It’s been an interesting decade and I think its pretty clear that hiphop had the greatest impact on top 40 radio in the past 10 years. It’s changed a lot though. It’s not a format that has been around for very long and it quickly changed in the 00′s from being something “from the streets” to being something from the studio. There is no more NWA. It moved slowly from music about a simple beat and a message (whether thats a message you enjoy or not) to being music made for the club and for pop music stations. So, let’s look at a few of the hit songs from the past decade.
Eminem released his masterpiece, The Marshall Mather’s LP in mid 2000. To this day, Eminem still places more emphasis on his lyrics and his rap rhythm than on dance beats. He probably has the most recognizable voice in the rap industry, or at least top 5, and it’s simply a joy to listen to him rhyme over a simple beat.
Eminem – Stan (released in May 2000)
In 2001, Jay Z released one of his greatest albums, an album that spawned two sequels. The Blueprint. While this record definitely had club hits on it, it was still a lyrical album. But the hooks were clearly becoming more about dancing than rapping.
Jay Z – Izzo (H.O.V.A) (released September 11, 2001)
Now let’s jump ahead a couple of years. This isn’t a rap record, but it is HipHop. Usher dominated the airwaves in 2004 with help from the incessant shouting from Lil John on his track “Yeah.” This song was inescapable. I’m surprised it ever wore out. This song is for ladies in the clubs, frat guys on a house boat and everything in between.
Usher (feat Lil John and Ludacris) – Yeah (released in 2004)
To save us, slightly, in 2004, was the man who would eventually become inescapable…Kanye West. He debuted with an album completely different from the one that will be mentioned further down this list. It was lyrical, it was fresh, it was awesome.
Kanye West – Jesus Walks (From ‘College Dropout’ released in 2004)
In 2005, this happened.
Black Eyed Peas – My Humps (from “Monkey Business”, 4th best selling album of 2005)
In 2007, T-Pain created a phenomenon that would continue until today. He used autotune to help him sing. And we all thought it sounded pretty damned cool.
T-Pain feat Justin Timberlake – Can’t Believe It (remix)
2008. The year where T-Pain continued to dominate the world with the autotune concept, but through a zillion other hip hoppers. The radio was dominated by two men. Kanye West, back with his 808′s and some heartbreak, and a little man with as many baby mama’s as he has tattoos, Lil Wayne. They did two different things really. Wayne is a lyrical rapper (though he is on a zillion dance tracks as well) and Kanye is just weird.
Lil Wayne feat Jay-Z – Mr. Carter (August 2008)
Kanye West – Amazing (November 2008)
And of course, one of the top tracks right now on iTunes, a cool sample, super hot production and autotuned average singing by Jason Derulo. What a combo!
Jason Derulo – Whatcha Say