Things That Prove Hip-Hop in the 2000s Was Wildly Different
If the 2000s feel like a long time ago, it’s because at this point, they are. Twenty years is a lifetime, especially in hip-hop years.
While most popular music videos of the era can be found on YouTube within minutes, a good amount are grainy and distorted, robbed of a quality that was usually pristine. But based on the technology of the era, those videos were probably not in HD in the first place.
While you might not be able to watch a crystal clear version of your favorite Ja Rule and Lil Mo collab, you’re still in a much better place than you might have been in 2004. That was just one year before YouTube was officially launched, so seeing a music video in any form at all online was never a guarantee. If you didn’t have the song on a CD or you didn’t download it from iTunes because you didn’t have a debit car or an iTunes gift card, you might just have to hope the song plays on the radio as part of some semi-throwback lineup. In other words, readily getting access to your favorite music videos or favorite songs could be kind of slow—sort of like that dial-up internet you used to download music from Limewire.
These little hassles and music consumption logistics were just part of the 2000s, an era that largely unfolded before the instant gratification that accompanied a proliferation of smartphones and social media platforms. There were also a lot of dope things, too. Characterized by everything from transformational rap stars to innovative fashion choices to explosive rap trends, the 2000s were a great time.
During the early aughts, a young Chicago producer named Kanye Omari West popularized an innovative sampling technique that soon took over the industry. A bit later, he dropped off his debut solo album, The College Dropout, and promptly shot up to superstar status. Around that same time, he helped push rappers away from wearing jerseys as often as he became one of the first mainstream rappers to rock preppy gear.
Furs were worn, Pelle Pelle belts rocked, jerseys flaunted and iPods were clutched. Punchline rap flourished and Crunk exploded. The 2000s were a movie, and now, we revisit. Today, XXL takes a look at 30 things that remind you of hip-hop in the 2000s.