2000s Hip-Hop Essentials
The 2000s began with New York’s lyrical titans—JAY-Z, Nas, Cam’ron, Jadakiss, newcomer 50 Cent—battling for supremacy, commercial and otherwise. However, New York’s grip on the hip-hop narrative would loosen. Atlanta rappers like Outkast, Ludacris, T.I., Lil Jon, and Young Jeezy would spin hip-hop into crunk and trap; a young, ambitious Chicago producer named Kanye West would open up new vistas of personal and emotional hitmaking; and New Orleans spitter Lil Wayne’s constant flood of mixtapes would change the economics of rapping forever. The internet would help spread regional sounds like the UK’s minimalist grime, Houston’s slow-moving chopped-and-screwed music, the Bay Area’s hyperactive hyphy, and Atlanta’s short-lived snap. By decade’s end, the gurgle of Auto-Tune and the freewheeling phrasing of Drake had begun to scramble the circuits, setting up hip-hop for its most melodic decade yet.