Drank” is nothing less than a beautiful look at how to make a song that’s fun, catchy, and well-written.
14. “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” by Jay-Z
It’s too often people pray for the downfall of other more successful individuals, whether that be for a good reason or not.
Jay-Z certainly doesn’t feel the love when he finds others wishing for his downfall, so he’s here to show that he’s not going down anytime soon.
15. “Best I Ever Had” by Drake
Before Drake became one of the biggest stars in the world, he was but a small Canadian rapper, trying to make it with an emotional sound that resulted in a lot of laughter and hate.
However, this song and everything else Drake was working on would later be copied by a whole generation of up-and-coming rappers, making him one of the most influential artists of the genre.
16. “None Shall Pass” by Aesop Rock
Taking a jab at society and the faults it showcases, Aesop Rock finds himself in an interesting position in the 2000s.
His slow rise in popularity would not come from your average hip hop listener, but rather those who enjoy a bit of esoteric wordplays in the mix.
Aesop Rock is always a man of the people, it’s just a matter of whether the people are willing to listen.
17. “Kick, Push” by Lupe Fiasco
A young Lupe Fiasco would find so much radio success with his later releases, but for now, it started here with his debut single, a song about, well, whatever you want it to be about.
Drug dealing, skateboarding, let this song play and you interpret it for yourself.
18. “Don’t Feel Right (ft. Maimouna Youssef)” by The Roots
Something doesn’t feel right and it’s not just The Roots that are feeling this way.
Politics and social inequality, this is only the surface of what Black Thought is looking at and finding holes in.
There are a lot of marginalized groups who’ve found success throughout the 2000s, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t far too many who found themselves in harm’s way due to the environment they were raised in.
19. “Day ‘n’ Night (Nightmare)” by Kid Cudi
Still seen as his biggest hit to date, Kid Cudi raps about using drugs to run away from his issues after the passing of his uncle.
What would then follow is a steady rise in popularity for him, with “Day ‘n’ Nite” continuing to be his crown jewel.
20. “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliott
Notable for her impeccable flows and wordplay, Missy has been wowing the hip hop crowds for decades and it’s during the 2000s that she shined the brightest.
Thanks to hits like this, she has found herself in conversations about being one of the best rappers of the 2000s, if not the best.
21. “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas
Being pop rap’s most successful group of the 2000s, The Black Eyed Peas had a lot of eyes on them and a lot of people who would criticize them for the music they made.
However, one can’t deny that their success had some validity to them.
With songs like this, pop rap was having this fresh and fun energy to it that we hadn’t seen in the same capacity.
22. “Gold Digger (ft. Jamie Foxx)” by Kanye West
Kanye’s knack for chopping samples is put on display here, with Jamie Foxx’s voice taking up most of the track while never feeling overbearing.
With both of their talents combined, they came together in such a way that was so grand and decade-defining.
23. “B.O.R. (Birth of Rap)” by Lil B
Always ten steps ahead of the rest of the genre, Lil B’s contribution to dreamy cloud rap is not to go unnoticed.
Had it not been for him and producers like Clams Casino, cloud rap wouldn’t be as huge as it is today.
Even just for that, Lil B will go down as one of the greatest of the genre.
24. “Hey Ya!” by OutKast
OutKast was composed of two members, both of which made their own albums and put them together into 2003’s “Speakerboxxx / The Love Below.”
Andre 3000’s biggest hit under the OutKast name, “Hey Ya!” would prove that he was a staple in the genre’s legacy, from the song’s fun grooves to its underappreciated lyrics.
25. “The Salmon Dance” by The Chemical Brothers
Mixing elements of electronic music with rapping from The Pharcyde’s Fatlip, comedy rap during the 2000s would find its peak here.
A song about how to dance like a salmon is absurd and a bit childish, but what these two forces would do would help people see that hip hop is also allowed to be fun and comedic too.
Unwind a little and try your best to follow the instructions!
26. “Feel Good Inc. (ft. De La Soul)” by Gorillaz
With one of the most iconic intros of any song, Gorillaz proved that it didn’t matter if a band is technically real if the emotion and intention are still there.
