Hip Hop: The Early 2000s Era

Class 2:00-2:50

By: Aleisha, Lexington, Khadijah, Mauranne, Olimpia, Kaela


Coming into the 2000s, hip hop still remained a very popular genre of music. Now escaping the era of Los Angeles styled hip hop, we see the genre taking many different forms, and even appealing to the mainstream pop scene. Out of the 2000s, we are introduced to multiple styles of hip hop including crunk, alternative, and trap to name a few. Crunk and trap music are products of the south, with popular songs like “Lean wit it, Rock wit it” by Dem Franchize Boyz, “Laffy Taffy” by D4L, and “It’s Goin’ Down” by Yung Joc. With artists like Outkast, Mos Def, Common, and The Roots, we are introduced to alternative hip hop. With all of these new subcategories, hip hop takes a shift from LA gangster rap, to a set of sounds that reflect the realities of the artists who are making the music.

Considering the new generation of artists coming into the game, we see a slight cultural shift within the genre of hip hop. A new generation of people means a new set of traumas and experiences that will be released as music. New technology and new sounds coming out of different regions of the country also contributed to this new form of the already popular genre. Modern fashion trends have an important role in hip hop as well. When artists put certain outfits together, they influence the masses who wish to look and act like their favorite artists.

Thesis Satement

 All in all, the 2000’s hip hop is a product of childhood traumas and experiences, modern technology, new sounds of different parts of the U.S., and the newest trends in fashion. 


History of 2000s-2009 Hip Hop

Hip Hop is a cultural movement created by African-Americans in The Bronx, New York as early as the 1970’s that gained extreme popularity in the 1980’s/1990’s. While hip hop is used synonymously with rap music the original term is defined by four complex stylistic elements; deejaying, MCing(a.k.a rapping/grafing), B-boying, which encompasses hip-hop dance, style, and attitude, along with the sort of virile body known as postural semantics and graffiti painting(aka graf/writing).

The popularity of hip hop music continued through the 2000s. Characterized by everything from transformational rap stars to innovative fashion choices to explosive rap trends, the 2000s were a great time for hip hop. In the 21st century, the music from the sonic creations of the deejay saw its greatest innovations. The focus on producers as both a creative and a commercial force was concurrent with a widespread sense that the verbal dexterity and poetry of hip-hop was waning. Artists were longer only writing about “ghetto life” and moved away from gangsta rap. There were more collabs between hip hop artists and artists of other genres. Many named this the death of hip hop genre as it became more “pop” like and mainstreamed; this forced a lot of the intricacy of earlier rappers and music down “underground”. Regardless, the 2000’s brought many new artists like  T.I, Lil Wayne and Ludacris who helped continue expanding the impact of hip hop. 

Cultural/Political/Global Impact and Influences

Hip-Hop artists began to use their prominence and influence to impact the world on a cultural, political and global level. When it comes to social justice and activism, especially in minority communities (which a majority of these artists have experienced and portray in their music), they make sure to do their part. Lupe Fiasco started a community initiative program called M.U.R.A.L (Magnifying Urban Realities and Affecting Lives), which feeds and clothes inner city children while expounding on their artistic expression and strengthening their academics. Kendrick Lamar has donated thousands of dollars to support the Compton Unified School District’s music, sports and after-school programs to keep students off the streets.


Hip-Hop has greatly influenced children of minority communities at high rates, especially because many of these groups can relate to the messages in the songs. Lyrics have been used as inspiration for creative writing assignments in culturally aware classrooms, and even have been utilized as poetry to help them develop an appreciation and understanding for the power of words. Not to mention that hip-hop serves as a political statement and takes a stand against injustices in the world, for example, N.W.A’s “F**k Tha Police” heavily criticized the police force and the entire racist system that criminalized Black youth in the 80s, but is still being played to this day.

Causes & Effects of Hip Hop

Many of the popular artists of the 2000’s are apart of the generation who witnessed the “War on drugs”. Witnessing high rates of poverty within Black and Brown neighborhoods, along with high crime rates, and drug use, they used their music to speak of the oppression they faced as children. These artists used their voices to inform the masses of their unfortunate realities. With this new era of music, audiences had music that they could either relate to, or a tool of education.

