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Friday, January 02, 2004

2003 YEAR END WRAP-UP: Hip-Hop singles 

The stories of the year were, no doubt, the rise (again) of reggae and crunk/bounce music. Lil Jon’s was the face of the 2003 Dirty South revival as his apocalyptic-sounding southern hip-hop production ruled the clubs on his own tracks and with the YoungBloodz, Ying Yang Twinz etc. Artists like Ludacris, Outkast, T.I. and others were also part of the New South revolution.

Meanwhile Sean Paul pulled off the seeming impossible by blowing up huge with a pure dancehall reggae album. Reggae-inspired riddims popped up everywhere else on urban tracks by artists like Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Lumidee, 112 and R. Kelly. By the end of the year hip hop powerhouse label Def Jam had jumped on the reggae bandwagon with their actually-not-bad Def Jamaica compilation, Elephant Man was hyped as the next artist from that scene to pop (although whether he actually will is still TBD) and Nas’s Bravehearts and Usher were both copping Lil Jon beats for their new singles.


1. 2pac feat. Trick Daddy – Still Ballin: Nas duet “Thugz Mansion” got more radio play but this was the club lick to me.

2. Baby feat. The Clipse – What Happened to that Boy

3. Big Noyd – Shoot Em Up

4. Cee-Lo feat. Timbaland – I’ll Be Around

5. Chingy – Right Thurr

6. Diplomats – Dipset Anthem

7. E-40 feat. The Clipse – Quarterbackin’

8. Freeway feat. Peeti Crack – Flipside

9. J-Kwon – Tipsy: if you read this blog regularly, you know I’ve been pumping up this single since I first heard it. Expect it back on the list next year too (probably).

10. Joe Budden – Pump It Up: probably would be my hip hop single of the year if you don’t count Nas’s “Made You Look” which came out right at the end of 2002.

11. Lil Kim – The Jumpoff

12. Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz feat. Ying Tang Twins – Get Low

13. Sheek Louch – OK

14. Ludacris – Stand up

15. Missy Elliott – Pass the Dutch

16. Mobb Deep – Double Shots (see also: Mark Ronson feat. Ghostface, Nate Dogg & Saigon: “Ooh Wee”): 70’s garage-style disco finally gets the hip-hop treatment.

17. Petey Pablo – Club Banger: a very slept-on single from a very slept-on artist. (see also: “Blow Your Whistle,” one of my guilty pleasure singles from last year.)

18. Ja Rule – Clap Back

19. T.I. – 24’s

20. A Tribe Called Quest – I C U Doin’ It: everyone goes on about Slum Village, Little Brother and Mad Lib etc. bringing back that the early 90’s Native Tongues sound and a whole lot of great records sampled classics by the Tribe last year, but when the pioneers themselves dropped this hot-ass jawn, nobody seemed to care. Still makes my list though.

21. Beanie Sigel feat. Peeti Crack & Dirt McGirt -- When You Hear That: this might basically be a straight rip from Cool C’s “Juice Crew Dis” but it was still blazing hot.

22. Young Gunz – Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop


De La Soul – Much More (b-side to “Shoomp”)
Fam-Lay – Rock N Roll
Jae Mills – No No No
Loon feat. Kelis -How You Want It
Obie Trice – Got Some Teeth
Pitch Black – It’s All Real
The Roots feat.Cody Chesnutt – The Seed 2.0

So what about all the big tracks that seem to be on everyone’s year-end singles list? Honestly, the tracks below are ones that I wouldn’t necessarily have played for myself or put on my list but I did have to spin them as a DJ or I succumbed to them after they got banged to death on TV and the radio. Honorable mention goes to Bonecrusher’s “Never Scared” which, despite me liking a lot of the Dirty South anthems from 2003, was a track that never ended up really completely winning me over.

50 Cent – In Da Club
Beyonce – Crazy in Love
Bonecrusher – Never Scared
Alicia Keys –You Don’t Know My Name
Outkast – Hey Ya (thought the song was OK but loved the video, see below)

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