The 2000s were arguably a revolutionary time for rap music. While some people found themselves relying heavily on the ’90s or falling into a more pop and electronic style, the hip hop and rap scene of the era that held strong did it with grace and endless talent.
There were plenty of fantastic rappers and albums that nudged the 2000s to be what they blossomed into, and there are so many albums to come out of the era that remain iconic to this day.
From the pop-friendly to the more deep cuts that people shouldn’t (but unfortunately sometimes do) forget about, here are some of the era’s very best albums.
The Five best albums from ’00s rap:
5. The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem
Eminem has become the sort of basic rapper of the mainstream since the 2000s, which is exactly why he gets a spot on the list for The Marshall Mathers LP. Simply put, this album contains songs that will forever be cemented into the cultural consciousness.
‘Stan’ and ‘The Real Slim Shady’ both found their home on this album, and that’s essentially all you need to know in order to get on board with the importance of this one.
4. Under Construction – Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott is one of the best rappers of her generation, and she made a huge impact on women in rap and the rap and hip hop music scenes in general in the 2000s. Her style was unlike any other at the time, and that’s clear as can be on Under Construction.
This is the album that hosts ‘Work It’ and ‘Hot’, but the album holds up as a no-skip throughout. If you haven’t revisited it recently, I highly recommend doing so.
3. Stankonia – Outkast
Again, this is an album that’s simply the home of so many hits and incomparable songs that you can’t help but recognise its significance. Point me to a person who doesn’t know the song ‘Ms. Jackson’. I don’t think you can.
Although this could honestly be a tie between Stankonia or their 2003 Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Stankonia comes out on top by the nearest edge. ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ and ‘Ms. Jackson’ are just too good.
2. Quality – Talib Kweli
I will never understand why people let Talib Kweli slip their minds. Ever. Similar to Kanye West’s The College Dropout (an album on which he’s featured, by the way), he utilises old school influences while still bringing modern fun to his music. It’s great.
As for Quality specifically, most people know ‘Get By’, but the album has plenty of gems like ‘Guerrilla Monsoon Rap’ and ‘Joy’, all of which are worth a play.
1. The College Dropout – Kanye West
Okay, okay, no matter how you feel about Kanye West right now, The College Dropout is inarguably an iconic album that defined so much of rap and hip hop in the 2000s. This was also the album that introduced the world to Kanye, cementing his place as an up and coming rapper.
With tracks like ‘All Falls Down’ and ‘Get ‘Em High’, The College Dropout shows off Kanye West’s talents at their very best. It’s no wonder why he’s had such a career going forward.