Hey buddies! Are you looking for the 2000s rappers? Your search ends here. As you know, the 2000s gave the industry some of the most successful artists. Be it singers, rappers, or actors. In this post, we will consider the best rappers of the era.
The 2000s brought a new wave of artists who pushed the boundaries of rap music and created music adding elements from different genres like pop, R&B, and rock. Not only this, these artists left an imperishable mark on the rap genre.
Jay-Z is one of the most celebrated and best 2000s rappers in the industry. With 140 million records sold, he is one of the best-selling music artists. Jay-Z is also a successful entrepreneur. He owns Roc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam Records, 40/40 Club and the entertainment company Roc Nation.
Jay-Z hogged the limelight with his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. He married famous singer and frequent collaborator Beyonce in 2008. They have also appeared as the duo The Carters. Here are some of Jay-Z’s most notable albums:
- The Blueprint
- American Gangster
- The Black Album
2- 50 Cent
The next one on the list is Curtis James Jackson III, popular by his stage name, 50 Cent. He started his music career with Run DMC’s member Jam Master Jay. Jackson’s first commercial success was Get Rich or Die Tryin’. It was certified 9x platinum by RIAA.
Afterward, he founded the label G-Unit Records. He released several hit albums and singles throughout his career. Apart from it, he also tried his hand at business ventures. His most successful songs include:
- In da Club
- Candy Shop
- 21 Questions
Here is one of the best rappers of the 2000s, Eminem. Marshall Mathers III, aka Eminem, is famous for popularising hip-hop. His first EP, “Slim Shady EP”, brought him immense success and popularity. He has also earned the title of King of Hip-Hop.
The rapper later founded his label Shady Records with Paul Rosenberg. Eminem released the album Marshall Mathers LP. It indeed became the fastest-selling record in rap history. Here are some of the most successful works of the rapper:
- Lose Yourself
- Guts Over Fear
- The Eminem Show
- Marshall Mathers LP
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4- Kanye West
Kanye West is one of the renowned best 2000s rappers raised in Chicago. He has been interested in rapping since his childhood. West started his career as a music producer and worked with artists like Jay-Z, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. In 2004, he released his debut album, The College Dropout, which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200.
Besides, Kanye West married Kim Kardashian in 2014 and divorced in 2022. They have four children from the relationship. West released several hit albums and singles throughout his career. Some of the best ones include:
- 808s and Heartbreak
- The College Dropout
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., aka Nelly, is a prominent rapper from Austin, the U.S. He has loved music since childhood and formed the rap group St Lunatics with his friends. Soon after, he signed with Universal Records. His first album Country Grammar catapulted him to success and fame.
Nelly has won Grammy Awards for Best Rap Solo Performance(Country Grammar), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration(Dilema), ‘Best Male Rap Solo Performance(Hot In Herre), and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group(Shake Ya Tailfeather). His other notable works are:
- Over and Over
- Brass Knuckles
6- Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is one of the most influential rappers of the 2000s. He embarked on his music career with the stage name K. Dot. His first mixtape, Youngest Head Nigga in Charge released when he was sixteen years old. He is popular for his progressive style of rapping.
Furthermore, he dropped his stage name and continued celebrating success with his releases as Kendrick Lamar. He has won Grammy Awards, MOBO Awards, BET Awards, MTV Awards, and others. Check out his best musical works:
- To Pimp a Butterfly
- Backseat Freestyle
- Good Kid
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7- Rick Ross
Rick Ross is an American rapper, former athlete, and record executive. In the early days of his career, he released a series of mixtapes. His debut single Hustlin’ brought him mainstream success, and the song became the street anthem.
Later, Ross signed a deal with Def Jam Recordings. His albums proved to be chart-topping hits. He has also been a member of the hip-hop group “Triple C’s” member. He founded the label Maybach Music Group in 2009. Let’s check out some of his chart-topping hits:
- Rather You Than Me
- Deeper Than Rap
- Teflon Don
8- Lil Wayne
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., aka Lil Wayne, is a talented rapper from New Orleans, U.S. He began his music career when he was 12, signing to the label Cash Money Records. He was indeed the youngest member of the label at that time.
Soon, he joined the hip-hop duo B.G.’z’ along with Lil’ Doogie. Wayne became a member of the group Hot Boys and released hits like Bling Bling and Gorilla Warfare. He also became successful as a solo artist. With more than 200 million records sold, he is one of the best-selling music artists.
