7 Biggest Hip Hop Hits Of The 2000s

The best of the best chart-topping rap bangers.

BYDemi Phillips
2000 hits

The 2000s was a significant and transformative decade for rap music, and birthed many hits as a result. This era saw the Hip Hop genre evolve in various ways. From the emergence of new subgenres to the rise of now-iconic artists, the decade was a remarkable one for Hip Hop. Furthermore, the increasing influence of Hip Hop culture on mainstream pop culture grew significantly. 

Artists like 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, and Kanye West, among many others, dominated the rap charts and beyond, making an indelible mark on the music industry. Music in the 2000s was rich and diverse, and artists delivered multiple hits in abundance. However, the decade had some defining tracks that shone brighter than the rest. These handfuls of massive hits cemented the genre’s mainstream appeal unlike ever seen before at the time. 

Read More: 7 No. 1 Rap Songs From 2010

Nelly - “Dilemma” Ft. Kelly Rowland (2002)

“Dilemma” is a timeless Hip Hop and R&B collaboration, and one of the most defining hits of the 2000s. Upon release, it gained prominence for its catchy melody, romantic lyrics, and iconic music video (and the misuse of Excel spreadsheets). It was released on June 25, 2002, as the second single from Nelly’s sophomore studio album, Nellyville. “Dilemma” was the rapper’s second consecutive number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, following Nellyville’s lead single “Hot in Herre.” The smash hit by Nelly and Kelly Rowland was an extraordinary commercial success, and ended the 2000s as the 11th biggest track on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2021, the song’s music video hit one billion views on YouTube. Moreover, “Dilemma” topped the Hot Rap Songs chart for 10 weeks.

Read More: 7 No. 1 Rap Songs From 2011

50 Cent - “In Da Club” (2003)

An iconic song from an equally iconic rapper, “In Da Club” is not just 50 Cent’s most recognizable song, but one of the 2000s biggest hits. The party anthem was widely lauded for its catchy lyrics and heavy production, courtesy of Dr. Dre. Additionally, it played a significant role in catapulting 50 Cent to stardom. Even now, two decades after its release, the song continues to be heavily streamed on digital platforms. “In Da Club” was an explosive commercial success, and peaked at number one on both the Hot 100 and Hot Rap Songs charts. Additionally, it rounded up the year 2003 as the number one song on both year-end charts. 

Read More: 7 No. 1 Rap Songs From 2012

Lil Wayne - “Lollipop” Ft. Static Major (2008)

“Lollipop” was released as the lead single from Lil Wayne’s monumental sixth studio album, Tha Carter III. It is a catchy and playful Hip Hop track that propelled Wayne to new commercial heights through its infectious melody and suggestive lyrics. Upon its release, “Lollipop” took over the radio, and dominated the charts as well. It topped both the Hot 100 and the Hot Rap Songs charts, and has since been certified Diamond by the RIAA. The song’s chart-topping success and mainstream appeal solidified it as one of the standout hits of the late 2000s, and one of the biggest Hip Hop tracks of the entire decade.

Read More: 7 No. 1 Rap Songs From 2013

Terror Squad - “Lean Back” (2004)

“Lean Back” was released on June 8, 2004, as the second single from Terror Squad’s sophomore album, True Story. The track is led by two prominent members of the collective, Fat Joe and Remy Ma. It didn’t take long after its release for “Lean Back” to climb to the very top of charts worldwide. Accompanied by a simple yet fun dance, it was a massive commercial hit and peaked at number one on several charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rap Songs charts. The track’s success and cultural impact cemented it as a notable moment in the Hip Hop landscape of the 2000s.

Read More: 7 No. 1 Rap Songs From 2014

Missy Elliott - “Work It” (2002)

“Work It” is undeniably one of Missy Elliot’s biggest hits and a defining single of the 2000s. It is also her most successful on the charts. She remains one of Hip Hop’s most influential female rappers of all time and has an impressive discography to support the claim.

“Work It” is known for its innovative production, including reversed lyrics and quirky sound effects. The record achieved widespread commercial success upon its release. It almost cinched the top spot on the Hot 100 chart, but ultimately had to settle for number two. It completely dominated the Hot Rap Songs chart, however, and stayed at number one for 12 weeks.

Read More: 7 No. 1 Rap Songs From 2015

Snoop Dogg - “Drop It Like It’s Hot” Ft. Pharrell Williams (2004)

The laid-back and minimalist production on “Drop It Like It’s Hot” proved that Hip Hop hits come in a number of different ways. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” was the lead single from Snoop Dogg’s seventh studio album, R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece. It achieved remarkable commercial success upon its release, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rap Songs charts. Additionally, it was the number one song on the decade-end Hot Rap Songs chart.

Read More: 7 No. 1 Rap Songs From 2016

Jay-Z - “Empire State of Mind” Ft. Alicia Keys (2009)

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys closed out the 2000s with a bang after they released “Empire State of Mind.” The track officially dropped on October 20, 2009, as the third single from Hov’s iconic album, The Blueprint 3. “Empire State of Mind” has broad mainstream appeal, and despite it being an ode to New York City, it attracted listeners from various backgrounds all over the world. It is a quintessential part of the 2000s decade, and one of the most successful Hip Hop hits of the decade as well. “Empire State of Mind” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rap Songs charts. It is also widely regarded as a classic in the Hip Hop scene.

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