I’d like to bring us all back to a magical time when the girls were taller than the boys, the hip hop was full of dirty references that sailed over our heads and grinding at a school dance was prohibited, but we did it anyway. Ah yes, the fast and loose days of middle school/high school dances, where boys become squeakier awkward boys who are unsure of hand placement and girls become rap video hoes. Here’s a playlist of the best high school dance jams of the mid-2000’s that we can now listen to while we drink alcohol, legally.
DISCLAIMER: NSFW, Includes inapprops songs & lyrics
Fun fact: My high school made national news for our “lewd and suggestive dancing” AKA grinding while I was there and it got to the point where they distributed bracelets at dances and after three strikes of getting caught writhing your bodies together, bracelets were snipped and teens were tossed. Keep that in mind as you listen to this playlist. (Also fellow FM’ers relive the article here.)
1. Golddigger-Kanye West Ft. Jamie Foxx. Hey remember when Kanye was young and unknown and had that cute little chubby face and adorbs smile? WHUT HAPPENED. This song is a classic hate on yo bitches song. She pops out a few kids and now she’s getting a weekly check from her baby daddy? UH UH, HONEY.
Best Lyric: She was supposed to buy your shorty TYCO with your money
She went to the doctor got lypo with your money
She walking around looking like Michael with your money (MAY HE R.I.P)
Should’ve got that insured got GEICO for your money, money, money
2. Shake Ya Tailfeather-Nelly Ft. Murphy Lee & P. Diddy. The only time I would hear cop sirens at a dance is when this beat started spinning. Nelly and the Bad Boyz told me to shake my ass around in a nice bird comparison and suddenly it was classy and cool instead of inapprops. When they rapped about collecting so much grass Popo thinking they mow lawns, I actually thought they were in the landscaping biz. I wisened up around sophomore year.
Best Lyric: Is that your ass or your momma have reindeer? I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS.
3. Promiscuous- Nelly Furtado Ft. Timbaland. No shame, this song is still 100% my jam. My gurl Nelly going from singing folk songs about being like a bird to telling Timbaland to listen up if he wants to get laid and I respect the hell outta her hustle.
Best Lyric: I’m out of this world come with me to my planet. Get you on my level do you think that you can handle it? No Nelly, no I cannot.
4. Lean Back- Fat Joe. JOE CRACK THE DON UH. This song was one of the first that created a dance that white chicks looked real stupid doing. Please picture a group of 12 year olds standing in a circle wearing the same ribbed tanks and flared jeans all simultaneously leaning back. That’s hood right there.
Best Lyric: Listen we don’t pay admission, And bouncers don’t check us, And we walk around the metal detectors. And there really ain’t no need for a VIP section in the middle of the dance floor, Reckless, check it, said it?! That’s totally how me and my bitches would roll at the dances too, VIP for days.
5. London Bridge (Oh Shit)- Fergie. Fergie Ferg split from the Black Eyed Peas and set out to show everyone she’s still a baddddd bitchhh. She has a real knack for taking a precious children’s song and making it into a slutty anthem about dropping dem drawers. Confession time, I went to a Black Eyed Peas concert (free tix) at the same time that Fergz released this song and saw her perform it live and writhe around on stage and it was SO WORTH IT.
Best Lyric: That Grey Goose got your girl feelin loose. Now Im wishin that I didn’t wear these shoes. Story of my life, amirite ladies?
6. Mesmerize- Ja Rule Ft. Ashanti. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I would like to live in a world where Ja & Ashanti still churn out back to back fire hip-hop jams with disgusting sexual innuendos. These two were a dynamic duo and unfortunately Ja Rule had to go and get himself locked up and that pretty much ceased all MTV hip hop jams. I understand that this is more of a slow jam, but I could not in good conscience make a throwback mix without these two musical geniuses. I mean, they recreated Grease for their music video…THAT body suit.
Best Lyric: Now you street promotin the dick game is potent Cause in the bed a n**** go hard like Jordan. Ja certainly didn’t have confidence issues in the bedroom. Runner Up: I’ve got a fetish for f****ing you with your skirt on. Yes.
7. Tipsy- J-Kwon. I sincerely apologize that this isn’t the version that starts out with our boy J-Kwon lecturing that teen drinking is very bad before he declares he has a fake ID though. What a BAMF. Was this the song that started the phase of saying Errebody instead of Everybody? I hope so. Do I still use it every once and a while? Yes I do. Sue me. This is the first song (but certainly not the last) I added to this playlist where I read the lyrics and was shocked at how disgusting they were because I clearly didn’t know them in middle school.
