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100 Best Rap Songs of the 2000s


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, grab your iPods, rev up your DeLorean. It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and explore the best rap songs of the 2000s.

100. T.I. & Jay-Z - "Swagga Like Us" (Feat. Kanye West & Lil Wayne)

© UMG/Atlantic

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. Soul Position - "The Cool Thing to Do"

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. N.E.R.D. - "Everyone Nose"

copy; Interscope

This hilarious paean to booger sugar had all the girls (and some fellas) fiendin' for N.E.R.D goodness.

97. Shyne - "Bad Boyz"

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. Atmosphere - "Yesterday"

"Yesterday," a standout cut from Atmosphere's When Life Gives You Lemons, finds Slug reminiscing about his father's days on earth.

95. Emanon - "The Words"

Exile serves up the poignant production on this moment of uplift from 2005's The Waiting Room.

94. Young Buck - "Driving Down the Freeway"

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. 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. Erick Sermon (ft. Marvin Gaye) - "Music"

"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. Nas (ft. Jay-Z) - "Black Republican"

© 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.

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