De La Soul and Damon Albarn complement each other so well in a singer/rapper combination and that chemistry would go unmatch during the rest of the decade.
27. “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” by Jay-Z
Before Jay-Z became the businessman he would later be, he was just your everyday rapper finding ways to have fun and pass the time.
He would express that through amazing production choices and smooth sampling.
Songs like this just proved how eclectic Jay-Z’s discography is.
28. “Many Men (Wish Death)” by 50 Cent
Plenty of people forget that hip hop has a lot of dark themes revolving around its creators.
Infamously, 50 Cent has found himself in near-death situations before and, rather than letting that fester inside, chose to let the world know through song.
What he went through isn’t uncommon in the genre and it’s necessary to see people like him speak up about this.
29. “Stan” by Eminem
In one of hip hop’s most telling songs, Eminem raps from the perspective of an obsessed fan, one who crosses the line in more ways than one.
Fame is a scary thing and songs like this address it at its most bare and heart-stopping.
30. “I’m Sprung” by T-Pain
It’s crazy how talented T-Pain has always been and, for a while, he was just reduced to the guy who uses autotune.
Even this song, one of his earliest hits, can go head to head with anyone’s whole discography and still come out on top.
31. “A Milli” by Lil Wayne
With classic after classic under his belt, Lil Wayne helped hip hop become the gigantic genre it was always destined to be with hit songs like “A Milli.”
Who could possibly hear this song and not think that it’s one of the craziest hip hop songs to ever hit the radio?
32. “Cupid’s Chokehold (ft. Patrick Stump)” by Gym Class Heroes
Crossing paths between the pop rap world and the punk scene wasn’t all that common during the 2000s, but Travie McCoy and Patrick Stump made it work.
Not only was the collaboration a major drawing point, but what Travie has to say about love is just too sweet for words.
33. “All Caps” by Madvillain
No one knew what they were in for when MF DOOM and Madlib decided to come together and create some of the most important music the genre has ever experienced.
“All Caps” is not just a classic 2000s rap song, but a message about respect for who MF DOOM is and always will be one of the greatest rappers in history.
34. “Int’l Players Anthem (ft. OutKast)” by UGK
One of the sweetest hip hop songs you’ll hear from this decade.
This song oozes class with its timeless instrumental and verses from some of the 2000s’ biggest names in hip hop.
35. “I Luv U” by Dizzee Rascal
Representing the UK, Dizzee goes a lot more hardcore than a lot of what general audiences are used to hearing.
But that bass!
If you wanna blow out your speakers then let this song play loud as hell at your next function.
36. “Right Thurr (Remix) (ft. Jermaine Dupri & Trina)” by Chingy
Crunk music had this energy to it that was just so bouncy, it made everyone drop whatever they were doing and get their groove on!
This song is one of the genre’s best examples of the infectious attitude it had on people.
Sometimes it’s sad to look back and realize that it’s all just a thing of its time.
37. “Love Lockdown” by Kanye West”
Kanye’s venture into a completely different style than what he’s shown from his previous material proved his versatility and persistence to move forward rather than staying in one place.
What resulted is, in my opinion, some of his best material and some of the more necessary tracks of his discography and of the 2000s.
38. “Doo Rags” by Nas
Nas is here to tell the world that he’s not going anywhere.
Taking more of a retrospective look, “Doo Rags” shows that Nas is still looking to keep the 90s alive, even if everyone is moving on from it.
39. “Oh Boy (ft. Juelz Santana)” by Cam’ron
If you’re really looking to take it back to the 2000s, you’re gonna need some Cam’ron in the mix.
For anyone looking to swivel their hips to this hit, make sure you scream every time you hear the word “boy.”
40. “Drop It Like It’s Hot (ft. Pharrell Williams)” by Snoop Dogg
Arguably one of the most quotable songs of the 2000s.
Snoop Dogg is just like Jay-Z and Kanye in the way that he’s surpassed just being a rapper.
He’s a figure, a household name even.
41. “The Way You Move (ft. Sleepy Brown)” by OutKast
From the horn-backed chorus to Big Boi’s knack for writing witty and fast verses, this song would be his biggest song if it wasn’t released under the OutKast name.
