Before social media and YouTube, all that stood were the radios and the music channels. In the early 2000’s, some of the most popular American R&B and Hip-Hop acts were repeatedly making hits. The likes of Usher, Omarion, Bow Wow, Akon, Ja-Rule, Ashanti, Nelly, Kanye West, Outkast, Sean Paul, Beyoncé and many many more were filling the UK and American charts. With it now being nearly 20 years after some of these tracks were released, there is no time like the present to look back at some of these hits, so here is our list of the Top 101, best R&B and Hip-Hop hits from the early 2000’s.
The list has been complied on a number of criteria and factors in mind. With the “early 2000’s” still technically being present day, it has been decided that any song that was released between 2000-2006 will make the cut. Although, it is pretty subjective, the list has also been made by taking into account chart positions and success of the songs and artist.
Number 101: Marques Houston featuring Joe Budden “Clubbin'” (2003)
The song peaked at 15 in the UK Charts and 39 in the US Billboard Charts. This is Marques Houston’s biggest hit to date. Houston has not really done too much in the industry in recent years where as Joe Budden has become some what of a troll in the US Hip-Hop and Rap scene with recently featuring on Complex’s Everyday Struggle show and having his own podcast.
100: Kevin Lyttle “Turn Me On” (2003)
One of the biggest dance anthems of the century. The song still gets played in clubs around the world nowadays but Kevin Lyttle did not reach anywhere near the heights that this song did and did not have much further commercial success.
99: Akon “Belly Dancer (Bananza)” (2005)
One of the biggest hit makers of the early 2000’s. Not his best work but as with Kevin Lyttle’s “Turn Me On”, it’s a massive R&B dance anthem and deserves a place on the list.
98: Xzibit featuring Keri Hilson “Hey Now (Mean Muggin)” (2004)
Not that much success in the US with the song only just making the Billboard charts. Contrast to this, it was a success in the UK with the song peaking at number 9 on the charts. One of Keri Hilton’s first major breakthrough features.
97: Busta Rhymes featuring Will.I.Am and Kelis “I Love My Chick” (2006)
The music video to the track was based on the film Mr and Mrs Smith that came out during the same year. Again, no where near Busta Rhymes best and arguably the chorus of Will.I.Am and Kelis make the track but nevertheless, still a great song at the time and deserves its place.
96: Bobby Valentino “Slow Down” (2005)
A massive hit for Bobby Valentino as a debut single. It went Gold in the US and charted at number 1 in the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. A great song.
95: Nelly “Na-Nana-Na” (2005)
More of a personal favourite and one that can be easily argued that it does not deserve a place on this list as it did not even reached the Top 10. We hold our hands up on this one but as stated, it is more of a personal favourite with a very catchy hook. Surprising it was not more of a success.
94: Twista featuring Anthony Hamilton “Sunshine” (2004)
Much like Xzibit’s entry, the song did not get much success in the US but peaked at number 3 in the UK. Twista was in his prime during the early 2000’s. Argued that he was the fastest spitting rapper at the time and Anthony Hamilton’s vocals sampling Bill Withers 1977 hit “Lovely Day” makes this a summer throwback.
93: Jagged Edged featuring Nelly “Where The Party At” (2001)
Jagged Edged are more known for their late 90’s R&B rather than 2000’s but in the early 2000’s they were still producing hits. With the help of up and coming Nelly, “Where The Party At” is still a banger and was actually nominated for a Grammy at the 2002 awards.
92: Petey Pablo “Freek-A-Leek” (2003)
91: DMX “We Right Here” (2001)
The early 2000’s saw a dominance from DMX and his gritty raps.
90: Houston featuring Chingy, Nate Dogg and I-20 “I Like That” (2004)
What a throwback. A huge hit at the time, Houston did not go on to have much more success. Chingy epitomises the early 2000’s urban music scene and sadly Nate Dogg is no longer with us. The hit made number 3 in the US and charted in six other countries as well as the UK. Also, featured in a McDonalds advert.
89: Bow Wow featuring Omarion “Let Me Hold You” (2005)
One of the first collaborations between Bow Wow and Omarion. Furthermore, this was Omarion’s first hit as a solo artist since leaving collective, B2K.
88: Chingy featuring Tyrese “Pullin’ Me Back” (2006)
The man, the myth, the legend. Chingy, as stated before, was one of the scenes sensations back in the early 2000’s with hits after hits.
87: Busta Rhymes featuring Mariah Carey and Flipmode “I Know What You Want” (2003)
Slightly better track than that of previously mentioned hit “I Love My Chick” that was released three years after this. The song stayed in the Top 40 for a total of 21 weeks.
86: Christina Milian featuring Young Jeezy “Say I” (2006)
Had a bit more success in the UK with it charted at number 4 in the UK Singles Charts but charted at 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.
85: Nelly “Flap Your Wings” (2004)
84: J-Kwon “Tipsy” (2003)
Many people may expect this to be higher than it currently is. Tipsy was a massive hit in the early 2000’s and it still gets played nowadays with the introduction before recognised and resisted by most people still. Remains J-Kwons biggest hit and some brief success followed.
83: Cam’Ron featuring Juelz Santana “Hey Ma” (2002)
Hugely popular song, still to this date with the track featuring in the 2012 film End of the Watch.
82: Chingy featuring Ludacris and Snoop Dogg “Holidae Inn” (2003)
The legend of Chingy strikes again. Another one of his hits of the early 2000’s. The video was nominated at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA’s) but missed out to OutKast’s “Hey Ma”.
