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Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s: #11 Chamillionaire “Ridin”

Posted by Nathan S. on 12/09/09 | Filed under Features, Best of the 2000s, Chamillionaire
Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s
With the number 11 pick of our "Top 25 of the 2000s" countdown, and are proud to select...Chamillionaire's "Ridin"!

Everyone loves a good underdog story in sports, and Chamillionaire's "Ridin" is hip-hop's Hickory High. In 2005 Chamillionaire was a skinny rapper with a weird name from the often overlooked city of Houston, but then he released "Ridin" and went on an improbable run to the top: the song won him a Grammy for Best Rap Performance, garnered him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Song, topped the Billboard charts for two weeks and was the best selling ringtone in 2006 with 3.2 million sales. Plus, it unofficially holds the title for "Song that Everyone Thinks is Named Something Else"; you know you thought the title was "Ridin Dirty". Admit it.

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It may not seem so incredible now, but it's hard to overstate how amazing Chamillionaire's ride to the top of hip-hop was. In 2005 he was just a local rapper from Houston, a city that at the time was just beginning to get noticed, and just a year later he was standing onstage in front of millions accepting a Grammy. What makes his rise to the top even more remarkable is that he did it on the back of "Ridin", a track ostensibly about police brutality and racial profiling. There's likely a bit of "YMCA" syndrome happening here - middle America sings along to a catchy song without really understanding the lyrics' meaning - but regardless, Chamillionaire not only blew up, he did it with a legitimately meaningful song. No small achievement.

For the record, I have to mention that Krayzie Bone is on this track, but while Cham originally put the at-the-time-much-bigger rapper on the track to gain some attention, historically Krayzie's been almost completely overshadowed by Cham's precise flow, memorably lyrics, insanely catchy hook and, of course, the track's hypnotic beat, produced by Play-N-Skillz. While Cham's largely disappeared from the national mainstream stage, choosing instead to rule hip-hop's internet underground (a move that will likely prove to be a wise one), for one improbable year the entire nation was ridin dirty, and for that Cham has earned a spot on our countdown.

For a complete list of the Top 25 picks so far click here.

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