This post is part of Mashable’s You’re Old Week. Break through the haze of nostalgia with us and see what holds up, what disappoints, and what got better with time.
It feels like ages ago, but there was a time when some phones carried a certain cachet.
Now with the plethora of barely indistinguishable iPhones and Android devices, there isn’t much novelty in phones anymore — aside from the recent spate of Nokia throwbacks and that weird curved screen phase.
But during the 2000’s, phones like the Sidekick were essentially a fashion accessory, akin to rocking a nice pair of sneakers or a swish new bag, and sneakily embedded into popular hip-hop videos of that era.
These phones were the closest thing to luxury — and being a massive hip hop star — for a kid like me who grew up in the suburbs. And I knew it’d be way easier to convince my parents to buy me one as opposed to a Mercedes. Below are some of the most drool-worthy (at the time anyway) mobile phones immortalized in rap videos.
J-Kwon’s Hiptop/Sidekick (0:11)
Sure, J-Kwon’s career never really hit the same heights as again following 2004’s “Tipsy.”
But I’m still fantasising about sliding the monochrome LCD screen of the Sidekick (a.k.a. the Hiptop) so I can message all of my friends (on a QWERTY keyboard!) to tell them about my “crazy” house party where we will all get mildly drunk.
Missy Elliott’s Nokia 7710 Communicator (0:57)
Back in the day, it was *kinda* uncool to use a phone that had a stylus. And look, who wants to use a stylus?
But Missy Elliott, being the pioneer she is, used one on the Nokia 7710 Communicator in her video for “Lose Control,” while recording a dance-off on its now-crappy one megapixel camera.
Kelly Rowland’s Nokia 9290 Communicator (3:15)
Yes, Kelly Rowland’s heart was broken with an excel spreadsheet masquerading as a text message from Nelly, but that shouldn’t detract from how cool it would’ve been to do COMPUTER THINGS ON A PHONE.
P. Diddy’s Nokia Sirocco 8800 (0:40)
“this gadget is a big boy toy.got it,cost me a fortune and i guess dats why p.diddy used it in his latest video.if u cant afford it then dont review.stop player hatin!” reads a post by Gbolly on GSM Arena’s forum.
I wholeheartedly agree. The all-metal Nokia Sirocco 8800 was proof you were a baller… back in 2006.
Jay-Z’s Motorola Timeport P935 (2:18)
Boy, you bet I wanted to feel important talking to people with a Timeport pager.
Jay-Z set off something of a trend when he included a Motorola mention in the lyrics for 2000’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”: “I’m too cold, Motorola, two-way pager me.”
Every rap star had a Timeport, and kids like me wished we had one. “Sales went through the roof,” wrote Steve Stoute, a former Interscope executive who asked Jay-Z to include the mention as a favour for a friend at Motorola.
Sean Paul’s Nokia N91 (2:38)
The Nokia N91, which had a 4GB hard drive inside for music storage, was as ugly as they came when it was released in 2005.
Who cares though, when you can set off a frenzied dance party in your garage with a couple of MP3’s on your phone, unlike your other friends who had regular Nokia phones.
Oh, and it had a headphone jack, too.