The worst thing about the beginning of the year, in my opinion, is the fact that there is not a lot of new music being released at this time. For someone like me who runs a blog that is dependent on new music, there is not really a ton of stuff to write about at this time of the year. I could end up doing a classics type week like the Needle Drop or other online music reviewers, but I honestly do not feel like pissing someone off and having the wrong opinion about someone’s favorite or least favorite album. I do hate feeling idle and not keeping up with my blog, though, so I decided to do another article about some classic 2000s hip hop tracks while I wait for some new music to come out. The theme of this list is hip hop music with pop or R&B flavor to it. There was so much good rap music that had an R&B vibe to it that came out during this era, and I thought it would be fun to highlight some great tracks that have this theme. With that being said, please enjoy this list of some awesome hip hop tracks from the early 2000s! Comment below which of these songs that you love, or if there are songs by these particular artists that you like more!
U AND DAT – E-40 FEAT. T. PAIN AND KANDI GIRL
I thought I would get this list started with a joint that I know would get the energy flowing. This is one of those tracks that you expect to get the dance floor absolutely bumping at your older cousin’s wedding or when out at a bar with your older co-workers. ‘U and Dat’ is one of the songs that has become the most popular in the mainstream for the underground legend that is E-40. This is literally one of those songs that everyone has heard because it is so fun and groovy and every good DJ will play it at some point in the night if their theme for the night is Hip Hop. This is one of the songs that start that classic T. Pain sound. The timing of this release was pretty perfect for both T. Pain’s and E-40’s careers; in 2005, E-40 was really popping off in the West Coast underground rap scene, and T. Pain had just released his debut album Rappa Turnt Sanga. Because of this, ‘U and Dat’ popped off in every way it could have. The instrumental and overall sound of this track is so T. Pain it is so 2005, so please stream it below and reminisce with me because it is such an iconic sound!
PIMPIN’ ALL OVER THE WORLD – LUDACRIS FEAT. BOBBY V.
This is actually the track that got to write this article. Like I said before, I’ve been a bit dormant because typically the beginning of the year doesn’t give us a ton of new music; and since I’ve been listening to a lot of Ludacris lately to throw it back and switch it up, I thought this joint featuring Bobby V. would be a perfect track to inspire an oldies list for this blog. ‘Pimpin’ All Over the World’ is a perfect example of the R&B-tinted Southern hip hop that dominated the airwaves in the early 2000s. This track has a funky R&B feeling to it that sounds a lot like the music of groups like Destiny’s Child or TLC. Luda was one of the first Southern rappers to embrace rapping on lighter sounds like this; the chill and sweet nature of the instrumental contrasts perfectly with the stern but smooth flow that Ludacris raps with. If you want to hear what the inspiration for mid-2000s music by artists like T. Pain or Chris Brown, this is the perfect song to check out if you don’t already know it.
WE FLY HIGH – JIM JONES
I feel like I can not write one of these lists about early 2000s rap music without mentioning the legend that is Jim Jones. I feel like he is not talked about in the grand scheme of things when it comes to hip hop often enough, so I have to make sure that I talk about him when I am writing about old hip hop. I mean, I refuse to believe that I was the only kid running about yelling ‘Ballin!’ every 2 seconds in 2004 because of listening to Jim Jones too much. ‘We Fly High’ is like the quintessential early 2000s New York hype rap song. The melody is really dark and hype and the beat is just so in your face; this track really sounds like the perfect theme song for a scene of an intense basketball game in a movie or an intense dance battle in a movie. If you are looking for a new work out song or a song for any moment that requires a lot of hype, ‘We Fly High’ needs to be added to your playlist.
HEY MA – CAM’RON FEAT. JUELZ SANTANA, FREEKEY ZEEKEY, AND TOYA
I can’t talk about one Dipset artist without talking about the rest of Dipset, right? I will say, with how in your face and intense most of the music by members of this groups is, ‘Hey Ma’ is a nice contrast, and shows that they can do more than just intimidate you with their music. This song is actually really cool coming from artists like Cam’ron and Juelz Santana, because it definitely is not something you would expect from artists that are considered to be so intense. One of my favorite things about this track is the back and forth between the female and males on this track. I feel like most of the music from this era did not contain a lot of conversation back and forth between men and women like this, especially in hip hop, and I think it is a really cool element that needs to be utilized more in hip hop. This is the perfect song to play at any sort of kickback or small party that you want to inject energy into. ‘Hey Ma’ is just so catchy and will make anyone want to dance, and that is why I love it.
SUPERMAN – EMINEM FEAT. DINA RAE
I do not think I have ever talked about Eminem on this blog, and I honestly probably should because he was a pretty big part of my life growing up. Eminem has always been one of my mom’s favorite artists, and growing up we would listen to his music literally every day. Eminem obviously has so many hits from the early 2000s, but in my opinion, one of the coolest and most unique ones is ‘Superman.’ The instrumental for this track is pretty poppy and quirky; Eminem has always been known for rapping on weird instrumentals that are basically a combination of that era’s current most popular pop music and 90s hip hop beats, and this track is no different in that regard. I love the contrast of the refrain, which opens the songs, and the verses/chorus that follow. It seems like Until the last line of the refrain, Em wants to be better for this girl, and make her happy anyway that he can; the rest of the song paints a much different picture, though. I think this line from the first verse describes how Em is feeling better than I can: I’m single now; ain’t got no ring on this finger now. I’d never let another girl bring me down. In a relationship? Save it, bitch. Babysit? You make me sick! Superman ain’t saving shit! Stream ‘Superman’ below to mentally shit on your ex like you know you want to.
BOOTY MEAT – SOULJA BOI
I have to say, I am a bit embarrassed and frustrated with myself to have taken this long to write about the legend that is Soulja Boi. I have been meaning to write a full article on him for a while and I keep forgetting. That needs to change soon. For this list, I chose a Soulja Boi song that may not be as well known as some of his classics. That is because this track bumps harder than most of his classics; in fact, it bumps harder than most rappers’ classics. This track is a typical dirty South style old school trap joint that just makes you want to dance. The instrumental is a sort of mixture between a 2 step song and a mid-2000s trap song, and this combination makes it so tough to not move around to. Lyrically, this track does not get much more sophisticated than Soulja Boi yelling Girl shake that booty meat! This is totally okay, though, because it is straight to the point; it is a dance song, so of course he wants everyone to shake their booty meat. If you have not heard this song and want to reminisce in the greatness of Soulja Boi, stream ‘Booty Meat’ below and tell me in the comments how great it is.
OH – CIARA FEAT. LUDACRIS
Remember when I said earlier while writing about Ludacris that he seemed to be one of the first rappers to embrace spitting on Southern pop R&B instrumentals? Well here is an even better example of that, as this is actually just an R&B joint with one rap verse instead of an R&B instrumental exclusively containing rap verses. I feel like Ludacris has to be one of the first artists that embraced doing this kind of thing, because I can not think of a ton of examples of rappers being on pop or R&B songs before this. It is crazy to think about this considering every pop and R&B nowadays either have a rap verse on it or gets remixed to have a rap song on it. I feel like this is one of the first tracks from this genre or style to pop off as well. There was definitely a time period between 2003-2007 where every song on pop radio had this sensual R&B vibe with a rap verse included on it, so I guess we can thank Ludacris and Ciara for starting that trend. This is such a classic club song, man, and it is the perfect song to get the dance floor jumping and freaky.