40. ABN - "No Help"
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?
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.
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. El-P - "Drive"
Tense, dark, paranoid. "Drive" starts out with El spewing lines like, "C'mon ma, can I borrow the keys? My generation is car pooling with doom and disease." Classic El-Producto rocking the world, one anxious thought at a time.
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."
AZ and Firm partner trade rhymes on, "The Essence", which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group.
On this underappreciated gem, Akrobatik reminds his peers to be careful about what they're teaching the youngins. Ak's code of ethics is simple: If it makes Bob Marley turn in his grave, don't do it.
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.