- Tha Block Is Hot
- Lights Out
- Tha Carter III
- 500 Degreez
Nas is one of the best East Coast 2000s hip-hop rappers famous for his captivating lyrics. His debut album Illmatic became one of the greatest rap albums ever. In 1996, he formed the hip-hop supergroup “The Firm” along with Dr Dre, Steve Stoute and Trackmasters.
About.com ranked Nas in the Top 50 Greatest MCs list for two consecutive years. Billboard ranked him among the 10 Best Rappers of All Time. He is also a successful entrepreneur who invested in various startup sectors. Check out his best musical works given below:
- Life Is Good
- God’s Son
- Street’s Disciple
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10- Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg is one of the most successful rappers of the 2000s. He was born Calvin Cordozdar Broadus Jr. in California, U.S. He started his career featuring on Dr Dre’s “Deep Cover”. His debut album “Doggystyle” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
Throughout his career, he worked with several record labels like Death Row, Columbia, RCA, MCA, Capitol, Def Jam, Interscope, Empire, etc. Snoop Dogg also founded his label Doggystyle Records. Here are some of his best works:
- What’s My Name?
- Snoop’s Upside Ya Head
- Ego Trripin’
11- Missy Elliott
Melissa Arnette Elliott, aka Missy Elliott, is a rapper, singer, and record producer. Elliott started her career with the girl group Sista and later joined the Swing Mob collective. Her solo career began with her chart-topping album Supa Dupa Fly which featured the hit single Sock It 2 Me.
Moreover, Elliott has received numerous awards, including Grammy Awards, BET Awards, Billboard Awards, NAACP Awards, and AMAs. She became the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Here are the rapper’s most notable works:
- Get Ur Freak On
- Lose Control
- Under Construction
- Miss E… So Addictive
American rapper Ludacris is popular for his unique voice and witty lyricism. He began rapping when he was just nine years old. He rose to prominence as a DJ and founded his label “Disturbing tha Peace”. His debut album, “Back for the First Time”, was released under Def Jam Recordings.
Apart from this, Ludacris also tried his hand at acting. He played the role of Tej Parker in the famous Fast & Furious Film series. Have a look at his most successful musical works:
- What’s Your Fantasy
- Southern Hospitality
- Pimpin’ All Over the World
- Move Bitch
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Drake is one of the best-selling music artists. He has sold over 170 million records worldwide. He starred as Jimmy Brooks in the CTV teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. Drake began his musical career with his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement.
His debut studio album, Thank Me Later, propelled him to success. He continued to release hit albums, EPs, and singles as well. Drake won several accolades, including five Grammy Awards, six AMAs, two Brit Awards, and 34 Billboard Awards. His most notable works include:
- Take Care
- Best I Ever Had
- Find Your Love
14- Andre 3000
André Lauren Benjamin is better known as Andre 3000. The rapper is popular as a member of the hip-hop duo OutKast along with rapper Big Boi. OutKast received success with its genre-blending music and provocating lyrics.
Various publications, including Complex, The Source and Billboard, ranked Andre among the greatest rappers ever. Apart from being a rapper, he acted in several television series and films. Let’s check out his best music works.
- The Way You Move
15- Young Jeezy
Young Jeezy is one of the most popular rappers of the 2000s. After his birth, his parents were separated, and his mother raised him. He had a rough childhood and was involved in illegal activities like drug selling. As he grew up, he wanted to make a career in music and formed the label CTE World.
However, Jeezy hogged the limelight with the album “Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101” after signing with Def Jam Records. He helped popularize trap music along with Gucci Mane and T.I. Here are some of his best works:
- Soul Survivor
- The Inspiration
- Trap or Die
- I Luv It
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16- The Game
American rapper Jayceon Terrell Taylor is professionally known as The Game. He released his debut independent album, Untold Story, in 2004. Later on, he signed with Dr Dre’s Aftermath Records. RIAA certified his album “The Documentary” double platinum.
Moreover, The Game founded various record labels, including The Black Wall Street Records, Prolific Records, 100 Entertainment, and Blood Money Entertainment. Here is a list of his most successful works:
- How We Do
- Doctor’s Advocate
- Born 2 Rap
- The Documentary 2
17- Big Boi
Antwan André Patton, aka Big Boi, is a member of the hip-hop duo OutKast along with Andre 3000. The duo released several hits including Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens, and Stankonia. Big Boi later began his solo career with singles like The Way You Move.
