DAR Hip Hop: 9 Hip Hop Crews Of The 2000s

By @TrueGodImmortal

In the early 2000s, hip hop crews were the norm. There were many solo artists with large groups behind them, sone of them more important than others in the culture. Today, I wanted to take a look at the crews that shaped the decade, the ones that were impactful early on in the decade and the ones that would take over in the middle and end of the decade. Who were some of the best and more important hip hop crews of the 2000s? Let's take a look.

*The Diplomats 

-Truth be told, Dipset might be the most important hip hop crew in the game from the 2000s. While they weren't the most successful commercially (I'll end the article with the group that was), they were very popular and made an impact on the culture for better or worse. The truth is, The Diplomats became viable in 2002, after Cam'ron signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. The Roc had given Cam a shot and he would take the shot and make it with ease. With Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, J.R. Writer, Hell Rell, 40 Cal, Duke Da God, and of course, Freeky Zekey in tow, The Diplomats would become one of the most influential groups ever. Their sense of style, making pink a more popular color among men, alongside the commercialization of some color orientated realms of the street made them very important. Their group album Diplomatic Immunity is still a great listen, and the core four have recently reunited. They would see solo success as well, on different levels, as Jim became a viable name himself, Juelz was a relevant name by himself, and of course, Cam is Cam. Dipset remains an impacting crew in hip hop and their legacy is solidified as always.

*State Property 

-The best crew of the era. I'll say it. They weren't the most popular. They didn't have the most promotion either despite being on Roc-A-Fella, but they did have the talent. With the group premiering through a movie and soundtrack of the same name, SP became a movement. They would have premier rappers like Beanie Sigel and Freeway, while having talented lyricists and rappers like Young Gunz and Oschino, alongside two different styles in Peedi Crakk and Sparks. Overall, State Property had the gritty sound and feel down, the reality in their music, and for that, they were an important crew in hip hop through the early to mid 2000s. I still think their two albums are near classics, with the first State Property project/soundtrack being one of the best projects to drop from Roc-A-Fella period. State Property was vital to hip hop in the 2000s and I only wish we would have got more music from them as a collective before the eventual Roc-A-Fella split. They recently did a reunion concert without Oschino, and they seem to all be on good terms, so perhaps more SP music could be due? Still, their legacy in the 2000s is solidified.


-If there was a collective during the 2000s that reflected the true spirit of street hip hop and gangsta rap at its most gritty, D-Block was it. Essentially, the crew was just The Lox and J-Hood in its prime, and they were everywhere in terms of mixtapes. It was amazing to see the new life that D-Block gave The Lox, especially after their debacle with Bad Boy and their adjustment to Ruff Ryders. Tracing the lineage of D-Block is essentially listening to a barrage of mixtapes throughout 2002-2005, where the crew was at their peak. Hearing Jadakiss, Styles, and Sheek over the hardest original and industry beats was great and while J-Hood was never the greatest lyricist, he was a young solid complement to the group. D-Block had a huge following in the streets and their mixtape work was honestly some of the best of the entire decade. They didn't have the mainstream impact of a G-Unit or the cultural impact of Dipset, but in that era, they were the gritty alternative.

*Grand Hustle 

-Carried by the future rap legend T.I., Grand Hustle became something special in the genre after his star power took off. Like prior rap crews, there was one star and a lot of accompanying pieces. For Grand Hustle, names like Alfamega, Governor, P$C (the actual crew of Grand Hustle), Big Kuntry, and Young Dro were vital in the development as a viable brand. To me, Grand Hustle was really just Young Dro and T.I. until they got B.O.B., who would sign with Grand Hustle at the end of the decade. During the decade, albums from P$C, Young Dro, DJ Drama, and of course T.I. helped pave their path to stardom and relevance. Grand Hustle isn't at the top of the hip hop crews list, but they are notable.