The 2000s Hip Hop Beefs

Nas vs Jay-Z

The beef started in 1996 when  Nas failed to show up to a recording session for JAY-Z’s track ”Bring It On” from his debut record Reasonable Doubt. The album dropped later that year, and in the absence of Nas, producer Ski Beatz sampled Nas’ line from “The World is Yours” (Pete Rock remix) on another song on the project called “Dead Presidents II.” Then, JAY-Z performed a freestyle at Hot 97’s Summer Jam taking jabs at Prodigy of Mobb Deep and Nas. This is where the beef really gets intense. A polished version of the song, ”Takeover,” appeared on his 2001 album The Blueprint, and JAY-Z fired big shots at Nas. On the Kanye West-produced track, he calls Nas a has-been, saying he has “one hot album every ten-year average,” questions his street cred, and basically comes for him at every level. Too many rap fans, believed  Nas’ music career seemed dead and gone after “Takeover”.

50 Cent vs Ja Rule

The beef between 50 Cent and Ja Rule has unclear beginnings. The two have battled both in music and in the streets. They’ve released diss tracks aimed at each other, and things had turned physical a few times when the rappers were in the same space. In 2000, they got into a fight at an Atlanta nightclub where they were both scheduled to perform. Months after the Atlanta brawl, another fight broke out between the two of them in a New York City recording studio that left 50 with a stab wound. Ja and a friend were arrested for the incident. Their feud appeared to die down around 2013, with Ja even admitting during an interview with Hot 97 that he felt he lost the battle with 50.  However, Ja later revealed in his autobiography that he felt 50 played a part in a federal investigation that was brought against Murder Inc., which 50 denied. 50 continued mocking Ja on social media any chance he got, with one of his more recent’s being that he purchased 200 tickets to a Ja concert and posting about it on his Instagram account. It seems like this beef will not be ceasing any time soon.  


Alternative Hip-Hop:

These artists are less concerned with pop hooks and dance moves. Their main goal is to push the envelope and explore unique concepts. Artist featured: Lupe Fiasco.

Conscious hip-hop:

These artists are focused on uplifting their communities through their words. They want to radicalize their audience through personal discovery and awareness of issues plaguing the Black community. Artist featured: Mos Def.

Women Rappers:

Women were following behind Lil Kim and Foxy Brown with very provocative and explicit lyrics.  Artist featured: Vita.

East Coast Hip-Hop:

The birthplace of Hip Hop was focused on rapping about money, girls, and fame thanks to Puff or P. Diddy. Artist featured: Fabolous.

West Coast Hip-Hop:

 The west coast is home of G-funk, but in the 2000s it was known for the rise of the Bay Area’s hyphy scene. Artist featured: E-40.

Southern Rap:

In the 2000s Southern rappers took over. They talked about their southern way of living and attitudes. Artist featured: Lil Wayne.


Producer Lil Jon is widely credited with spearheading the movement. It’s a mix of club beats and high-energy chants. Artist featured: Lil Jon.

Snap Rap:

Snap rap is very similar to crunk but instead of the high energy chants, it’s replaced by dance instructions. Group featured: D4L.


The south also brought Trap music to Hip Hop.  You’ll know a trap song by its, 808s, and synthesizer. Artist featured: Gucci Mane.

Elements & Commodification (Dance & Fashion)

In the early 2000’s it was common for men to use baseball caps, durags, long tee’s, baggy jeans and old jerseys. The fashion from he late 90’s trickled over, but there was a new sense of individuality. But, mid 2000’s the popularity of jerseys began to die down.The baseball cap along with he tucker hat became popular as well as your ability to customize them. It was not foreign to see a durag under a baseball cap.We also see the rise of sweatbands, and these completed every outfit. Towards the mid 2000’s the rise of camoflauge or military clothing began to become popular. Hip Hop artist would also wear polo tee’s and pop their collar. Timberland Boots as well as Air Forces were a must for your closet. Designer clothing slowly became more and more popular.