His debut studio album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim. Big Boi also appeared in several movies and television series. Here are some of his best works as a solo and duo as well.
- Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
- Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
18- Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is one of the best 2000s influential rappers, singers, and actors as well. She is popular for using various accents and her versatility. Nicki has her way of dressing; she wears loud makeup and unique hairstyles. She began her musical career with the group The Hoodstars.
Nicki embarked on a solo career. After releasing several mixtapes, she released her debut album Massive Attack/Pink Friday. With more than 100 million records sold, she is one of the best-selling music artists.
Let’s check out some of her most successful works:
- Pink Friday
- Super Freaky Girl
M.I.A. is a British rapper born Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam. She is popular for combining alternative, electronic, world music, dance, and hip-hop elements with electronic instruments. Her debut album Arular propelled her to mainstream success.
Rolling Stone named her one of the defining artists of the 2000s decade, and Time ranked her among the 100 Most Influential People of 2009. M.I.A. was appointed MBE in 2019 Birthday Honours. Here is a list of her best works:
- Paper Planes
- Bad Girls
- The One
- Born Free
20- Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco is one of the best rappers from the 2000s. He is famous for addressing social issues through his music. He is also a founding member of the rock band Japanese Cartoon. Fiasco signed Atlantic Records with the help of Jay-Z.
Further, he released several hits throughout his career. He also got successful as an entrepreneur and has two clothing lines, Trilly & Truly and Righteous Kung-Fu. Here are some of his notable works:
- The Show Goes On
- Battle Scars
- Old School Love
The famous rapper Cameron Ezike Giles aka Cam’ron is one of the members of the group The Diplomats, Children of the Corn, and the duo U.N. Throughout his career; he worked with several labels, including Roc-A-Fella, Cinematic, Sony, Epic, Def Jam, Virgin, etc.
However, the rapper has been involved in various controversies with other artists. His solo breakthrough came with the album “Come Home With Me”. Cameron also appeared as an actor in films like Killa Season and Queens. Let’s have a look at his best albums:
- Confessions of Fire
- Crime Pays
- Purple Haze 2
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22- Gucci Mane
Gucci Mane is a prominent rapper and also one of the pioneers in popularizing trap music. He was born Radric Delantic Davis in Bessemer, U.S. He started rapping at fourteen. Mane signed with Atlantic Records and released the hit studio album Trap House.
Moreover, Mane was arrested several times for drugs and possession of weapons. Even in prison, he didn’t leave music behind. Some of his notable works include:
- Hard To Kill
- Mr Davis
Next up on the list is non-other than Akon. Do you know his real name? It’s “Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam”. The artist became popular with his single “Locked Up” from his debut album Trouble.
Akon is the first solo artist who holds number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. Guinness World Records listed him as the #1 selling artist for master ringtones worldwide. Here are his chart-topping singles:
- Locked Up
- Smack That
24- Sean Paul
The Jamaican rapper Sean Paul established himself as one of the most prolific artists in the reggae and dancehall scenes. He played in the national water polo team for eight years. Later, he headed to pursue a music career.
In 2000, Paul released his debut album Stage One with the independent record label VP Records. He has collaborated with famous artists, including Sia, Keyshia Cole, Feid, and Shaggy. His most notable works include:
- Get Busy
- Got 2 Luv U
- She Doesn’t Mind
25- Fat Joe
Joseph Antonio Cartagena is professionally known as Fat Joe. His career began with the hip-hop group Diggin’ In The Crates Crew. He started his solo career soon after and founded his label Terror Squad Productions.
In 1993, Joe released his debut album, Represent, featuring the single Flow Joe. The single debuted at number on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs. He has also worked as an actor in several films. Here is a list of his best musical works:
- Jealous Ones Still Envy(J.O.S.E.)
- Lean Back
- Make It Rain
- What’s Luv?
Famous DJ, rapper, and actor Redman hails from Newark, U.S. He became a DJ when he was 18. He debuted with the hip-hop group EPMD’s “Business as Usual” album. His debut album “Whut? Thee Album” was certified gold and reached the Billboard 200 chart.
Redman is one-half of the rap duo “Method Man and Redman”. He also worked as an actor in various movies and television series. Some of his most notable works include:
- Time 4 Sum Aksion
- Blow Your Mind
- Muddy Waters
- Dare Iz a Darkside
27- Ja Rule
Ja Rule was born on 29 February 1976 Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr. in New York City, U.S. He began his career with Cash Money Click. Ja Rule gained fame with his debut album Venni Vetti Vecci and single Holla Holla. He has sold over 30 million records worldwide.
