20. 50 Cent, "In Da Club"
"We just made some shit we wanted to hear," producer Dr. Dre said. "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 talented thug who'd once taken nine bullets), the backing of Dr. Dre and Eminem and a lush, languid flow. All he needed was a monster beat; over clinically precise handclaps and synths, he sent America 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.