It can be noted that in the Early 2000’s that fashion trends were very sporadic and trends changed very quickly. In Women’s fashion we also see some jersey’s but there is always elements that come up. Very large hoop earrings are very important in this time frame as well as tracksuits, large colorful sunglasses, miniskirts and much, much more. Women wore many boot styles that involved heels. Denim on denim also became a very popular trend. The use of animal prints and colorful clothing became popular towards the beginning of the 2010’s.

Popular Dances of the time 

Some popular dances of the 2000’s include the Cha Cha Slide, Chicken Noodle Soup, the Stanky Leg, Crank That Soulja Boy, Walk it out, the Wobble, etc. These dances are still heavily referenced at parties. and require repeat after me type styles. 

Top Artists

Kanye West

Kanye Omari West was raised mostly in Chicago but was born in Atlanta, Ga in 1977. His father was a very radical man who was active in the Black Panther Party as well as a journalist in Atlanta Journal Newspaper. His mother was a professor at a college in Chicago. He returned in the summers to Atlanta to be with his dad after his parent’s divorce.  He lived in China for years with his mom in an exchange program she was teaching with. When he returned, he was excited to reconnect to his culture through black music. He was interested in South Side Chicago Hip- Hop. After graduating high school, he won a scholarship to study to continue his musical studies as an artist at Chicago’s  American  Academy of Art. He soon dropped out of college to pursue his music career full time. He released an album titled “The College Dropout” in 2004. It has success and sold 2.6 million copies worldwide.


Shawn Corey Carter is the youngest of four born in Brooklyn New York in 1969. He grew very poor in low-income communities full of crime violence, and poverty. His father left the family and his mother raised him. In many of his songs, he uses his story to express himself. When he was younger, music was a way for him to stay focused and not distracted from potentially bad situations. His nickname in his neighborhood was Jazzy which led to his stage name J-Zay, which was created to give props to one of the mentors he started his career performing under LL Cool Jay in the 1990s. His tone, lyrics, and talent allowed his fame to grow heading toward the 21st century.  In 2001, on the same day of the events of 9/11, one of his albums was released. It was a success and only feathered one other artist which was Eminem. 8Several of the songs were produced by Kanye West.

50 Cent

50 cents also known as Curtis James Jackson III  is from Queens, New York. He was raised by a single mother who was a drug dealer. She died in a fire accident when he was younger. The remaining years of his childhood were spent with his grandmother.  The life of drugs did not cease to exist after the death of his mother. As a boxer in high school, he was always a drug dealer. He eventually got caught was sent to boot camp instead of the prison where he got his GED. His stage name was formed as 50 cents. His music career was in full effect, but the crime still maintained in his life. He was involved in a severe shooting accident in 2000.  This led to the release of his album “Get Rich or Die Tryin”, which essentially was his life. It was produced by Eminem and Dre and sold over nine million units. The Los Angles time said “ His rhymes are average, but his lisp, his exaggerated delivery and the beats backing him push this collection over the edge”.


Ludacris also known as Christopher Brain Bridges was born in Illinois in 1977. His parents were young and had split early on in his life. At the age of 12 Ludacris and his mom moved to Atlanta, where he was raised. He became a part of a childhood group called Loudmouth Hooligans. His mom ensured he stayed in  school and studied hard. His first breakout album was his second Album title “Back for the First Time” in 2000. The most popular song was “What’s Your Fantasy”.  Since his breakthrough into the music industry in rap, he has also become a philanthropist and actor. He is known for his southern hospitality and charm in his sound and lyrics.

OutKast: Andre 3000 & Big Boi

Andre 300 and Big Boi are the two artists behind the name OutKast. They grew up together and attended high school together where they first met. They attended Tri-Cities High School located in southside Atlanta, G.A. It is a Performing Arts school for a minority student. Early on in their high school career, they were seen as outcasts due to their unique look and talents which became the name of their group. It describes their misfit personalities and how they felt in school. They embraced their differences which led to the release of one of their greatest hits “ Hey Ya!”. Their impact also exposes several civil rights inequalities among blacks.