Additionally, he has collaborated with various artists, including Jennifer Lopez, Vita, Ashanti, R. Kelly, and L’il Mo. Ja Rule has also been involved in controversies and rap feuds during his career. Let’s check out his successful works:
- The Last Temptation
- Always on Time
- Between Me and You
Twista is one of the most popular rappers of the 2000s. His chopper-style rapping earned him the 1992 Guinness World Record for the fastest English-speaking rapper in the world. His breakthrough came in the 2000s with the hit single Slow Jamz featuring Kanye West and Jammie Foxx.
Moreover, he debuted his music career under the stage name Tung Twista and later changed it to Twista. He has worked with record labels like Capitol, Atlantic, BMG, etc. Here are some of his most popular songs:
- Slow Jamz
- Cocoa Butter Kisses
- Look At Me Now
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Q-Tip is a renowned rapper who began his career as an MC. He also co-founded the hip-hop group “A Tribe Called Quest.” He is also known as The Abstract. The Source ranked him number 20 among their Top 50 Lyricists of All Time list.
The rapper also hosted his “Abstract Radio” radio show on Apple Music Beats 1. Apart from releasing several solo music hits, he also tried his hand at acting. Some of his best works include:
- The Renaissance
- Kamaal/The Abstract
- Midnight Marauders
30- Kid Rock
Kid Rock was born Robert James Ritchie in Romeo, Michigan(US). He is popular for blending elements of genres like rock, country, blues, and hip-hop. His career began with the album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast. However, his breakthrough album was Devil Without a Cause.
His song Cowbow is one of the most influential songs in the country rap genre. Kid Rock has worked with several record labels, such as Jive, Warner Bros, Top Dog, and Atlantic. Here are Kid Rock’s most popular works:
- All Summer Long
DMX was born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, New York. He kickstarted his career selling his mixtapes. His debut single Get at Me Dog received a RIAA’s gold certification and his debut album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot reached #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Furthermore, he continued to release several hits. DMX had also been to prison multiple times throughout his career. He died at 50 from a drug overdose, causing a heart attack. Some of his best works include:
- Ruff Ryders’ Anthem
- Get at Me Dog
- The Great Depression
- Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
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32- Bow Wow
Shad Gregory Moss, aka Bow Wow, is a renowned rapper. He began rapping when he was just six years old. Snoop Dogg noticed him at a concert in LA. Bow Wow appeared in the Doggystyle album tracks. He debuted with the album Beware of Dog when he was 13.
Bow Wow appeared in movies such as Like Mike and Roll Bounce. He also appeared in various television shows, including Smallville and The Masked Singer. Here are some of his best albums:
- Doggy Bag
- Beware of Dog
- New Jack City II
33- Pusha T
Pusha T is one of the most influential rappers of the 2000s. He was born Terrence LeVarr Thornton in New York City, U.S. The rapper gained fame as a member of the hip-hop duo Clipse along with his brother No Malice. His music often describes street life struggles.
Later on, Pusha T signed with Kanye West’s label Good Music. His debut album gained success, and he continued to release several hits. He has been involved in several controversies. Let’s check out his notable works:
- Numbers on the Boards
- It’s Almost Dry
Jadakiss is a popular rapper from Yonkers, New York. He is one f the rappers of the hip-hop group The Lox. The trio released hits including Money, Power & Respect, and We Are The Streets. Jadakiss began his solo career in 2001, releasing his debut album Kiss Tha Game Goodbye.
The rapper has collaborated with prominent artists like Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo, Mariah Carey, Ludacris, Twista, and Kanye West. Here are some of the best works:
- We Gonna Make It
- Top 5 Dead or Alive
- Kiss of Death
- By My Side
Last but not least, Eve is one of the best rappers of the 2000s. She is also a beautiful actress and television personality. She began her career appearing in the songs Ruff Ryders’ Anthem(DMX), and You Got Me(The Roots). Her debut album, “Let There Be Eve… Ruff Ryders’ First Lady” is certified double platinum.
Eve won various accolades, including Grammy Awards, ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards, BET Awards, Black Reel Awards, and MCP Awards. Here are some of her most successful singles:
- Let Me Blow Ya Mind
- Gangsta Lovin’