If you've been listening to hip-hop for the past decade, then you've lived through one of the genre's strangest periods: The Ringtone Rap Era. It was a time loosely defined by a series of one-hit wonders, songs that seemingly popped up weekly with excellent beats, catchy hooks...and not much else. What made ringtones so frustratingly disposable was that they were seemingly created with the sole purpose of capitalizing on the then-emerging popularity of ringtones—it didn't matter if the songs were good in their entirety, since they only needed to bump for the 10-30 seconds that your phone rang. Although a number of artists were able to begin real careers as ringtone rappers, the genre was notorious for creating stars who made one Top 40 hit and then faded into oblivion.
Ringtone sales began rising in 2004, peaked in 2007 (when they brought in $881 million dollars), and have been declining ever since. Even if people recently realized that we were just fine when our phones rang like well, phones, and not jukeboxes, there's no denying there was something noteworthy about those four years. That why we put together A History of Ringtone Rap One-Hit Wonders, so you can reminisce about the hits...because we're pretty sure the artists themselves didn't leave much of an impression.