Closer Look: 2003 Hip Hop

Hip-hop’s breakthrough into the 21st century was one of the most exciting moments the genre has ever seen. While the 90s showed a primal art form develop into a refined, sophisticated space, the 2000s showed hip-hop becoming a worldwide sensation. The artistic integrity and technical difficulty had already been proven with the likes of Nas and Tupac in the 90s, so by 2003, the industry heavyweights were just showing off. With naysayers brushed aside with the 20th century, hip-hop took a lavish victory lap, revealling in its own success and swagger.

Enjoy and subscribe to the latest Closer Look above! Scroll down for the individual tracks selected from the Bling Era Hip Hop of 2003.

Bling era hip-hop was as indulgent as the genre has ever been, doubling down on expensive lifestyles and explosive instrumentals. The iconic personas delivering the flashy bangers were just as important as the sounds themselves, as bling offered a more complete cultural image to listeners. For lack of a better term, hip-hop in the Bling era was just Bigger in every way imaginable. 

Jay Z & Pharrell

The music that arrived at the beginning of the 21st century showed that the braggadocious themes of 90’s Hip Hop were here to stay and, were in fact, becoming an even bigger part of the genre itself. Legendary artists like 50 Cent, Jay Z and the Diplomats brought unprecedented levels of ostentatious swagger to the Hip Hop scene and made it one of music’s most recognizable movements. Just look at the chain swinging from Cam’ron’s neck in the picture below to understand the sheer ridiculousness of the jewelry worn by some of 2003’s finest.


50 Cent – Many Men

Outkast – Ghetto Musik

Cam’ron, Juelz Santana- Oh Boy

Fabolous- Can’t Let You Go

Jay-Z – What More Can I Say

Chingy- Right Thurr

Ludacris- Blow It Out

Clipse, Pharrell- Blaze of Glory

Missy Elliott- Bomb Intro/ Pass That Dutch

T.I. – Rubber Band Man

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