50 Best Summer Rap Songs of the 2000s


Picking 50 best summer rap songs from the 2000s is no cool water, folks. But, neither is summer. One of the things that makes the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day so exciting (besides the boiling weather and chicks in bikinis) is the peculiar summer music that tags along. Whether you're stuck in traffic on a sweltering weekday, entertaining friends with your grill skills (we're only assuming here), or skinny dipping at a pool party, you'll surely find a fun soundtrack in one of these summer rap songs. 

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2000

Common The Light
MCA Records

5. Jay-Z (Feat. UGK) - "Big Pimpin'"
Oh man, the good ol' days when Timbaland was cranking out club knockers every other Tuesday. Jiggaman and UGK teamed up to give us this sureshot in the summer of 2000.

4. Mystikal - "Shake It Fast"
Formula for success in the 2000s: Neptunes on the beat + Pharrell on the chorus. It worked for Mystikal, who rode "Shake Ya Ass" all the way to No. 13 on the Hot 100 chart in July 2000.

Nelly - "Country Grammar"
Nelly came out the door blasting with his first single becoming a global smash. The album that shares its title with this song basically launched Nelly's career into the stratosphere.

2. Shyne - "Bad Boyz"
You couldn't go anywhere in 2000 without hearing Barrington Levy's voice booming from the speakers, accompanied by Shyne's gritty flow. He was practically on top of the world until a gun charge sent him to jail and deflated his career.


1. Common - "The Light"
Inspired by Common's ex Erykah Badu and produced by the late great J Dilla, "The Light" warmed up many nights throughout the 2000s. It was musical irrigation to our souls the first time it washed over the summer airwaves.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2001

Fabulous Can't Deny
Desert Storm Records

5. Erick Sermon (ft. Marvin Gaye) - "Music"
"To relax my mind so I can be free" are the first words on Erick Sermon's "Music." Isn't that what comes to mind when we hear the words "summer" and "music." Marvin puts on a hell of a performance from the other side.

4. Ludacris - "Rollout (My Business)"
"Rollout" wasn't the top smash from Luda's Word of Mouf LP. That would be the insanely misogynistic "Area Codes," which reached No. 22 on the Hot 100. But "Rollout" was the first single to showcase his witty flow. Timbaland's signature bassline didn't hurt.

3. Fabolous (ft. Nate Dogg) - "Can't Deny It"
Before Akon stole his spot, Nate Dogg used to be the go-to guy for hooks. His contribution on Fab's single helped make it a catchy tune in 2001.

2. Jay Z - "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)"
In the midst of his battle with Nas, Jay Z needed a magical moment. Kanye delivered it to him on this Jackson 5-sampling anthem from The Blueprint.

1. Bubba Sparxxx - "Ugly"
Bubba's sincere rhymes about being a po white folk in the south made this a standout in 2001. The video with pig-chasing scenes? Priceless.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2002

Nelly - "Hot in Herre"
Universal Records

5. Busta Rhymes - "Pass the Courvoisier II"
When Busta commands you to ''pass the courvoisier,'' he ain't talking about summer beach reading. Unless, of course, the "book" is Genesis, the energetic album that produced Busta's party jam.

4. Styles P - "Good Times"
If your summer pastime consists sitting alone in your four-corners fogging up the air, then this is your soundtrack of choice.

3. Cam'ron - "Oh Boy"
It was one of the cheesiest songs of the year but that Rose Royce sample and that Just Blaze beat made "Oh Boy" a staple at every outdoor party.

2. Nelly - "Hot in Herre"
"Hot in Herre" was designed as a summer hit all along, but Nelly got more than he bargained for as it became his first chart-topping single and inspired a remix craze that went on for years.

1. Clipse - "Grindin'"
Hot summer days heated up every time those sinister drums came over the airwaves. With its barebones Neptunes beat, handclaps, cellos, and Clipse's menacing vocals, a summer hit was born.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2003

50 Cent In Da Club
Shady Records

5. Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz - "Get Low"
The sinfully infectious bassline alone was enough to fill a sweltering dance floor in 100-degree weather.

4. Bone Crusher ft. Killer Mike & T.I. - "Never Scared"
Menacing lyrics by Bone Crusher plus equally forceful cameos by T.I. and Killer Mike.

3. OutKast - "Hey Ya"
One mindless phrase repeated over and over and over and over until it becomes irresistible. Heyyyy ya!

2. Joe Budden - "Pump It Up"
The sinfully infectious Just Blaze beat meets Joey's airtight flow. "Pump It Up" is known to fill a sweltering dance floor, even in 100-degree weather.

1. 50 Cent - "In da Club"
50 struck gold with this Dr. Dre concoction from his debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin'. "In da Club" sat atop every chart in every country and scored a few Grammy nods for Fif. Not to mention that everyone went around chanting "Go shawty, it's your birthday" regardless of what day or month it was.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2004

Snoop Dogg - "Drop It Like It's Hot"
Interscope Records

5. Twista - "Slow Jamz"
Even a heat wave seems less cruel thanks to the cruising-the-street soul vibe of "Slow Jamz."

4. Trick Daddy - "Let's Go"
Trick Daddy, Twista, Lil Jon, an arena-ready beat powered by a synthesizer shower. I dare you to keep your hands down.

3. Juvenile - "Slow Motion"
A sizzling skillet of summer groove, greased by Juvie's smooth flow.

2. Snoop Dogg - "Drop It Like It's Hot"
Snoop dropped this one in the hovering humidity of '04 and watched it sit on No.1 for three weeks. His first No.1 song ever is also one of his hottest. Maybe it's the drums.

