If you checked out my Gemini Season post, then you know it’s my birthday (June 5th), so I figured I would subject you all to celebrating with me. In honor of the day that I was brought into the world just to make my parents’ lives even more stressful and expensive (along with my own once I reached adulthood), I have compiled a breakdown of every Hip-Hop song in the Billboard Top 10 the week of my birthday starting in the year 1996 and spanning over the past 25 years. It’s fun to see the different patterns and trends that took place as Hip-Hop evolved over the years. So come get nostalgic with me!
We get to kick it off with the week of June 8th, 1996. I was born. I don’t really recollect a whole lot of it. Or any of it. I’m sure my mom wasn’t having the best time considering she had to go into labor. But I know she was thrilled to find out that I was a little girl because the dumbass doctors prepared her for otherwise. At the same time, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony had just released “Tha Crossroads,” which made it to the #1 spot. While there wasn’t much Hip-Hop in the top 10 in that particular week, seeing that song as #1 just reiterates the fact that that track would go on to be a classic. It’s all about quality, not quantity. And although I didn’t really get to experience that song in its time, it was a track that revolved around building memories, which I got to do as I got older.
The charts still weren’t overly dominated by Hip-Hop songs in the week of June 7th, 1997, but even those songs cemented their places in history. Mark Morrison carried #2 with his track, “Return of the Mack,” while Biggie’s “Hypnotize” held #4. While this could be because he passed just a few months earlier on March 9th, there’s no doubt that “Hypnotize” can still be heard at just about every bar in 2021. In fact, my fondest association with that song was created in 1999, when Kat Stratford got wasted and danced on a table at a high school party in 10 Things I Hate About You. With that being said, “Return of the Mack” is also a timeless classic. While I think there’s definitely a generation that knows nothing about this track, I do think there’s a TikTok trend for both songs. So while 12-year-olds everywhere may have no clue about the cultural impact of these two tracks, at least they know a choreographed line dance to go with some Mark Morrison! I’m convinced we’re living in a simulation.
One of my favorite top 10’s is the week of June 6th, 1998. Monica and Brandy snagged the #1 position with “The Boy Is Mine,” which was quite a moment for pop culture lovers all over. That track added fuel to the flame between the two singers, pinning them both against one another. They recently revisited the song and the feud that resulted in a Verzus battle, showing that time really can heal all wounds. However, in my humble opinion, that song is overshadowed by the #2 spot; Next’s “Too Close.” This is one of my favorite songs ever. If this track comes on while I’m out, just know I’m fucking it up. While the lyrics don’t hold up quite as well in 2021, (let’s be honest now ladies, we’ve all experienced this in a club and it is NOT nearly as enticing), it’s still a bop.
TLC created a relatable anthem for single women everywhere with “No Scrubs,” and it showed the week of June 5th, 1999, when it grabbed #3 on the charts. Even today, I recite those lyrics to myself when first meeting a man. And then I ignore the red flags and wonder why I’m paying for my own meal. Sometimes his too. It happens to the best of us. Regardless, they laid out the blueprint for what to avoid when dating, and I will be forever in their debt for the advice. JT Money seized #7 with “Who Dat,” and I’ll try to keep my opinion to myself. While I get why this song was a hit, I can’t stand it. Sole killed it though.
The week of June 10th, 2000 had quite an interesting mix on the top 10. Sisqo held onto the #3 spot with his song, “Thong Song.” A whole song dedicated to a pair of panties. Now that whale tails are making a comeback, do you think we need a part 2? Are we too desensitized for a part 2? Do we need a woman’s perspective? Cardi, where you at? Aaliyah took the #6 position with her song, “Try Again,” after writing it for her first film, Romeo Must Die. The singer actually made history with that song, becoming the first track in Billboard History to top the charts solely because of airplay. Eminem released “The Real Slim Shady” as the lead single off of The Marshall Mathers LP, snagging #7. It became one of his first tracks to reach #1 in the UK and ultimately became his biggest success in his career to that point. Both “Thong Song” and “The Real Slim Shady” showed the power of comedic rap, creating actual Hip-Hop songs with hilarious, parody-like lyrics; a trend that dominated the 2000’s.
