Best Albums of the 2000s
As we prepare to say goodbye to the 2000s, we couldn’t help but celebrate the albums that made an impact this decade. No time capsule would be complete without Nas‘ indubitable comeback record ‘Stillmatic,’ Common‘s celebrated first commercial hit and Kanye’s outstanding debut that put both Jesus — previously ousted from public schools — on mainstream urban radio, and introduced Chaka Khan to a generation that sadly may have missed her original reign.
10. ‘Be,’ Common (2005)
The Chi-town lyricist might have blessed the world with a handful of singles the rocked the hip-hop foundation, but it wasn’t until he dropped this 2005 album that he created a full-length masterpiece. And with production from only Kanye and J. Dilla? You knew it was a wrap before the jawn even came out.
9. ‘Hell Hath No Fury,’ Clipse (2006)
After years of label woes, Clipse turned in the finest coke rap statement of the decade. The Neptunes’ production bangs with futurism and the lyrics present the finest metaphors that pure, unfettered nihilism can offer.
8. ‘Stillmatic,’ Nas (2001)
Nasty Nas almost fell off in the mid-90s after getting stuck in his Escobar guise, and damn near lost his credibility when Jay-Z crushed him on ‘The Takeover.’ But Nas fired shots right back at all his haters on 2001’s ‘Stillmatic,’ an album that knocked as hard as his seminal debut ‘Illmatic.’ ‘One Mic’ was all he needed, indeed.
7. ‘The Fix,’ Scarface (2002)
No one thought that a Southern rapper could ever make the perfect New York City album, but few were shocked that Scarface would be the one to do it. The Fix paired rusty soul samples (courtesy of a young Kanye West, The Neptunes and Nottz) with guttural, emotive lyrics. ‘The Fix’ was more than just a solid front-to-back listen — it was timeless.
6. ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,’ OutKast (2003)
Many consider ‘Stankonia’ this duo’s best, but it was when Big Boi and Andre 3000 bundled their solo albums together in this fantastic package that their talent truly shined. Crazy hip-hop on one disc and experimental compositions on the other offered something for everybody, making for a sprawling, if not confusing, insta-classic.
5. ‘The Marshall Mathers LP,’ Eminem (2000)
Not only was Eminem’s second mainstream release the fastest-selling album of all time, but it also stands as one of Em’s best. And you know you’ve got a classic album when thousands of teens across the country bleach their hair to mimic the man behind the mic. If anything, imitation truly is the best form of flattery.
4. ‘The College Dropout,’ Kanye West (2004)
While Kanye did mostly stellar work throughout the decade, ‘The College Dropout,’ his first effort, remains his shining achievement. Mixing the chipmunk soul of his original production work with a new style of conscious meets mainstream lyricism (the only rapper with a Benz and a backpack), Ye changed the game by expanding its palette.
3. ‘Supreme Clientele,’ Ghostface Killah (2000)
When ‘Supreme Clientele’ came out, the mighty Wu-Tang Clan was rapidly falling off the map. Ghostface Killah saved the entire movement with his best record — a mindblowing cornucopia of soulful beats and some of the more inventive, deranged wordplay ever put to tape.
2. ‘The Chronic 2001,’ Dr. Dre (2001)
Dr. Dre sure knows how to cement his own legendary status. With the original ‘The Chronic,’ he put west coast hip-hop on the pop culture map. ‘The Chronic 2001′ updated the formula with new sounds, new styles and the growing powerhouse presence of Eminem.
1. ‘The Blueprint,’ Jay-Z (2001)
There’s really not much to say about ‘The Blueprint’ that hasn’t been printed a million times. It’s where Jay became untouchable on all levels and left the rest of hip-hop in the dust. It was a model for countless imitations and none came even close to the original.