Let’s face the truth: The period between 2000 and 2010 was not a great time for music. Let alone Hip Hop. But even in the most troubled times of musical creativity, there are always a few gems that can stand out and have a lasting impact.
In the 10 years that followed the millennium, popular music took a massive shift towards RnB and Hip-Hop – these genres went from being an obscure ‘new trend’, to dominating the entire music industry. Many of the artists that started in the 90s pushed through into the 2000s and turned their music careers into empires. Many of them still producing incredible hits today – more than 20 years later.
Here are 10 Hip Hop albums of the 2000s that we will never forget:
1. Stankonia by Outkast (2000)
As an album that debuted at no. 2 on the Billboard 200, and one that was met with widespread critical acclaim, Stankonia definitely deserved the top place on this list. Making use of experimental sounds including Rock, Gospel and Psychedelica, Outkast was one of the first Rap groups to step out of what traditional Hip Hop was supposed to look like. André 3000 adopted a new rapping flow – one that caught Big Boi and producers completely off guard. In spite of this, Stankonia has become one of the most iconic Hip Hop albums and is definitely an iconic album of the 2000s.
2. College Dropout by Kanye West (2004)
As Kanye Wests debut album, there was an immense amount of pressure on him to perform well – as a rapper. Prior to the release of college dropout, Kanye West had only been a producer, having produced hit records for the likes of Jay-Z, Mos Def and Ludacris. Work on this album began in 1999 and by 2004 it was complete. Upon release it became an instant success and received widespread acclaim. Five of its singles became hits and the album gave Kanye West a Grammy for Best Rap Album.
3. Madvillainy by MF DOOM (2004)
MF Doom is like a ghost: you’ll only see it if you believe in it. His reputation as an insane lyricist is usually only recognised by the truest of Hip-Hop explorers. On release Madvillainy did not receive commercial success, but its critical acclaim was immense, attracting the attention of very prominent music critics who praised both the intricate and complex lyrics as well as the simple production and arrangements.
4. Phrenology by The Roots (2002)
Phrenology by The Roots is perhaps one of the most conscious albums on this list. Deriving its name from an pseudoscience that attempted to create a between the shapes of peoples head to their intelligence and character, The Roots explored themes Hip-Hop culture, as well as what it means to be an African-American using musical influences from neo soul, soul and RnB – thanks to the contributions of artists like Talib Kweli, Jill Scott and Musiq Souchild.
5. Food and Liquor (2006)
Considered by many to be Lupe Fiasco’s best work Food & Liquor is a very well produced album which explores the themes of racism, Islam and poverty. Debuting at number 8 on the Billboard 200, the album did receive commercial success.
6. Be by Common (2005)
Having been produced mostly by Kanye West, Commons 6th studio album, Be, was a massive commercial success. In its first week it sold 185,000 copies and debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200. It also received critical acclaim and received a perfect XXL score from the Hip Hop publication XXL.
7. Tha Carter III (2008)
If you don’t remember Tha Carter three from 2008, you were either asleep or just not paying attention. The album produced four singles that achieved chart successes and sol more than 1 Million copies in its first week – now certified triple platinum.
8. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)
Theres a reason Outkast had to be mentioned twice in this post. They had a truly powerful impact on Hip Hop in the 2000s. As a concept album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is a two disc album each being led by one member of the group. The album has been certified 11 times Platinum by the RIAA having sold more than 11 Million copies.
9. The Documentary (2005)
As The Games best selling album to date, The Documentary dominated the Hip Hop scene upon its release and drifted all attention back to the West Coast. The album sold over half a million copies in its first week and debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. With big names as producers on the album like Dr. Dre and Kanye West, The Documentary received most of its critical acclaim for the production.
10. Paper Trail (2008)
Considered to be T.I.’s most critically acclaimed albums, Paper Trail debuted at number one on The Billboard 200 and had two number one sigles. It featured artists like The Dream, Usher and Justin Timberlake and truly shot T.I. into worldwide fame.
Please leave a comment below and let us know if we missed anything out!