14. 50 Cent "What Up Gangsta" (2003)
Producer: Rob "Reef" Tewlow
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Label: Aftermath, Interscope, Shady
Brutal and basic, the opening song from Get Rich Or Die Tryin' is reminiscent of being bludgeoned with a baseball bat upholstered in Louis Vuitton leather. In 2003 Jay-Z was busy getting suave while Eminem went for full-blown comedy. It was the perfect time for 50 Cent to come out and count the ways he could do you harm. He could cut you, buck you or gun-butt you. He could kill your connect or stomp the bone out your ass in some brand new Chukkas. Does that not sound like the next sponsor of America's favorite sport drink? 50's art was steeped in casual brutality but "What Up Gangsta" also betrays his particular charm; specifically, his special handling of the hook. He makes "gang-STA" sound like a back alley birdcall. —Sam Sweet