81: Ciara featuring Petey Pablo “Goodies” (2003)
80: Lloyd Banks “I’m So Fly” (2004)
The dominance of 50 Cent in the early 2000’s also meant the dominance of the group G-Unit and artists within such as Lloyd Banks.
79: N.O.R.E featuring Pharrell “Nothin'” (2002)
Produced by the Neptunes and achieved a number 1 in the UK R&B Charts and number 2 in the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
78: Bow Wow featuring Ciara “Like You” (2005)
Peaked at number 1 on three different charts and achieved Platinum status in the United States. One of Bow Wow’s and Ciara’s biggest hits and arguably could be higher on the list.
77: Joe featuring G-Unit “Ride” (2004)
76: Ludacris “Act A Fool” (2003)
The track was the soundtrack to the second installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, 2 Fast 2 Furious which actually featured an acting part from Ludacris himself. The song was also nominated for a Grammy Award.
75: P. Diddy featuring Black Rob and Mark Curry “Bad Boy 4 Life”
The guitar rift in the beat has been recognised and ingrained in many peoples minds, in the nearly 20 years since its original release. The music video featured plenty of famous famous with Ben Stiller, Mike Tyson, Shaquille O’Neal and Snoop Dogg making appearances.
74: OutKast “Roses” (2004)
73: Jay-Z featuring Pharrell “Excuse Me Miss” (2003)
It must be noted now that Pharrell had a huge influence in many tracks in the early 2000’s with his group Neptune’s. This song was nominated for Grammy but lost out to Eminem “Lose Yourself”.
72: Twista featuring Eve “Sunshine” (2005)
The soundtrack to the popular Samuel L Jackson film Coach Carter surrounding the upheaval of an under performing basketball team.
71: Eminem “Sing For The Moment” (2003)
Samples Aerosmith’s “Dream On” in the chorus, this is a number of big hits for Eminem in the early 2000’s which has been arguably he most successful period to date. “Sing For The Moment” charted in 20 countries around the world including the US and UK.
70: Chingy featuring J-Weave “One Call Away” (2004)
69: Kelis “Trick Me” (2004)
Charted in a 10 different countries End of Year charts.
68: Destiny’s Child featuring Lil Wayne and T.I. “Soldier” (2004)
Nominated for the Best Rap/Sing Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy’s. During Destiny’s Child peak years when the group were one of the best and biggest female groups in all genres, not just R&B.
67: Chingy “Right Thurr” (2003)
One of Chingy’s most successful hits and would have been at number 1 had it not been for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s extremely successful “Crazy In Love”. The song stayed at number 2 in the charts for a whole five weeks.
66: T.I. “Bring Em Out” (2004)
“Bring Em Out” became T.I. first top 10 single.
65: 50 Cent featuring Olivia “Best Friend” (2006)
Samples/makes reference to Biz Markies 1989 “Just A Friend” which is also sampled/reference in Mario’s hit of the same title in 2002.
64: Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell and Charlie Wilson “Beautiful” (2003)
Oh look, another Pharrell and Neptune’s produced track.
63: Justin Timberlake “Senorita” (2003)
62: Pharrell featuring Jay-Z “Frontin'” (2003)
This was Pharrell’s biggest solo hit at the time and this did not change until “Happy” was released, 10 years later.
61: Nelly featuring Jaheim “My Place” (2004)
This songs address Sample House on Sample Road in Sample City. “My Place” features three different samples. The chorus samples Teddy Pendergrass “Come Go With Me”, the whole song samples Labelle “Isn’t It A Shame” and also DeBarge’s “I Like It” is samples throughout. Gheeze.
60: Justin Timberlake featuring Clipse “Like I Love You” (2002)
Pharrell and Neptunes anyone? Yep. They were everywhere.
59: OutKast featuring Sleeping Brown “Way You Move” (2003)
“Way You Move” spent 8 weeks at number 2 due to OutKast being unable to dislodge their own song, “Hey Ya” at number 1. The 8 weeks it spent at number 2 means it is a record for the longest run at number 2 in the Billboard Hot 100.
58: Notorious B.I.G featuring Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm “Nasty Girl” (2005)
A tribute to the late Biggie Smalls with a star studded line up.
57: Jadakiss featuring Anthony Hamilton “Why” (2004)
56: Busta Rhymes “Touch It (Remix)” (2006)
The remix ended up being more popular then the original with appearances from Mary J Blige and others.
55: Ludacris “Roll Out (My Business)” (2001)
Nominated for the “Best Male Rap Solo Performance” in 2002 yet its highest chart position was number 2 in the UK R&B Charts.
54: Fabolous featuring Tamia “So Into You” (2003)
The track stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 throughout the whole year and finished the year at number 23. The song was originally a solo record of Tamia’s from 1998.
53: DMX “Party Up (Up In Here)” (2000)
Just about made it on the list with the song being released on June 6th 2000. Although the song did not gain a number 1 position, the track has been used plenty of times. It appears in the 2000 film “Gone in 60 Seconds” and also on the soundtrack of the 2016 film “Sausage Party”.
52: Sean Paul “Gimme The Light” (2002)
It was Sean Pauls first major hit and it peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2017, Billboard also charted the track at number 3 on their list
of the “12 Best Dancehall & Reggaeton Choruses of the 21st Century”.
51: Usher “Confessions, Part II” (2004)
Up there as one of Ushers greatest hits. Peaked at number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song does not feature higher on the list due to the song not having the same international success as other tracks.