Trying to compile a list of the top 10 Hip Hop albums of the 2000s is no easy feat, but we’re going to try and do it anyway!
As Hip Hop celebrates turning 50 this year, it’s only right we look back at some of the monumental albums that helped shape this incredible genre.
Today we’ll take a deep dive into the rap albums from the year 2000 to 2009. A simpler time. A time before social media took over our lives. A time before smartphones took over, well, everything. A time when we began to transition from physical copies of our favorite albums to everything becoming digital… for better or for worse.
In the year 2000, the average gallon of gas cost about $1.32. Oversized clothes were all the rave and Shaq and Kobe were dominating the NBA.
The good old days. But, what about the music? For many, the 2000s was the best era Hip Hop has ever seen.
With all that said, let’s take a look at some of the best rap albums of the 2000s! Please note the following list is in no particular order.
1. Jay-Z ‘The Blueprint’ – 2001Source:Getty
For some Jay-Z’s The Blueprint (2001) is the best Hip Hop album of all time. With more than 427,000 sales in the first week, this masterpiece is rumored to have been completed by Jay and his team in just a few days. It also introduced the world to legendary producers Just Blaze and Kanye West.
Fun Fact: According to Kanye, Heart Of The City originally featured R. Kelly.
2. Kanye West ‘College Dropout’ – 2004Source:Getty
Kanye’s inaugural album College Dropout is still considered his best work by many, and it certainly launched his personal career into a completely different realm. After making waves as a producer for years, the world was finally introduced to his lyrical savvy and super creative musical ability.
Fun Fact: According to Complex, the stories in Ye’s Family Business track weren’t actually about his family – but about singer Tarrey Torae’s family instead.
3. Nas ‘Stillmatic’ – 2003Source:Getty
Nas delivered his most critically acclaimed album Stillmatic in 2003. He also gave Hip Hop fans perhaps the most scathing diss record of all time with Ether. Born in the height of his beef with Jay-Z, Nas’ fifth studio album bestowed rap classics like One Mic and Got Yourself A… His ability to mesh thought-provoking rhymes through vivid storytelling and super crisp lyrics allowed Nas to further cement his legacy with this 2003 gem.
Fun Fact: 50 Cent was originally a member of Nas’ crew The Firm, but bowed out after things weren’t working out.
4. Lil Wayne ‘Tha Carter III’ – 2008Source:Getty
The 2000s may have been Lil Wayne’s best decade as a solo act, and many consider his third installment of Tha Carter series to be his best work. Featuring songs like A Milli, Lollipop, and Dr Carter, Tunechi secured assists from Jay-Z, T-Pain, and Robin Thicke.
Fun Fact: Lollipop spent 5 weeks in the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, making it the most successful single of his career.
5. Eminem ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ – 2000Source:Getty
Love him or hate him, Eminem’s late 90s/early 2000s run was insane. As one of the best-selling rappers of all time, Em leaned into his drug-filled/mom-bashing antics with The Marshall Mathers LP. The album sold 25 million copies worldwide. Yes, you read that correctly.
Fun Fact: Em’s original title for this project was Amsterdam.
6. 50 Cent ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ – 2003Source:Getty
50 Cent bullied his way onto the scene in the early 2000s and more than 20 years later he’s still using the same tactics to stay relevant, albeit in a different medium. Fif’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ gave us hits like In da Club, Wanksta and 21 Questions. It featured icons like Eminem and Nate Dogg, and introduced us to G-Unit members Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo.
Fun Fact: 50 Cent’s 21 Questions was inspired by LL Cool J.
7. OutKast ‘Stankonia’ – 2000Source:Getty
Stankonia, the fourth studio album from the best Hip Hop group of all time is also one of the greatest albums of the 2000s. It featured smash hits like So Fresh, So Clean, and Ms Jackson, and iconic artists like Erykah Badu, Cee-Lo, and Killer Mike. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 530,000 copies in the first week.
Fun Fact: Andre 3000 and Big Boi were considering two different group names before settling on OutKast – ‘2 Shades Deep’ and ‘Misfits’.
8. T.I. ‘Trap Muzik’ – 2003Source:Getty
Not only did T.I.’s second studio album Trap Muzik give us hits like Rubberband Man, 24s, and Let’s Get Away, but it also introduced Hip Hop to the term trap music. TIP also helped display southern street lyricism on a mainstream level, and did it against beats that knocked and vivid rhymes that introduced all of his to his extensive vocabulary.
Fun Fact: T.I. began rapping at just 8 years old and was once literally known as the Rubberband Man because of how many rubber bands he wore on his wrist in his drug dealing days.
9. Ghostface Killa ‘Supreme Clientele’ – 2000Source:Getty
One of the primary lyricists of Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killa’s second album Supreme Clientele is considered by many to be the best solo album from any of the original nine members. While not quite netting the same immediate financial success and radio hits as some of our previous entries, Supreme Clientele is still considered a classic among fans of lyricism and grimy street rap enthusiasts.
Fun Fact: Two mega-producers that we previously mentioned were heavily influenced by this album from Ghost – Just Blaze and Kanye West.
10. Jay-Z ‘The Black Album’ – 2003Source:Getty
As the only emcee to make this list twice, it’s safe to say that the 2000s were pretty good for Jay-Z, who many consider to be the best rapper of all time. Jay’s The Black Album is his eighth studio project and was also his sixth consecutive No. 1 album.
Fun Fact: The Black Album lost out on a Grammy for Best Rap Album to Kanye’s College Dropout.
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