2000s - Hip Hop bestsellers and Bling
Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP becomes an international hit and sparks controversy for its misogynistic and homophobic lyrics.
Dr. Dre files a lawsuit against music download tool Napster for copyright infringement.
The West Coast hip-hop scene welcomes the debut album from alternative rappers Jurassic 5 while the South heralds St. Louis rapper Nelly’s Country Grammar.
After being acquitted on charges of assault, Puff Daddy reveals that he is changing his name to P. Diddy to signify the turning over of a new leaf.
Jay-Z and Nas attack one another on songs on their respective new albums.
Twenty-two-year-old Aaliyah dies in a plane crash while making a music video in the Bahamas.
Run-D.M.C.’s Jam Master Jay is shot and killed at the age of 37, murdered outside a New York recording studio.
Eminem reaches epic stardom in his quasi-autobiographical film 8 Mile, which garners an Oscar nomination for its theme song, “Lose Yourself.”
Albums from Blackalicious, Common and Talib Kweli renew interest in more conscious hip-hop.
New York City hardcore rapper 50 Cent releases his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ on Eminem’s Shady/Aftermath record label.
The hip-hop generation’s consumer reach is fully realized as stars such as Nelly, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg market for companies such as Nike, Reebok and AOL.
Jay-Z releases his swan song, The Black Album, and officially retires from making music to manage his other business ventures.
The Dirty South continues to dominate hip-hop as crunk—a distinctly Southern hip-hop style featuring heavy bass and aggressive chanting—takes off.
Jamaican dancehall star Sean Paul’s Dutty Rock is a bestseller, mixing hip-hop and reggae to breakthrough success.
Outkast’s fifth release, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, is a two-album set that features separate recordings by the Andre 3000 and Big Boi and the year’s ubiquitous and crowd-spanning hit, “Hey Ya.”
Mainstream hip-hop becomes synonymous with big bucks as the Russell Simmons empire grows with his label Phat Farm. Nelly becomes part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. Jay-Z—the new president of Def Jam—buys a share in the New Jersey Nets.
Wu-Tang clan member Ol’Dirty Bastard passes away at the age of 35.
Wildly popular 50 Cent makes his cinematic debut in a semi-autobiographical movie, also titled Get Rich or Die Tryin’. The movie is commercially synced with the release of a book, a documentary on 50’s life and a video game, 50 Cent: Bulletproof.
Queen Latifah hosts the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.
Reggaeton, a form of Latin American dance music that mixes hip-hop, reggae and dancehall with Latin rhythms and Spanish raps, takes off worldwide.
Lil Kim is sentenced to a year in jail for perjury, charged with lying to investigators regarding a February 2001 shooting in New York City.
Kanye West’s Late Registration features the massive radio hit “Gold Digger.” The rapper’s impassioned and improvised speech, broadcast on national television during a fundraiser, slamming the Bush Administration’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina victims also further catapults him into the public eye.
Produced by West, Common’s BE is acclaimed for its soulful beats and skillful, conscious lyrics.
Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from the movie Hustle & Flow wins an Oscar for Best Original Song and is the first rap song to be performed on the Academy Awards show.
Releases from alternative rap favorites The Roots and Jurassic 5 exemplify hip-hop’s shift away from mainstream gangsta rap, as diverse hip-hop styles continue to flourish throughout the world.