The Evolution of Hip-HOp: 2000s-2004 Hip Hop Music

By Mikayla Reid, Kayla Ary, and Nichele Washington

In the 90s, hip-hop was centered around west coast and east coast rap. Hip-hop began to change in the 2000s as it embraced sounds and artists from all regions including the South (Outkast), the Midwest (Kanye West), the East Coast (Jay Z, 50 Cent, DMX, etc), and the West Coast( Snoop Dogg, Dr.Dre, etc). During the early 2000’s, Hip-hop artists embraced their creativity and broadened the scope of their music which ranged from messages about materialism, money, success, and even social injustice. During this time period there was also was an influx of party anthems like Nelly’s “Hot in Here,” Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On,” and 50 Cent’s “In da Club.” Sports and workout anthems like Ludacris’s “Stand up’ or the song “Move B****” were popular as well. Rappers like Kanye West talked about social issues and their personal lives in their music which was not necessarily new, but an innovative way of individualizing hip-hop. Other artists like Snoop Dogg and Pharell tended to make and produce feel-good, party music. However, the rap group OutKast made party anthems like “Hey Ya,” political-themed songs like “B.O.B”(Bombs Over Baghdad), and love songs such as “Prototype.” Hip-hop was embraced through pop culture and Hollywood. Hit rap songs became theme songs for movies and commercials. There were also tv shows like 106 and park, which showcased famous Black musicians, hip-hop, and R&B music videos. Music was played through television, CD players, radios, and iPods.  

Popular Artists of The Time

While there were many great hip hop artists that emerged during the 2000s-2004, several artists worth mentioning include…


Trick Daddy 

-Jay Z



-Method Man



-Jada Kiss

-Sean Combs 

-Snoop Dogg



-Missy Elliot


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The early 2000s from a cultural standpoint: 

The early 2000’s was a period of new technological advancements as it relates to computers and the internet. As a results of this new tech, terms like “contemporary”, “nu”, “revival”, “alternative”, and “post” were used in order to describe music genres. Hip Hop was one of the genres that gained much attention in the early 2000’s.

September 11, 2000 – 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center

Apple Computer unveils first Ipod, dominant digital music player

Texting and texting culture becomes popular

George W. Bush is elected president

The influence of Hip-Hop in the early 2000's

Not only was the hip hop of the early 2000’s successful in dominating a large portion of the music industry, but it had cultural impacts on the way listeners dressed, talked, and even thought about the world around them. During this time period, hip hop artists were known for wearing apparel such as gold chains, baseball style hats, long, oversized t-shirts, puffer jackets, low rise jeans, belts, and more. Because of the extent to which hip hop artists influenced mainstream media and streetwear, many companies such as Tommy Hilfiger began producing clothing that allowed everyday Americans to dress like the hip hop artists they revered. 

Both women and men hip hop artists were incredibly influential to mainstream media, streetwear, and even lingo. Some popular lingo that originated from early 2000’s hip hop includes “shiesty” and “murk”. These words are even used in contemporary slang today!

Sound Bites of the Decade 

2000: outkast, Eminem

2001: method man, jay z, nas 

2002: scarface, nelly, eminem

2003: 50 cent, DMX, Jay Z

2004: Terror Squad, lloyd Banks, Jada Kiss

Our Opinions on early 2000's hip hop

Nichele: While I have never been particularly involved with hip hop as a specific genre of music, I can recall listening to early 2000’s hip hop and enjoying it. Being born in the 2002 means that I was not old enough to truly experience the emergence of 2000’s hip hop. However, in listening to its sound (now that I am of age), I can clearly see the appeal and the influence of this music in contemporary music today. Early 2000’s music is also often played at teenage/young adult parties all across the nation! Songs like Snoop Dog’s ‘Drop it Like its Hot’ and Soulja Boy’s “Crank That’ are among those songs always played in order to get the crowd engaged, dancing, and singing. 

In my opinion, early 2000’s music can be characterized as having an upbeat tempo, an underlying “pulse” or beat, a forceful/hard timbre and an emphasis on diction and word choice (which has arguably changed since then).

Kayla: The hip hop music of the early 2000s was very influential to all music genres at the current time and in the future. I like the creativity in sound that hiphop artists at this time used. They would make their own unique complex beats from random sounds. Resultingly, no one track was similar to the other.  

Mikayla: I think hip-hop in the early 2000’s seemed like a very lively era as people expressed their individuality. Early 2000’s hip-hop is still current today. It is still played on the radio and at parties as if the songs were just released. It also has significant impact on the Black Community. Many of the songs from early 2000’s hip-hop became anthems for Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as the greek Divine nine sororities and fraternities. This ear of music has become a part of Black Culture.

Although there has been a plethora of new music releases and even some new genres that have been created as of late, early hip-hop still remains as one of the most influential and multifaceted genres of the 21st century. It’s influence was so persistent that we can analyze hip-hop sound and even culture in many of the things we do today.

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