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Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s: #19 Rihanna “Umbrella”

Posted by Nathan S. on 11/25/09 | Filed under Features, Rihanna, Best of the 2000s
Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s
With the number 19 pick of our "Top 25 of the 2000s" countdown, and are proud to select...Rihanna's "Umbrella"!

On March 28, 2007, Rihanna was a popular teen sensation who wasn't taken particularly seriously, but then March 29 rolled around, she dropped her smash single "Umbrella" and before you could say "ella...ella.." she was one of r&b's biggest females. A coming out party for producers The-Dream and Tricky Stewart as well, "Umbrella" eventually became the biggest debut in the six-year history of the iTunes, charted as a number one single in five countries and earned Rihanna and Jay-Z a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

Rihanna was cute, she was popular, but before "Umbrella" she wasn't viewed as a trendsetter. One song changed all that. "Umbrella" proved that not only could the Barbados-born singer be one of the most popular artists in the world, but that she could push artistic boundaries as well. Some songs become more than songs, working their way into the culture at large, and "Umbrella" was certainly one of those songs; for the rest of 2007 you couldn't listen to a hip-hop track without hearing a rapper drop an "ella...ella.." ad lib, and almost more importantly, the track was not only a smash in urban music circles but among mainstream America as well. What's more, although they'd certainly had some hits before then, "Umbrella" fully launched the production careers of The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, turning them into one of the most sought after production teams on the planet. So yeah, it was kind of a big deal.

Musically "Umbrella" was a blend of electro-house sensibilities (hence the big, spacey synths) and traditional hip-hop percussion (big snares and booming bass). A track that was impossibly catchy but also sonically abstract, "Umbrella" was the rare song that achieved massive commercial success while pushing artistic boundaries as well. From this moment on Rihanna was viewed as a trendsetter, a view that she's continued to foster with the release of her new album "Rated R", an album that wouldn't have been possible were it not for "Umbrella". I dare you to listen to this song and not have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day. It's impossible, and for that "Umbrella" deserves the number 19 spot on our list.

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

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