1. Truth Hurts (feat. Rakim), “Addictive”
Released as the first single from Truth Hurts’ debut LP, Truthfully Speaking, “Addictive” peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s distinctive and addictive beat came from a sample of a 20-year-old Hindi song that her label, Aftermath Records, never cleared. The song’s copywriter owners eventually sued the label and its parent company, Universal Records, for $500 million.
2. Willa Ford, “I Wanna Be Bad”
The first single from Willa Ford’s 2001 debut album, Willa Was Here, was written as a way to distinguish herself from her fellow blonde pop stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson. The single peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.
3. Lumidee, “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)”
Lumidee’s debut single was a staple in the summer of 2003. The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains her biggest U.S. hit.
4. JC Chasez, “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)”
The debut solo single from NSYNC’s JC Chasez was released as a single from the soundtrack to the 2002 film Drumline. The song peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also eventually found its way onto his 2004 solo debut album, Schizophrenic.
5. Transplants, “Diamonds and Guns”
The Transplants (made up of Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and Blink-182’s Travis Barker) had a modern rock hit with this catchy 2002 single. If the song sounds familiar, it’s probably because you heard it played ad nauseam in those Garnier Fructis shampoo commercials.
6. Alien Ant Farm, “Smooth Criminal”
Alien Ant Farm’s cover of this Michael Jackson classic came to everyone’s attention after it was featured in American Pie 2 (in the scene where Jim mistakenly superglues his hand to his crotch).
The song peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks.
7. Dynamite Hack, “Boyz-n-the-Hood”
Dynamite Hack’s tongue-in-cheek acoustic cover of this N.W.A. classic was released as the first single to their first full-length album, Superfast. The song peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.
8. The Calling, “Wherever You Will Go”
Released in 2001, “Wherever You Will Go” was the first single to The Calling’s debut album Camino Palmero. The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot Adult Top 40.
9. Nikka Costa, “Like A Feather”
“Like A Feather” was the first single released from Nikka Costa’s 2001 U.S. debut album, Everybody Got Their Something. The song’s funky throwback sound came courtesy of then-unknown producer Mark Ronson.
10. The Ataris, “Boys of Summer”
The Ataris’ pop-punk take on this Don Henley classic peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Modern Rock Chart.
11. Nine Days, “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”
“Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” was released as the first single from Nine Days’ third album, 2000’s The Madding Crowd. The single peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Adult Top 40.
12. Samantha Mumba, “Gotta Tell You”
Irish singer Samantha Mumba’s TRL-friendly debut single peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Hot Dance Club Play. The song was also a huge international hit, peaking at No. 1 in both New Zealand and her native Ireland.
13. Evan and Jaron, “Crazy for This Girl”
The pop rock duo’s (and identical twin brothers) song peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000. It was also included on the soundtrack to Dawson’s Creek, ensuring a slew of tween girls would be “crazy” for this song.
14. Afroman, “Because I Got High”
Afroman’s cautionary tale of destroying your life with pot, became, weirdly, a popular stoner anthem after it was used as the theme song to the film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The song peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
15. Matisyahu, “King Without A Crown (Live from Stubb’s)”
Hasidic reggae singer/rapper Matisyahu scored a modest hit in 2005, when he released a live version of his 2004 track, “King Without A Crown.” The live version of the track peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 7 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks.
16. Angie Martinez, “If I Could Go”
After being featured as a guest artist on several songs — most memorably 1997’s “Not Tonight” (remix) — Angie Martinez, who is best known as DJ on New York’s Hot 97, released her debut album, Up Close and Personal. The album’s first single, “If I Could Go,” became a big crossover hit, peaking at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 11 on the Hot Rap Songs.
17. Amerie, “1 Thing”
Amerie’s “1 Thing” peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, in large part due to its inclusion on the Hitch soundtrack.
18. T.A.T.U., “All The Things She Said”
T.A.T.U. had a huge international hit with their 2003 debut single, “All The Things She Said,” which was no doubt driven by the alleged sexual relationship between the group’s two singers. The song reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.
19. Liam Lynch, “United States of Whatever”
Liam Lynch’s improvised comedy track was an unlikely hit in 2002. It reached No. 34 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.
20. Little-T and One Track Mike, “Shaniqua (Don’t Live Here No More)”
The New Jersey hip-hop duo had a minor hit when their video “Shaniqua (Don’t Live Here No More)” received regular rotation on MTV in the summer of 2001.