1. Lil Wayne "A Milli" (2008)
Album: Tha Carter III
Label: Cash Money, Universal Motown
Given the climate of anticipation surrounding it, the success of Tha Carter III was inevitable. Any lead single would've hit radio with a bang. But rather than play it safe with the pop cash, Wayne used "A Milli" to both lock down his core fanbase and convert quite a few outsiders. To Bangladesh's plate-shifting bass tones he rapped like a demon possessed, a goblin in a sea of mere goons.
It's a truly singular pop record and it might just be radio's last rap-centric hit. Which is to say that the actual act of rapping, not a catchy hook or a melodic beat, was its primary draw. (After all, the hook barely exists-it's just a fragment of a couple Phife syllables snatched from an obscure A Tribe Called Quest remix.) "A Milli" was Wayne's coronation, the moment where the hip-hop nation (vocal minority of hating ass curmudgeons aside) had no choice, but unite in collective awe of the kid from Hollygrove.