My Decade In Rap, Pt. 1 [2000-2002]

With end-of-the-decade lists dominating conversations on the blogsphere, I figure it’s a good as time as any to get mine out the way. Instead of creating a ranked “best of” list, I’ll share with you the decade of music as I remember it. I have a tendency to recall moments in my life according to what music was hot at the time or what album I was listening to. Hip-hop is the soundtrack to my life and this is how I lived the past decade.


Fresh off the bling era, hip-hop was living large and I wasn’t. Still BK bound on the iron horse, Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP made the ride much more bearable. Dr. Dre’s protégé proved he was more than a gimmick on his sophomore effort. I was digging “Stan” so much that I went out and purchased Dido’s album—and promptly told my boys I copped it for my sister.

Dark and personal, Em’s lyricism put me on notice that I may have to alter my list of Top 10 MCs. Not that Jay-Z had anything to worry about. The reigning King of New York came through with another banger, The Dynasty Roc La Familia. This time he let the Roc-A-Fella family, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Amil, get their shine. For his part, Beanie gained my utmost respect on Dynasty after he already earned his stripes on his debut, The Truth, which came out earlier in the year.

An unexpected surprise in the two-triple-O was St. Louis rapper, Nelly. I first saw the “Country Grammar” video on a visit to Atlanta and I laughed my ass off. Little did I know, I’d be rocking to “E.I.” and “Ride wit Me” months later. What I did know was that the highlight for my year was the Capone-N-Norega reunion album, The Reunion. As a die-hard C-N-N fan, to hear the two Queens rappers back together made my year.

Playlist Of The Year
1. Eminem feat. Dido – “Stan
2. Jay-Z feat. Beanie Sigel & Scarface “This Can’t Be Life
3. Black Rob – “Whoa
4. Bravehearts – “Oochie Wally
5. Ja Rule feat. Lil Mo & Vita – “Put It On Me


As a native New Yorker, ’01 lives in infamy. Honestly, I really don’t remember much about the year pre-9/11. A skinny overconfident rapper from Atlanta who was calling himself a king intrigued me. I knew a beef was simmering between Nas and Jay after Hova put the God’s Son on blast at Summer Jam.

After I watched the Twin Towers fall, with no way to get back to Brooklyn in the chaos of the terrorist attacks I figure I’d go to The Wiz to cop Jay-Z’s new opus, Blueprint. While I was at it; why not get Fabolous’ new joint, Ghetto Fabolous, and the Training Day soundtrack.

Months after the terrorist attacks the only thing people were talking about was catching Osama Bin Laden and Jay-Z vs. Nas. Once Esco dropped “Ether” it was on. The titans clashed well into the next year. As a Brooklynite and faithful Nas fan this one tore me apart, but as a rap fan I loved every minute of it.

Playlist Of The Year

1. Nas – “Ether
2. Jay-Z feat. Eminem – “Renegade
3. Bubba Sparxx – “Ugly
4. Erick Sermon – “Music
5. Ludacris feat. Nate Dogg – “Area Codes


Ironically I moved out to the West Coast in ’02 when it felt like hip-hop was going through a transition itself. The winds of change were blowing, but we didn’t know what was coming. Homesick I found myself listening to more New York-centric music. I was bumping Talib’s Quality a lot and Cormega’s True Meaning. Cam’ron’s Come Home With Me, was a must have to make it through the traffic on the 405 freeway. I also gave Common’s Electric Circus a few spins.

Just Blaze and Kanye West were getting my respect as the two hottest young producers. Nas’s God’s Son had Jay’s Blueprint 2 beat by far, but the best album of the year came from Scarface. The Fix was a classic. Just what I needed to give me that back home feeling of soulful beats and dope rhymes. No disrespect to the West, but I couldn’t find that out there at the time.