Best Lyric: Dude I don’t care I’m a P.I.M.P. Seriously another thing I still say. I think the moral of the story here is that I need new material.
8. Hollaback Girl- Gwen Stefani. Punk rock girl goes rapper/badass?! Sign me up. It married my love for emo punk music and my love for spelling the word bananas. I distinctly remember this song being released before the 8th grade trip to Cleveland and the few lucky ones that had the very first iPod loaded that shit up for the bus ride there. There was a lot of headphone sharing and lapsitting (13 year old hormones) and they probably also played it on our shitty 8th grade dance cruise on some body of water in Ohio. What a killer trip.
Best Lyric: OBVIOUSLY Let me hear you say this shit is bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
9. Milkshake-Kelis. Ah the best kind of hip-hop song is about food with sexual meanings. I grew up thinking a milkshake was a nice cold beverage usually with chocolate flavor. Kelis stomped that out of my brain real quick with this song. Milkshake is now the goods, and it BRINGS DEM BOYZ. My mom recently got this song title during Christmas game night as a song that she had to hum and get us to guess…there was drinking involved and she just kept shouting GIRLS ALL AROUND to the tune of Milkshake and no one guessed it. Apparently we have very different memories of this song. Regardless my point being that even moms can get down with this sick beat.
Best Lyric: La la-la la la, Warm it up. Lala-lalala, The boys are waiting (Not a lot of substance here, Kelis.)
10. Hey Ya-Outkast. Ah another cool song that created a movement of white girls trying to learn a music video dance move. The “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” spastic motion. It was COOL, guys. No but actually Outkast WAS awesome. They could sing the stupidest lyrics and it would be legit. (Ex: Roses really smell like poo.) Anyway they made talking in a song sound smooth even though I hate it in every other song. I’ve never wanted to lend sugar to my neighbor more.
Best Lyric: Don’t want to meet your momma, just want to make you cum-a. Seriously, moms and cumming in the same sentence, Bravo sir, Bravo.
11. Yeah!- Usher Ft. Lil Jon & Ludacris. This song was a straight up dance staple. I think they played it at every dance I went to from 7th grade to 12th grade and if they ever play it in a bar I’m in it’s a surefire way to get me to do the Q-tip. Just kidding, I dance better than that. Sort of. I’m pretty proud of this song because it was the first one where I memorized an entire rapper’s cameo word for word. Luda was my boy and mostly because he rapped slow enough and enunciated so that I could keep up. He was the Drake while Drake was still Jimmy in a wheelchair at Degrassi High. That said, his entire verse in this song is still the best thing I’ve ever heard. He wins best lyric, but if I have to pick just one…
Best (Most repeatable) Lyric: We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed. Life goals.
12. We Be Burnin- Sean Paul. Mostly put this on so that I can remind everyone of this Jamaican accented man who put out the same song over and over and everyone still loved it so hard. He also referred to himself as Sean dah Paul. Not sure why. I learned a lot while looking through these lyrics, mostly that Sean dah Paul did not speak a lick of English. I pulled the one lyric that made the most sense to me…and that’s saying a lot.
Best Lyric: Cause the girls we be poking have to smoking. Note: Sean ain’t gonna poke ya unless you smoke, LADieZZ.
13. Overnight Celebrity-Twista. You know how Jason DeRulo claimed that he could make me famous on Instagram last year in “Wiggle”? I hate to break it to ya Jason, but Twista was the original talent scout. He didn’t have Instagram yet, but he could put you on the Soul Train Awards. Boom Roasted. Game over with me ever trying to rap along with this song. Seriously I think Twista is the fastest rapper ever. So much street cred though. Bonus points for the chick who sounds like a pterodactyl climaxing mid-song.
Best Lyric: Girl I see you, in them apple bottom jeans, Chinchilla on your back, I wanna know your name. YES. Apple. Bottom. Jeans. Wait Chinchilla? Ew.
14. Get Low- Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz. You always know it’s going to be a legit song when you’re dealing with Boyz with a Z. This song came on and all the horny and dirty little teenagers rubbed their hands together and got ready to scream “TIL THE SWEAT DRIPS DOWN MY BALLS” at the top of their lungs when the pre-approved Melvin of a DJ inevitably played the clean, over-edited version. I’m pretty sure the principal threatened to cut the song completely one night because we wouldn’t stop screaming about sweaty balls and skeet skeeting. I thank Lil Jon every day for that. I’m pretty sure this is where Jersey turnpiking also started.