The early 2000s were a magical time for Hip-Hop. By June 9th, 2001, Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” and Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On” dominated the charts just in time for summer, holding onto the #4 and #8 spots. While “Ride Wit Me” became Nelly’s most successful single, it only paved the way for several of his songs that charted throughout the 2000s. “Get Ur Freak On” continued to rank on numerous lists for both best songs and best music videos of all time. It’s no surprise that she ended up becoming the first female rapper in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
By 2002, Hip-Hop had taken over. The top 10 list for the week of June 8th, 2002 includes absolute bangers. Coming in at #1, we have Ashanti’s “Foolish,” where it held the #1 spot for 10 weeks. While this version was released from her self-titled album as the debut single, there is also a promotional version titled “Unfoolish.” This version includes a verse from Biggie taken from his song, “Fucking You Tonight.” Coming in at #2 is Diddy’s “I Need a Girl (Pt. 1),” featuring Usher and Loon. Part two of the song, which was released just months after part 1, featured Ginuwine, Loon, Mario Winans, and Tammy Ruggeri. The second part also made it to the charts, a rare occurrence for two components of one song. Ashanti continued to kill it at #3 with Fat Joe and Ja Rule on the track, “What’s Luv?” This is another favorite that will probably always be relevant. We all know I love that Ja Rule/Ashanti era. Eminem took #4 with his Slim Shady persona on the raunchy song, “Without Me.” This is yet another time in Hip-Hop that confuses the hell out of me when looking back at it in comparison to now. How is this the same angry man that released Recovery?! I did have to double-check if “Love The Way You Lie” was going to be mentioned but thankfully, I don’t have to talk about it. Nelly comes back for another year with “Hot In Herre” at #5, because you already know he was heating up every summer in the 2000s. Usher was also thriving with a 2nd song in the top 10 at #7 with “U Don’t Have to Call.” And lastly, and most hilariously, is Rakim and Truth Hurts at #9 with “Addictive.” The track actually samples an old Bollywood song titled “Kaliyon Ka Chaman.” Oddly enough, Harry Anand’s remix has recently resurfaced and taken over Brown Tik Tok. Apparently, time no longer exists in the music industry.
50 Cent reserved the #1 spot on June 7th, 2003, with his hit, “21 Questions,” featuring Nate Dogg. The song was a pretty big risk for the rapper as he embraced an R&B approach for the track, but it ended up paying off. Yet another powerhouse from the 2000s was the infamous duo of Mariah Carey and Busta Rhymes. The two joined forces on “I Know What You Want,” along with Flipmode Squad, earning the 3rd spot. While I do still adore that song, unfortunately, I tend to associate it with that really terrible washed-up performance of the two of them. I’m so sorry. Speaking of not holding up over time, we have Fabolous’s “Can’t Let You Go” at #4. Although I love this song, the lyrics have taken on a different meaning after the rapper hid his partner from the public and then got caught with domestic violence charges. We have Love & Hip-Hop to thank for some of that. Lil Kim got the #8 spot with her song, “Magic Stick,” along with 50 Cent yet again, showing just how the queen held her own with all the heavy-hitting rappers. It also demonstrates how the criticism surrounding “WAP” may have been just a bit dramatic. Women have been lil freaks on the charts for a minute now! It’s nothing new. And lastly, we have 50 Cent with his 3rd track, “In Da Club,” at #9. This track is another one that landed on multiple “all-time” lists, cementing its legacy.
Diddy managed to get back on the charts the week of June 5th, 2004, with his track, “I Don’t Wanna Know,” along with Mario Winans. The song, which probably makes you think of the Fugees’ “Ready Or Not,” includes the Irish singer Enya’s “Boadicea,” which is also used in the Fugees’ track. A similar instrumental can also be heard in Rotimi’s “In My Bed,” which was released in 2019. Usher also reappeared on the charts with his song, “Yeah!”, featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris. It’s definitely one of those songs that you still hear at just about every wedding. The track actually stole the throne in 2004 for the longest-running #1 single, but by this point, had moved down a little. It brings me a lot of joy to say that Twista held onto the 6th position with his song, “Overnight Celebrity.” The song, which showcased the incredibly underrated duo of Kanye and Twista, received a Grammy nomination for best rap solo performance. And capping off the list at #10 is Petey Pablo’s “Freek-A-Leek,” which unfortunately just reminds me of disgusting grinding in a sweaty middle school gym. Not my middle school though… We were saints.