Playlist of The Year

1. Clipse – “Grindin’
2. Cam’ron feat. Juelz Santana –“Oh Boy
3. Nas – “Made You Look
4. Talib Kweli – “Get By
5. Scarface – “My Block

Log in tomorrow as I run through the rest of the decade in part two. —Rondell Conway.

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  • that nigga

    I like how you showed love from all walks and wasnt biased in your playlists. Nice playlist I might add and nice article too.

  • Mike Marbury

    No Homo but u really fucking my head up with the flasbacks being so on point. i gotta say its difficult to choose between “Grinding” an “Oh Boy” for that number 1 spot in 2002 and big up to you for “Music” on the list thats a forgetten classic track. Looking forward to reading the rest on wed….

    • DetroitDraper

      …I say Grindin IMO


  • Chozen1

    took me back with this one…on point for each year!

  • Justice4All

    “Get By” has to be one of the all time best hip Hop Songs. We need the best hip Hop songs of the last 25 years- 0-100- Any suggestions?

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Shit, I had to walk from TCI on 31st St. to 120th and Lenox in Harlem. Like 2 fuckin hours and it was hot as shit!! That fuckin sucked and all of the phone lines were jammed for hours. I think I first heard “Takeover” that day.

  • jonny bizness

    2001 was a better year for rap than 00 but i was banging blacks robs life story hard in 00 and jadakiss kiss the game goodbye just b4 the blueprint in 01 honorably mentions 2 both

  • Vic De Zen

    Brilliant. I’m logging in everyday to see what your playlists are. The article is great and it makes me feel nostalgic. I can’t believe a decade has gone by already! I would have thought Jay-Z’s Bonnie & Clyde would have made the playlist in 2002 over Talib’s Get By, but I can still get with that selection.

  • yoprince

    Scarface’s My Block was so ill.. and the video was crazy.

    speaking of videos.. oochie wally.. dayum.. and that was prolly the only up north joint we let rock at our parties down in the A.

    i also picked up fab’s joint and the blueprint same day 9/11. i swear i didn’t listen to fab’s joint til two weeks later. shit was dusty b4 i got around to it. the blueprint was powder cocaine.

    i listened to Come Home With Me everyday on my discman that summer it was out… and i swear that same summer “hot in herre” was the only song on the radio.. i was in NC at the time.

    good read.

  • AZ40

    Why do you only have 5 song playlist…LMAO at Ochie Wally and Put it on Me…interesting article though

  • GIFT

    When I first heard the Blueprint, I had just got out of church, and was riding wit one of my patnas, and from the very first song to the last, I was hooked. That track he originally did for “You don’t know what you’re doing” was sick as fuck. The Fix from Face was definitely a classic for that time. I still bang TRAP MUSIC to this day from TIP, and I don’t know if this was in the 2000s or the late 90′s, but that first BLACKSTARR Album was solid as well.

  • NotoriousAGC

    brings back MAD memories….nice drop and i can see ur a fan of the whiteboy lol….nice lists..

  • EmCDL

    Damn this brought me back….I was in high school those three years. That Erick Sermon “Music” track was the ish! I remember getting Nas’s “God’s Son” and had that track “Mastermind” on repeat for a hot minute.

    Checking back for tomorrow

  • Penelope Rodriguez

    Damn. I was in junior high at the beginning of the millennium. Those years are a hazy memory, but what I do remember clearly was that the Jay and Nas beef was something that was talked about non-stop. lol everyone in my class was riding for Nas except for this one dude Alan–he rode for Jay. We ostracized him lol.

  • beaver

    “I was digging “Stan” so much that I went out and purchased Dido’s album—and promptly told my boys I copped it for my sister.”hahaha damn..

    nice post.

  • Jesus Martinez

    No mention of M.O.P. and Ante Up? But you still decided to mention some bullshit like Ja Rule, Bubba Sparxx and “Oh Boy.” I like Cam’ron but I always hated that joint.

  • Lowedwn

    Good post. I felt the same way about Nelly too at first, I laughed, then E.I. dropped and it’s still my shit to this day.