*Brick Squad 

-In reality, Brick Squad only gets a minor mention just like Grand Hustle, but the truth of the matter is, in the late 2000s, they had a buzz and momentum. Of course, Gucci Mane was the focus of this crew and collective, but Brick Squad would also bring us OJ Da Juiceman and Waka Flocka Flame. Together, through the last few years of the decade, they would give us street anthems from the trap and help change the perception of Gucci. In 2008, I don't think there was a crew hotter on the streets than Brick Squad and Gucci was one of the most prominent names in the genre at the time. While Brick Squad has gone through their share of changes over the last few years, for the most part, their legacy at the end of the decade is still well and in tact. 1017 forever.


-You might have forgot this crew, mainly because they were just a label. However, they were very close knit together, as Lil Jon, Bohagon, Oobie, Lil Scrappy, and Trillville actually worked well together for the most part. While there were rumors of issues between Scrappy and Trillville, during 2004 when they released an album together, they managed to get things squared away and enjoyed their success. Lil Jon was the hottest name in the game at that time and he used that to push his crew ahead. While there was only a small period of time that the label and the crew was so relevant, but even in that period of time, they made a decent impact. This crew is more so a label than a real collective, but for their momentum in 2004 and 2005, they have to get a small mention.


-When the Texas wave finally hit the mainstream, there was only one crew that stood at the forefront: Swishahouse. While Swishahouse wasn't necessarily a crew, and felt like more of a label solely, their artists stuck together and were very close knit. The three biggest artists during the 2000s for Swishahouse would be Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Lil Keke, three solid artists from the state. They were all different artists in their own right, and at the end of the day, it worked well together. Swishahouse turned selling tapes out of the trunk into a movement where chopped and screwed became used by others who weren't even from that culture. While many can take credit for popularizing that sound and vibe, Swishahouse was the name that really put it on the map in this era.

*St. Lunatics 

-While Nelly was the biggest star in the world to many at the time, it was evident that he had a strong lineup of talent behind him, at least that's how it sounded on his debut album. What Nelly did next is what a few others on this list attempted to do quickly: put on his crew. The St. Lunatics would consist of the hypeman Slo'Down, Kyjuan and his brother Murphy Lee, City Spud, and Ali, with Nelly serving as the face of the group following the diamond selling Country Grammar. The group would release their first and only group album Free City in 2001 and push it to double platinum status. The group had an opportunity to push Murphy Lee as a secondary solo star to Nelly, but for some reason, when his debut dropped in 2003, it just didn't connect like that. Ali would work with Goodie Mob member Big Gipp on a separate project, while Kyjuan was mostly quiet through the end of the decade. The St. Lunatics had potential to be one of the bigger crews of all time, but they were still a viable force in the early part of the 2000s, and with a double platinum group album, they've had more success than a lot of the names on this list.


-Say it with me now: the MOST successful crew of the 2000s. Point blank period. While many would think Young Money deserves the title or some recognition, they would be more 2010s than anything considering the ride of Nicki and Drake after. That aside, the 2000s belonged to G-Unit. They didn't start out as a record label, they were a three man group that released mixtapes on the street and then eventually, after 50 signed with Shady/Aftermath, the G-Unit label became a reality. Even with the label in place, G-Unit always moved like a crew and collective. With the biggest rapper of the mid 2000s in 50 Cent at the helm, along with Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Tony Yayo, and for a moment, The Game, G-Unit was above and beyond everyone else for at least 2 years, maybe three years. They accomplished more in three years than some artists have accomplished in their whole career and they are one of the most successful hip hop crews ever. With a 4X platinum group album in the 2003 release Beg For Mercy, alongside double platinum plaques for Banks and Buck, a platinum plaque for Yayo, and a gold plaque for the second G-Unit album, 50 had one of the only crews to ever see all of the members go platinum on solo releases. This was a great feat in itself and just the overall dominance on the charts and in hip hop is what makes The Unit the top crew of the decade. Simply put, from 2002 to 2005, no one had hip hop in their possession quite like G-Unit.



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