42. Young Jeezy f/ Akon "Soul Survivor" (2005)
Album: Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101
Label: Corporate Thugz/Island Def Jam
In the mid-2000s rap, the Ja Rule-era mentality still prevailed that a single featuring a hook from a singer was usually a soft batch love song, and that melody had no place in a serious street rap banger. Akon, then not yet a crossover pop star and known primarily for the unrelentingly grim "Locked Up," began his run of hit rap collaborations with the similarly bleak "Soul Survivor," giving Young Jeezy some gravitas at a time when he tended to make being a dope boy sound like the most fun profession in the world. Not satisfied with just a hook, Akon also provides the track with a memorable intro ("AKON AND YOUNG JEEEEEEZAY") and perhaps the strongest middle 8 of any song on this list.