    Black Rob’s “Life Story” = Very Slept on album.

  • ThingAlec

    00 was such a dope year. So many good albums came out that year.

  • silentmurder

    man, anybody here remember Direct Effect from MTV? they played so many great videos back then… I remember watching it at my grandma’s house and always going crazy to “Whoa” from Black Rob when I was 10 years old lol.

    and of course who could forget Slim pretty much ruling hip-hop in 2000? I remember ALL my friends had The Marshall Mathers LP when it came out, and that Chocolate Starfish record from Limp Bizkit (I know it’s not hip-hop technically, but that’s pretty much what I listened to back in the day… still do to this day.)

    good times. great post too!

  • sealsaa

    Take-Over was FIRES. People under-estimate Jay’s ability to write a hot diss song(when he wants to). In addition to “Got Myself a Gun” and “Super Ugly”. So many LOL quotables its ridiculous.

    “Had to buy ya chain back last time you got robbed, the nerve of this coward nigga, Oh my god…”

    “Nigga’s will tie you up on the coliseum roof and open beer bottles off the boy’s chipped tooth.”

    And SMH @ Eminem and his watered downed music. He could be so much better…



  • DetroitDraper

    I wish more people was up on Scarface The Fix that album was a classic, very soulful.


  • Kent B

    Classic. Can’t wait for the rest

  • doubleclutch95

    Clipse owned ’02 wit Grindin’… Speaking of which, Til the Casket Drops in stores NOW!!!!

    • BIGNAT

      i got that joint but they not going sell well no 9.99 first week. the snoop joint was 9.99 the clipse is fucking up

  • fg

    bp2 and gods son were on the same level to me.the only difference was that gods son had the banger that was made u look .but gods son is easily nas most forgettable album along with street diciple.

  • Tony Grands

    Good post. Nostalgia always wins.

    Cosign beaver, I went out & bought Dido’s album too. Then turned around & made the same mistake when “Paper Planes’ came out.

  • GO-Getta’

    Put me in the mood with my woman
    Got me in the ear singin’ sweet nothings
    Make love come out of the mouth, no frontin’
    Like all of a sudden
    (Just like music)
    Taking away your worries and cares

  • latino heat

    2000 – 2002 were probably the years that changed my life more then any other.

    i can’t believe you mentioned 2000 w/o mentioning Dr. Dre’s, 2001. i know it was released in Nov. 1999 but it still banged straight through the summer of 2000. i agree with a lot of your picks like the CNN, Reunion album and the Training Day SDTRK. if you were gonna pick a Cormega album i would’ve went with The Realness from 2001 over The True Meaning. God’s Son and BP2 were both huge letdowns. and also just my opinion but as i’ve said before Oochie Wally is the worst rap song ever. it damn near made me say fuck Nas. until 2001 came and Nas brought it back. also in 2002 Devin The Dude released the only album from that year that i still listen to on a frequent basis, Just Trying To Live. i also agree that The Fix is a classic.

    i know i’m rambling but these years really bring back so many great memories, musically and otherwise. i’m looking forward to tomorrow’s blog.

  • TheCoolest

    Actually this decades ends on the 31st of december 2010 not in 09′…
    Do the math..

    • bollocks

      Wrong. A Decade is ten years, and typically, we refer to a decade as being from the year ending in zero to the year ending in nine, i.e. the 80s = 1980-1989

      Ten Years. 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09.

      Do the math.

  • Detroit Dave

    Typical XXL MAG east coast bias still not giving the south love. How can you forget OUTKAST “SO FRESH SO CLEAN” ?

  • megulito

    memories great post damn thats when i really started liking music and i needed that shit too life was fucked up the shit really got me through a lot now that i think about it this is one the best posts ive had to read

  • matrix31


    I count ten years there my man… lmao


    a lil late but i had to put some thought into wtf was i doing in 2000-01. i was just about to leave junior high & it was all about T.I. – I’m Serious. when that shit dropped… OMG. nigga had the streets on fire. & he went on to drop the classic Trap Muzik the following year.