It’s great to see Big Boi get the flowers he deserves all these years later, as he was just as talented as his counterpart.
42. “Break Ya Neck” by Busta Rhymes
When it comes to fast rappers, there’re very few doing it like Busta Rhymes.
He’s not just someone who can rap at incredible speeds but he also knows how to bring gruff into the music he writes.
43. “99 Problems” by Jay-Z
Jay-Z magnum opus.
You don’t even need to have heard this song to know the phrase “I’ve got 99 problems but a _____ ain’t one!”
One of hip hop’s greats does it again.
44. “Dead and Gone (ft. Justin Timberlake)” by T.I.
T.I. lets us know that he’s no longer the person he was when he was younger, that he’s grown.
Growing up is a normal part of becoming the person you want to be, and T.I. is looking to get closer to the person he can feel represents him better than who he was yesterday.
45. “Hustlin’” by Rick Ross
Florida has always been a key factor in the growing genre of hip hop and it’s thanks to Rick Ross and “Hustlin’” that helped prove that.
Once you even think about this song you’ll have that chorus stuck in your head for days.
46. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
You don’t often find that an artist’s biggest song is from a soundtrack, but once Eminem released this song, it was a smash hit.
Spawning countless memes, the song has cemented itself in hip hop history.
47. “Lemonade” by Gucci Mane
Bright and colorful are only a few words that could describe this masterpiece.
Gucci Mane has been an icon for a long time but once you look back on earlier tracks like “Lemonade,” you start to wonder if he’s always been far more talented than we gave him credit for.
48. “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West
A breathtaking song that really needs no explanation.
Kanye West marches forward with this decade-defining classic, proving that he’s one of the greatest musicians working in the 2000s and right now.
49. “Lovin’ It (ft. Joe Scudda)” by Little Brother
With the song and music video allegedly being “too intelligent” for BET to show, Little Brother and Joe Scudda have proven that people can be too uncomfortable to listen to satirical interpretations of serious matters.
Making fun of minstrel shows, the group finds themselves speaking for matters that aren’t being spoken about by a large percentage of people.
50. “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast
Finally, an OutKast song performed by OutKast!
Andre 3000 and Big Boi show the world why they came together in the first place: because they are so damn good at what they do and what they do is make catchy and compelling music.
51. “The Champ” by Ghostface Killah
“He’s an animal, he’s hungry!”
Oh, we can tell.
The 2000s was a fantastic time to be a Wu-Tang fan, yet it’s crazy to see Ghostface not have the fruitful career that he deserves, especially when he has classic material like this.
52. “Clint Eastwood (ft. Del the Funky Homosapien)” by Gorillaz
A truly haunting single.
From its spooky intro to the music video attached, it’s no wonder that the song that brought Gorillaz into the spotlight would be seen as one of their best.
We also can’t forget the amazing verse by Del the Funky Homosapien, who basically takes over the whole track.
53. “Slow Jamz (ft. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx)” by Twista
During the 2000s, it wasn’t just enough that you could rap fast, you also had to know how to write a hook and make a whole song.
Twista was one of the blueprints for how to showcase talent while also making something enjoyable, with “Slow Jamz” being his best example of this.
54. “Empire State of Mind (ft. Alicia Keys)” by Jay-Z
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys come together to talk about their love for New York, as subject matter that isn’t all that unique but is still necessary.
Not too many rappers today really represent where they’re from and it’s great to be reminded how much someone loves their city.
55. “Rapp Snitch Knishes (ft. Mr. Fantastik)” by MF DOOM
After the bombastic release that was “Madvillainy,” DOOM very easily could’ve just laid back and let the success speak for itself.
If you’ve read your history books, you know that’s not how it went.
MF DOOM really knew how to feed his audience nothing but classic material throughout his career, with 2004 being the year he ruled best.
We miss you, DOOM.
2000s Hip Hop Songs – Final Thoughts
Hip hop throughout every decade has shown vital growth and developments, with the 2000s being no different.
From crunk to cloud rap to Memphis rap, these 2000s hip hop songs only scratched the surface of what the genre entailed during the decade.