17. “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” (2007)

Kanye West

By 2007 an undeniable global superstar, on his third album Graduation Kanye deliberately attempted to create arena-rocking bangers. Seeing as he’s longer the hard-working kid with a dream, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is an anthem for those who have finally run their victory lap. But a close reading shows the artist to be conflicted, confronting regrets during an ostensible celebration. The song’s line “I’m on TV talking like it’s just you and me,” tells you everything you need to know about Kanye’s success and failures in the public eye. -Chaz Kangas

16. “International Player’s Anthem” (2007)

UGK & OutKast 

Willie Hutch’s “I Choose You” had already been used on Project Pat’s 2002 song “Choose U,” but the sample was immortalized five years later on “International Players Anthem,” featuring the southern rap dream team of UGK and Outkast. A soulful, light-hearted take on relationships, settling down and, to put it pimpadelically, “remaining true to the game,” it was a career highlight for both duos, and UGK member Pimp C’s death six months later cemented its legacy. -Justin Tinsley

15. “Get Ur Freak On” (2001)

Missy Elliot

Missy Elliot, the Hawksian Heroine of hip-hop, spits quite literally all over your conventional rap bullshit on “Get Ur Freak On.” Probably the most quirky-catchy track in the genre’s history, it takes one of those tabla-tumi bhangra hooks that were all the rage in the early aughts to the cosmic heights of timeless eccentricity. Timbaland’s tight production skills are starting to peak here as he pulls in and out of Missy’s shouts, stutters, murmurs and forceful declarations. When she tells you to, you best take your freak out of the box and get it right the fuck on. -Paul T. Bradley

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