During the week of June 11th, 2005, Ludacris made it back on the charts when he featured in Ciara’s “Oh.” The two managed to hold onto the 3rd spot with the Atlanta anthem and even won an award for the ‘Choice Music Make-Out Song’. Didn’t know that was a thing. Speaking of Ciara, where the hell is “1, 2 Step”?! I swear that song was EVERYWHERE in 2004. Moving on, 50 Cent made it back yet again at #4 with “Just A Lil Bit,” showing just how versatile he could be in contrast to “21 Questions.” If the track gives you “Candy Shop” vibes, it’s probably because they were both released off of Get Rich or Die Tryin’. At #5 we have another one of my favorite music disappointments, The Black Eyed Peas with “Don’t Phunk With My Heart.” This song floods me with so many memories. Did I understand the cleverness of the wordplay at that age? Not quite sure. Either way, such a dope and innovative song. Unfortunately, we see those same ‘innovative’ qualities later down the list with some of their more recent releases… But I’ll save my comments for when we get there. And what a surprise! #7 goes to none other than 50 Cent with “Hate It Or Love It.” Yet another incredible song. But lastly, and probably the most nostalgic song on the list for me thus far, is Will Smith’s “Switch.” That intro!!! How could you forget that?! I wonder if my parents will remember how much my brother and I played the hell out of this song.
Ahh, the year 2006. The year in which I finally begin to remember just how embarrassing I was during my adolescence. The #1 spot really reiterates that as Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone topped the charts with “Ridin” during the week of June 10th, 2006. Did anyone actually look cool when that song came out? Oh god, and then Weird Al Yankovic released the parody, “White and Nerdy.” Kids these days will never understand how exciting it was when Weird Al re-did one of your favorite songs. #3 goes to the much-deserved Nelly Furtado and Timbaland with “Promiscuous.” Looking back, that is one song that still hits the same exact way it did when it came out. I remember being ugly in summer camp trying to get the attention of a cute older boy whenever this song came on. It also is how I learned what promiscuous meant at such a young age, so I’m pretty proud of that! A big thanks to Timbaland for expanding my vocabulary. The #8 spot was held by Lil Jon, E-40, Sean Paul, and Youngbloodz, with “Snap Yo Fingers.” I’m just now realizing how bizarre those names are together on one track. What a time.
Alright. 2007. Now we’re fucking talking! During the week of June 9th, 2007, Rihanna continued the start of her world domination when she held onto the #1 spot with her song, “Umbrella,” featuring Jay-Z. You could not hear that song for decades and still remember exactly how it sounds just by hearing the title. #2 went to the Shop Boyz with “Party Like a Rock Star,” and honestly I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. Man, do I wish I was old enough to have been in a club when that song first got released. T-Pain and Yung Joc snagged #4 with “Buy U A Drank,” and I suddenly remember trying to act wayyyyy too grown. I don’t know what drinks I thought anyone was buying me. I was like 11. And lastly, the only dance that I bothered to learn. It was so simple and yet I still probably managed to look ridiculous. Huey’s “Pop, Lock, and Drop It” at #10. If only TikTok dances today were that easy.
By June 7th, 2008, Lil Wayne introduced me to just how phallic some foods were thought of as with his #1 song, “Lollipop.” Even now, it still makes me uncomfortable. Usher returned to the charts at #6 with “Love In This Club.” I’m not sure why, but this is yet another song that brought me a lot of discomfort. If you’re having sex in a nightclub, is it really making love? I guess that’s subjective, but either way, I think this is some pretty serious journalism. Right after his sex tape launched Kim Kardashian into an obnoxious amount of wealth and fame, Ray-J released “Sexy Can I,” holding the #8 spot. While he as a person just generally creeps me out, I did actually love that song. It reminds me of the New Boyz era, with songs like “You’re a Jerk” and “Tie Me Down.” Remember those bright-ass baby blue skinny jeans? Revolutionary.
2009. Where things start to go downhill. The week of June 6th, 2009, the real problem, in my opinion, is the fact that the Black Eyed Peas held the #1 spot with “Boom Boom Pow.” Who was listening to this song so much?! Why?! Jamie Foxx earned the 3rd position with “Blame It,” and while I have written about how this song was never particularly okay from the get-go, I understand why it did so well on the charts. It’s really catchy. With that being said, we leave drunk women alone! The one song to make it all better, though, is Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘n’ Nite,” which was ranked at #7. The track has rightfully made it on notable lists including Rolling Stones’ Best 25 Songs of 2019 and Complex’s 100 Best Songs of the Decade. Fun fact, my dad calls Kid Cudi Kid Curry and my mom wants to marry him. He’s got an important spot in my family’s heart.