Best Lyric: Lil Jon and the East side boys wit me and we all like to see ass and titties. Classic T&A. Also if we’re being honest this whole song is a best lyric. WHO comes up with that chorus?!
15. 1,2 Step-Ciara. Luckily for me I have a friend named Sierra and this song has NEVER died out. If your friendship blossoms around a time when your friend’s name is in a cool song that’s something you milk for the rest of their life. I don’t think she once entered a room in middle school without someone singing, “The Princess is here—–CIIIARRRRRAAAA.” Not a bad greeting, if you ask me. Missy Elliott may have helped out on this song but Ciara handled herself pretty well for a fresh chick to the scene. Also I just noticed this is probably the cleanest song on this playlist. You’re welcome, Adults.
Best Lyric: I eat fillet mignon, And I’m nice and young, Best believe I’m number one. Anyone who rhymes Filet Mignon wins all the awards. I miss Missy.
16. Hot in Herre- Nelly. NELLY and his DAMN piece of tape/bandaid under his eye. What a goon. I’m pretty sure most girls would dance to this by actually stripping off their zip up hoodie, so parents please feel comforted in the fact that your young daughters learned how to strip before they learned how to drive. It’s Nelly’s fault really. He condoned taking your clothes off when the temps rise. And boy did those gyms get WARM. (Side note: I had a real moral dilemma choosing between this song and Flap Your Wings because it was equally as defining a moment when Nelly taught us how to drop down and get our eagle on.)
Best Lyric: So take it off like your home alone, You know dance in front your mirror while your on the phone, Checkin your reflection and tellin your best friend, like “girl I think my butt gettin big” (To be clear I’ve never stared at myself naked while I’m on the phone with my friends.)
17. Lady Marmalade- Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, Lil Kim. Here’s the long overdue lady jam of the playlist. A bunch of divas get together and sing about getting banged in French, Moulin Rouge, style. Apparently they all hated each other but I don’t care because they tolerated each other long enough to make this song that I can wail along to with my Xtina hands in full motion. Also this is another great song that taught young girls how to act like prostitutes. Don’t get your panties all in a bunch though, adults because let’s all remember that today’s youth is listening to Nicki Minaj rap about her ladybits innaprops style while shaking her butthole on MTV. Jus sayin. We were golden compared to that.
Best Lyric: We drink wine with diamonds in the glass by the case the meaning of expensive taste. YEAH girls who get mistaken for whores drinking WINE=CLASSY.
18. In Da Club- 50 Cent. TECHNICALLY Candy Shop was more the time period of school dances for me, but In Da Club is 5000x better and will always be a classic, hope you’re cool with me picking it instead of licking 50’s lollipop. 50 Cent came out of no where and all anyone knew about him was that he got shot 9 times. What an air of mystery he had. This music video consists of him doing sit-ups upside down and bullet wounds or not, bro’s got like an 18-pack. Anyway, this one glorious song opened the door for dorky dads to say “Go shorty, it’s your birthday” for the rest of time.
Best Lyric: Been hit wit a few shells but I don’t walk wit a limp.- A few? NINE.
19. Don’t Cha- Pussycat Dolls Ft. Busta Rhymes. Ah, I bet you thought you would snake on through this playlist without PCD, but I HAD to. Yeah they’re a bunch of glorified strippers who were put together as a girl group with one actual talented singer, but THEY WERE THE VOICES OF OUR GENERATION. Just kidding. They popped out good dance jams and were obviously feminists. (Ex: Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?) True life, I never wanted anything more than I wanted a PCD hoodie with the cool words written over the top of the hood.
Best Lyric: Tryna put it on me till my balls black an blueish. Hey Busta, let’s cool it with the visuals for a second.
20. My Love- Justin Timberlake Ft. T.I. AHHHHHHH JT
Best Lyric: (Trust me) You don’t really wanna let the chance go by ’cause you ain’t been seen wit a man so fly. TRUTH. Who turns down JT? There is no flyer man.
Whether you listen to this playlist while you’re boozin or running, never forget that you once gyrated to each song in a dark gym or cafeteria with lame streamers hanging from the walls and the smell of sweaty teens wafting through the air. You’re welcome.