Eminem also known as Marshall Bruce Mathers III  was born in Missouri in 1972. He grew up without  his father and was raised by his mother. Despite her claims, Eminem recalls her being very unstable and addicted to drugs. As a result as a child he was constantly moving from place to place and he changed school regularly. This unstableness in his life, left him as an outcast lacking the ability to make grounded and real connections. He struggled in school, except for literature. He said he enjoyed these classes to use his vocabulary as he began writing music that would later make him famous. He dropped out of school and worked in unofficial and minimum wage jobs for a while. In 1999, he released his first real album titled “The Slim Shady LP”. The album was incredible and won Eminem awards from MTV Video Music Awards and the Grammy Awards. His following album granted the title of him being the fastest selling album rapper in rap history.  His lyrical flow and unique story allowed him to become an inspiration for people who listened to his music. 


Top Albums/ Discography

The Blueprint is Jay-Z’s sixth studio album and was released on September 11, 2001 by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. The album features soul-based sampling and production by Kanye West, Timbaland, Eminem and more. Although it coincided with the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks, it sold over 427,000 copies in its opening week and debuted at number one in the US, holding its spot for 3 weeks. It went platinum in Canada, gold in the UK and 2x Platinum in the US.

The College Dropout is surprisingly the debut studio album by Kanye West, who also is a producer. It was released on February 10, 2004 by Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records and faced many difficulties being accepted as an individual artist leading up to the release. The album grew famous as West developed “chipmunk soul”, which was his own production style utilizing sped-up, pitch shifting vocals and samples. It debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, and sold 441,000 copies in its first week of sales. It went platinum in Canada, platinum in Denmark, gold in New Zealand, 2x platinum in the UK and 3x platinum in the US.

Like Water for Chocolate is Common’s fourth studio album, and was released on March 28, 2000 through MCA Records. It sold 70,000 copies in its first week and was certified gold on August 11 of that same year by the Recording Industry Association of America. The music video for “The Light” was frequently shown on MTV, which added more to Common’s exposure. The album is known for Afrocentric themes, samples and unique poetic flow, which definitely makes this one of Common’s most successful albums.

Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was the debut studio album by 50 Cent and was released February 6, 2003 by Shady Records, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. He signed first with Eminem and also worked heavily with Dr. Dre to combine gangsta rap and R&B, seen the most in New York hip-hop. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 872,000 copies in its first week of sales. It went platinum in Belgium, Ireland and Switzerland, 2x platinum in Australia, 3x platinum in Denmark and Russia, 4x platinum in the UK, 6x platinum in Canada, and gold in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

Stankonia is the fourth studio album by the infamous hip-hop duo, OutKast. It was released October 31, 2000 by LaFace Records and included many local artists from Atlanta. It went 2x platinum in Canada, gold in New Zealand and 4x platinum in the US. It debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling 525,844 copies in its first week. It was certified gold by the RIAA within its release week and remained on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart for 45 weeks. The duo brought a new style of Southern rap to the scene by implementing a futuristic sound, making them stand out from others.



In conclusion Hip- Hop in the early 2000s era was very evolutionary. It altered the entire culture through the influence of music.  Before this era , Hip Hop was regional based.  At the  transition into the 21st Century, Hip-Hop became more mainstream and more collaborative among regions. This era made hip hop diverse and at same time more world wide. Los Angeles Hip Hop was very local before the 21st Century. It began to widen the USA, with the role of technology and its ability to connect people through advanced  innovations. There were artists who brought their perception of Hip-Hop from everywhere. Many artists began to reflect their lives and cities through their music. Kanye from Chicago, Jay-Z from New York and Ludacris from Atlanta all embedded their regional customs into their music. This music influenced  fashion, dance, and language all over the USA.  It was a great way for people to appreciate their differences between each other and learn how to successfully collaborate. For example, Jay-Z and Kanye collaborated with each other mixing their influences together to create music that was successful but also inviting for many different groups from different areas.

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