By June 5th, 2010, the charts have started to depress me. However, I’ll be honest and say that this is looking back at it with new and mature 25-year-old eyes. I’m sure 14-year-old me was loving it. Eminem was positioned at #9 with “Not Afraid,” but in terms of Hip-Hop, that was about it. At the same time, though, we started to see a strong crossover between pop and rap. So songs such as “Airplanes,” “California Gurls,” and “Break Your Heart” were dominating the top 10, and while they’re as poppy as it gets, they do feature incredible names like Snoop Dogg, B.O.B., and Ludacris. Incredible may be hyperbole for one of those names but I’ve already talked enough shit so I’m gonna chill. I’m talking about you, B.O.B. Earth is round!!!
The week of June 11th, 2011 unfortunately didn’t include a lot of Hip-Hop either. DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One” was ranked at #10 and featured artists like Lil Wayne and Drake, but that was about it. It did, however, serve as the first top 10 song for both Rick Ross and DJ Khaled.
June 9th, 2012 literally only had Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” at #5. Does that even count? I love Nicki, but fuck that song. Respectfully.
June 8th, 2013 featured Macklemore at the #1 position with “Can’t Hold Us.” I feel like I’m really grasping here. But according to the Grammys he’s a Hip-Hop artist so who am I to argue with that!
The whole week of June 7th, 2014 is basically Jason Derulo. We’re not doing this.
Alright, we begin to see some progress the week of June 6th, 2015, and no, I’m not talking about the Taylor Swift/Kendrick Lamar collaboration that held #1. Although that was a cultural reset. I am talking about Fetty Wap at #3 with “Trap Queen” though! There is no era quite like the Fetty era. Ah. The memories. Capping the list at #10 for the week was T-Wayne’s “Nasty Freestyle,” and I’ll be completely honest. I had no idea that this was what that particular song was called. This song, which featured T-Wayne rapping over Bandit Gang Marco’s 2014 song, “Nasty,” showed just how impactful going viral with a song could be. While it was the age of Vine, it set the precedent that we see now with songs from TikTok making it on the charts.
Things start to even out by June 11th, 2016. Forreal, what the hell was that. Where was the rap music?! Drake blessed the #1 spot with his hit, “One Dance,” and while it may not be a Hip-Hop record, I think we can include this one. Desiigner reached #2 with “Panda,” and despite no one being able to comprehend a single lyric, he did make it to the XXL Freshmen Cypher which I suppose is an accomplishment depending on who you ask. Regardless, it launched Desiigner’s career of bizarre adlibs, and even caught the attention of Kanye West, who created a “Panda (Pt. 2)”. Drake and Rihanna killed it at the #10 spot with “Work.” I really think that this song can build up a legacy similar to older tracks like “Promiscuous.” Because I remember when this song came out in college, it was the song. This could make anyone dance.
By the week of June 10th, 2017, DJ Khaled made it back on the charts at the #3 spot with “I’m The One.” That song really fueled my vendetta against Chance the Rapper, especially because at one point it did hold the #1 spot, making it Chance’s first #1 on the Billboards. I guess I understand how this could do well on the charts, but how did this win a Grammy? I’m sorry, I will never be able to wrap my head around that. Moving on, Kendrick Lamar struck #4 with “HUMBLE.” This marked Kendrick’s first-ever #1 single on the Billboards unless we’re counting T Swift’s “Bad Blood (which we’re not), and while it is so well-deserved, it’s astonishing that it took this long in his career. Future held #6 with “Mask Off,” and I’m sure we may see that back on the charts any day now with the lifting restrictions. There were already enough corny jokes made about it during the height of the pandemic. Lil Uzi Vert received the 9th position with “XO TOUR Llif3,” AKA the most annoying song title to type out. I also don’t think I ever knew that this was what that song was called either. This song did peak at #7, which was his highest-charting song. I’d say it’s pretty well-deserved. While I may not be his most avid listener, I really admire Uzi’s creativity and innovation. It’s refreshing.
