Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 2003
"We just made some shit we wanted to hear," producer Dr. Dre told Rolling Stone in 2003. "As soon as 50 walked in the studio, he picked up a pen and we were done in an hour." Queens native Curtis Jackson had it all: an almost mythic backstory (he was a genuinely talented thug who'd once taken nine bullets), the backing of Dr. Dre and Eminem, and a lush, languid flow that sucked you in, no matter what he was saying. All he needed was a monster beat to elevate him from squinting antagonizer to club sultan; over the most clinically precise hand claps and synths ever to grace a rap record, he sent everyone with a pulse hurtling toward the dance floor while threatening to "put the rap game in a choke hold." By the time this hit Number One, he had.