  • caino

    Dont know why peeps hate on Gods Son, its my favourite Nas album (after Illmatic of course!)

    And Black Rob is very much slept on! (if he can only keep his theiving ass out of Jail!)

  • Ladidadida

    big nas fan, but i got to admit this is biased where is outkast? As far a smash singles go you eft out afroman 2002 bcuz i got hi. Everyones heard that. And he was nominated for a grammy. Not saying he deserves to make any lists but it was a hit song

  • bollocks

    Great drop. Love the personal touches, the memories tied to the music — that’s what makes this shit important: how we identify and engage with it. Also dig the honesty (LOLz @ buying Dido’s shit), I appreciate how real you kept it.

    “Hey Ma” is infinitely better than “Oh Boy,” though…

  • Joe

    Wow. Gittin emotional man

    01-02 I was in my 2nd and 3rd yr of college; possibly the best 2 years of my life. Main things that stick out to me:

    1) Wakin up late (11am) on 9/11 to see all my roomates glued to the set, thinkin it was a movie or sumthn

    2)When BP cam out, walkin to class hearin EVERYBODY playin it. Nggas can play around, but from that time BP comin out to ether droppin it was the Jay golden age.

    3) Dipset, Dipset, Dipset. Lookin back it was a huge case of D’ Ridin, but the Dips had evrybody throwin up the dip set sign.. and when ‘i’m ready’ and ‘I really mean it’ came on in the club?! *dead*

  • Joe

    Im gon git yall with this one:

    Summer of 2001, Jay Z dropped a rack of mixtape songs:

    Early this Morning, Addicted to the Game, Guess Who’s Back (thought it was his song, later was on The Fix)


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  • Brooklyn

    the playlists were on point, no doubt, but for ’01 i woulda put “takeover” or “supa ugly” instead of “renegade.” those songs bring that whole time period back for me.

  • DaruTWH

    Yo! It seems like it´s almost a taboo to speak who won the Jay z/Nas beef. It gives me the idea that you chose Ether over Takeover, though you don´t mention it. I too think that, Nas on a killing spree, Jay z was murdered (and put in his place), not only on ether but on renegade too (props to the eminem verse)


  • John Cauner

    2000-Stankonia/Outkast, Fantastic, Vol. 2/Slum Village, The Marshall Mathers LP/Eminem, Skull & Bones/Cypress Hill, The Dynasty Roc La Familia/Jay-Z, Supreme Clientele/Ghostface Killah,
    2001-MTV Unplugged/Jay-Z, Malpractice/Redman, Hi-Teknology/Hi-Tek, Stillmatic/NaS, X.O. Experience/Tha Liks
    2002-Legend Of The Liquid Sword/GZA, The Best Of DJ Quik/DJ Quik, Felt: A Tribute To Christina Ricci/Felt, The Embodiment of Instrumentation/Scratch, The Eminem Show/Eminem, The Lost Tapes/NaS, The Blueprint 2/Jay-Z, God’s Son/NaS, The Fix/Scarface

  • dstarr


  • Pingback: - » My Decade in Rap, Pt. 3 [2006-2007]

  • Abdul Sosa

    Ill murder everyone here to go abck to this year or a time when hip hop coming. P.S i was kiddin’ on the murder i was jp, but yee these days were the shit. My childhood is the shit man, i guess you know if you want hip hop back you gotta do it yourself. Rappers gotta appeal to the pop audience while spittin’ hard/catchy shit like 50 in 03′. But anywayz , i do appreciate this on how you show love for NY(best hip hop no lie) and everywhere else. This is when Jadakiss was blowin’ up, Em’ and Jay ruled the game popularity wise, Nas was beside those 2, nelly ran the singles worldwide, 50 cent mania was beginning.
    Dont you miss these days?

  • alderman j


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