During the week of June 9th, 2018, we see a bit of Hip-Hop, as well as Hip-Hop fusion. Genres are no longer quite as restricting at this point in time. That does have its perks in terms of giving artists creative liberties, but it does make it hard for categorical things such as awards. Drake held #1 with “Nice For What,” which isn’t too much of a surprise. It was a fun take on “Ex-Factor,” especially because while that is a beautiful song on its own, it can be a bit of a downer. #2 goes to Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign with “Psycho,” and while I adore both of them as artists, I think this may be the most irritating song ever. I’m sorry, but it’s definitely both of their worst songs for me. Drake continued to dominate the charts with #3, which was held by “God’s Plan.” This song actually became the most-streamed song of 2018 on both Apple Music and Spotify, and while I’m not Drake’s biggest fan, this may be up there for one of my favorite songs of his. From 2018 to now is definitely some of Drake’s strongest work in my opinion. Childish Gambino received his first #1 on the charts with “This Is America,” which at this point, had moved to #4. The song touched on issues such as gun violence in the US and featured some pretty heavy themes in the music video. Unfortunately, some of the serious tones of the song were lost because of the music video, but even that was packed full of symbolism. Drake was also at #6 with Lil Baby on their track, “Yes Indeed,” helping Lil Baby achieve his first top 10 hit. Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin took #7 with “I Like It,” combining trap and salsa music while also sampling “I Like It Like That” to create the fun summer hit.
I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong. And that I mayyyy be a bit judgmental. So when I first saw that “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X was still holding the #1 spot the week of June 8th, 2019 for the 100000th week in a row, I was like…why. But now, looking at this in 2021 when I’m another year older and wiser, and after discovering just how brave and hilarious Lil Nas X is, this fills my heart with happiness. If there is anyone I want to watch succeed, it’s Lil Nas X. Pole dance all over the place, honey. Post Malone and Swae Lee held #6 with “Sunflower.” Honestly, that was such a feel-good song, so I don’t mind it. And I loved that song so much more after seeing it used in Into the Spider-Verse. DaBaby sat at the #9 spot with “Suge,” comparing his own success to the Death Row Records CEO, Suge Knight. While I do like that song, his flow hasn’t really changed much since then. In fact, it sounds just about the same on every song. I guess you can say he’s consistent.
We’re here. We made it. To the year that shall not be named. Just kidding, I have to name it for consistency. The week of June 6th, 2020, just about every song we see on the charts had an accompanying TikTok trend. At #2, Megan Thee Stallion continued to dominate the charts with “Savage.” By this point, the song had been played to death, but it was still trending. DaBaby and Roddy Ricch held #3 with “Rockstar,” probably because it also had a TikTok song. Because if we’re being honest, this song is also annoying as hell. Even after getting canceled for her participation in Alt-Right chatrooms, Doja Cat remained on the charts at #5 with “Say So,” once again thanks to a TikTok dance. I think this is getting redundant. Drake carried #6 with “Toosie Slide,” with the 2020 Cha Cha Slide as if we needed it to be any clearer what his label execs were hoping would happen with this track. Another TikTok dance. Roddy Ricch also held the #8 spot with “The Box,” thanks to the first 10 seconds of his song! Regardless, it’s catchy. I’m not gonna hate on this one. And the TikTok trend was actually pretty dope. Justin Bieber reserved the 9th spot with “Intentions,” and I’m not entirely sure if this counts but it features Quavo so I guess that’s something. Lastly, capping off #10 is Future and Drake with “Life Is Good,” because we really did need that reminder at this time last year. While most of these songs were trending through social media, it represents the transition to how we consume new music. From an app run by 12-year-olds and rich kids in California. Just kidding, my friends finally got me to make a TikTok and now I just spend hours scrolling through every night. I do still hate what it’s done to the music industry though.
And to end things perfectly, we have our 25th year, on my 25th birthday, June 5th, 2021. To start things off, we have Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open” at #5. I think everyone knows I’m a huge Anderson .Paak fan, but if I never hear this song again, I’ll be okay. It has been played to death. At #6, we have Justin Bieber’s “Georgia Peaches,” featuring Daniel Ceasar and Giveon. And lastly, we have “Kiss Me More,” by Doja Cat and SZA at #8. It’s a little bit disappointing but definitely expected. TikTok has overplayed just about every decent song, and there’s no “Ride Wit Me” level song to prep us for the summer. As a result, I will most likely be celebrating with hits from the 2000s this weekend to remind me of my fleeting youth. Take a shot in my honor, and check out my Instagram to see my brand new stickers that you can cop now. Just shoot me a message with your address and I’ll send some your way. The beautiful design is created by one of my favorite Philly artists, who you can find at @framedsuspects on Instagram. Shower her with love and praise, she deserves it! And if you see my sticker around your city, or if you put it up yourself, make sure to hashtag it with #SpiceOnTheBeat. Keep an eye out for new merch that is in the works as well! Thank you for all of the birthday wishes as well as your continuous support. Here’s to another year!