Label: Ill Will, Columbia
Most hip-hop heads point to Nas's 1999 single "You Owe Me" as evidence of his commercial aspirations overtaking his natural songwriting capabilities, and while the concept of the song is pretty out there (We really out here renting out jewelry for sexual favors?), the beat is undeniable. Tim scatters shakers over the drum track while a squelching synth provides the primary melody as Asian string instruments flow in and out of the mix. If you can tune out the weirdly selfish lyrical concept for a moment the next time you listen, you'll hear why this thing made a significant dent at radio when it came out.
45. Nas f/ Ginuwine "You Owe Me" (2000)