1. Terror Squad (ft. Fat Joe & Remy Ma) - "Lean Back"
This bouncy trifle went down easy no matter what kind of dance you were doing in the club.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2005

Cassidy - "I'm A Hustla"
J Full Surface

5. Lil' Kim - "Lighters Up"
Do you care that she doesn't make knockers like this anymore? In these four celebratory minutes, Queen B makes us boogie with BK.

4. Young Jeezy - "Go Crazy"
Jeezy salutes d-boys everywhere. Equally amazing is the remix, which finds Jay-Z bouncing on the beat like it came with leather seats.

3. Missy Elliot - "Lose Control"
Missy had the kids writhing around wildly in her typical high-energy fashion.

2. Paul Wall - "Sittin' Sidewayz"
Paul Wall tips his hat to the city of Houston in a remarkable summer anthem.

1. Cassidy - "I'm A Hustla"
This one hustled its way to regular rotation and became a mainstay for the better part of 2005. Bonus points for the most effective use of Jay-Z's voice in a sample ever.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2006

Busta Rhymes - "Touch It"
Aftermath Entertainment

5. Ray Cash (Ft. Scarface) - "Bumping My Music"
I don't fault you for thinking "Ray who?" Sure, Ray Cash is your typical one-hit wonder, but his single "Bumping My Music" was a ubiquitous summer smash in 2006. It's perfect for a Saturday afternoon cruise down the block.

4. Busta Rhymes - "Touch It"
I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Scott Storch first heard Daft Punk's "Technologic." I imagine he brimmed with excitement as he envisioned Bust attacking the beat with ferocity.

3. Rich Boy - "Throw Some D's"
Rich Boy made a splash in 2006 with his ubiquitous hit single, "Throw Some D's," which spawned a kabillion remixes, including the one that ultimately set off Kanye West's campaign for Graduation..

2. Lupe Fiasco - "Kick Push"
Lupe’s skateboard anthem made the world take notice of the Chi-Town MC’s push for the return of the art of storytelling sorely needed in this decade.

1. Chamillionaire ft. Krayzie Bone - "Ridin'"
Cham's octane-flow approach is only rivaled by the fast-tongued Krayzie Bone here. It's arguably the biggest hit to ever come out of Texas. This one was so hot it inspired Weird Al's "White & Nerdy" remix.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2007

Kanye West - "Good Life"
Roc-A-Fella Records

5. Jazzy Jeff feat. C.L. Smooth - "All I Know"
The Jazzmeister cooks up a soulful concoction, while the Smoothsmith lays his rhymes in the cut.

4. Kanye West - "Good Life"
While this may have looked like a doomed collaboration on paper, it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable songs of summer 2007.

3. 50 Cent - "I Get Money"
50 Cent brags about being stanky rich on this sky-scrapingly great banger.

2. Young Buck & The Outlawz - "Driving Down The Freeway"
Aided by Hi-Tek's ominously slamming beat and Dion's inspiring chorus, Young Buck and Outlawz invent a new genre: hardcorerapsoulnica. Check Buck Marley's comical rhymes from Buck Marley: "See when the sunshine come out, the Lamborghini somehow had the haters mad, looking at me with they tongue out."

1. UGK (Feat. OutKast) - "Int'l Players Anthem"
Two revered groups join forces and yield a pulverizing hip-hop moment. From the goofy concept to the way the beat is tailor-made to suit each artist, "Int'l Players Anthem" is flawless. It doesn't matter if you're a backpacker, a purist, or a southern rap aficionado, this is one summer anthem you won't forget anytime soon.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2008

Lil Wayne - "A Milli"
Universal Motown

5. The Roots - "Rising Up"
From the go-go drums to Chrisette Michelle's soulful chorus and Wale's flawless verse, this is what a glorious mid-tempo throb sounds like.

4. Q-Tip - "Move"/"Renaissance Rap"
This twofer reminds us of the many reasons why Q-Tip is such a special artist. It's lively enough for the club and energetic enough for the gym. With a flip of the beat, a bubbly rap song descends into a somber subway jam, as Tip recalls his days as a young MC.

3. N.E.R.D. - "Everyone Nose"
This hilarious paean to booger sugar had all the girls -- and some guys -- fiending for more N.E.R.D goodness.

2. T.I. - "Swagga Like Us"
T.I.'s star-stuffed single instantly became an inescapable radio hit, club banger, and summer staple in 2008. To crown it all, a heavily pregnant M.I.A. joined the boys onstage for a Grammy performance...on her due date. Top that swagga.

1. Lil Wayne - "A Milli"
Weezy goes on a free-verse rampage, rambling about everything under the sun. You have no idea what he's saying, but you simply can't turn it off because his flow is so damn infectious.

Best Summer Rap Songs of 2009

Drake - "Forever"

5. Jay-Z - "On to the Next One"
Jay-Z, who's responsible for popularizing so many catchphrases, adds "on to the next one" to hip-hop lingo with this sweltering smash.

4. Alchemist - "Smile" (Ft. Twista & Maxwell)
Alchemist brings the poignant production, Twista brings a fiery delivery, while Maxwell rounds out the edges with his soulful crooning. The song urges optimism in the face of adversity. You can't help but love it.

3. Kurupt/DJ Quik - "9x Outta 10"
This steely single from Kurupt and Quik's collaborative album, BlaQKout, features Kurupt at his grittiest in years. It's the 2009 version of the Clipse's "Grindin'.

2. Snoop Dogg - "I Wanna Rock"
Electrifying riffs and a catchy hook make this a car-ride classic.

1. Drake - "Forever"
"Forever" is not just a summer jam, it's a hip-hop collaboration of mammoth proportions, an amalgamation of heavyweights. For the sake of argument, yes, Eminem wrecked this song with lines like: "There they go, back in stadiums as Shady spits his flow. Nuts they go, Macadamia they go so ballistic whoa" and "When I slap the bass out your mouth with a taste so great that it shakes the place."