50 Hip-Hop Songs Turning 10 in 2019
While social media has folks flashing back to flicks of their older selves with the 10-year challenge, XXL is doing the same with hip-hop. 2009 was an interesting year for hip-hop, featuring rising artists who'd go on to become bonafide stars, legends re-establishing themselves and modern-day superstars completely switching styles. It was a year that will be looked upon fondly in hip-hop's history.
In 2009, hip-hop wasn't shy at all about simply having fun. A multitude of party anthems become club staples of their time. Yo Gotti dropped "5 Star"—you heard those horns and that hook everywhere you went. Yung L.A.'s "Ain't I" livened every kickback in the U.S., showing off Atlanta's present and future. Young Money's "Every Girl" kicked off YM's crazy (and ongoing) run, with Weezy, Nicki Minaj and Drake all being huge draws.
In addition to having a good time, rap in 2009 opened the door to new acts who are now household names. When Drake dropped "Best I Ever Had," he seemingly won everyone over in one fell swoop. The sweet song about showing love to that special someone perfectly toed the line between rap and upbeat R&B. Dreamville's fearless leader J. Cole dropped the heartfelt "Lights Please," kicking off a run that led to him becoming both a superstar and well-respect lyricist. Nipsey Hussle released "Hussle In The House," flipping Kriss Kross' "Jump" and quickly getting himself on the radar as one of the new voices out of the West Coast. As you should know, Neighborhood Nip is now Grammy-nominated, thanks to his debut album Victory Lap.
While the new jacks had a great 2009, so did the established acts—the rappers who were already superstars. Jay-Z released "Empire State Of Mind" alongside Alicia Keys, a track that might as well be the official song of New York City. "Heartless," a huge stylistic change for Kanye West, opened up the darker and more emotional stretch of his career. And on the lighter side, T.I. hit us with "Whatever You Like," the sing-song track about buying the lady in your life whatever she desires.
If you didn't get to experience hip-hop in 2009 firsthand (or even if you did), enjoy our assortment of songs from that era below.