13. 50 Cent "In Da Club" (2003)
Producer: Dr. Dre
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Label: Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope, Shady
Deceptively simple but unforgettable, this is a text-book example of the Dr. Dre hit-making formula—a head-nodding, minimalist beat peppered with flourishes of live guitar, keys, and bass (special mention to the mighty DJ Quik on percussion). In the Vitamin Water commercial 50 conducts a symphony orchestra as they play the beat—and it doesn't sound bad—but this one's more classic than classical. Dre's track was the soundtrack for 50's introduction to the mainstream. But more than his laid-back drawl, party chants, statements of intent to take over the rap game, and obligatory references to getting shot, it was the beat that made this a song even Oprah Winfrey could love. With the single selling 7 million copies and the video clocking in at over 128 million YouTube views, if you lived on the planet Earth in 2003, you knew this song by heart—like it or not.
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