2004. What a time to be alive. It was the year of flip phones, 4x throwback jerseys and tall white T-shirts in abundance. Hip-hop music-wise, the South was starting its cobra-clutch on the genre and rising stars from all coasts were putting their stamps on the game, making for an interesting year in rap releases.

It's almost hard to believe it was all the way back in 2004 when the world was introduced to Kanye West via his debut major label solo album The College Dropout, the first of what would be multiple classic albums released by the now polarizing rapper. Preceded by the hit singles "Though the Wire" and "Slow Jams" featuring Twista and Jaimie Foxx, the project solidified Ye as rap's next big star, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 400,000 units sold in the first week. Two decades later and Kanye is still one of the biggest names in hip-hop.

By 2004, Eminem was already the biggest rapper on the planet when released his fourth major label album Encore. Despite Shady admitting the album is not his best work and recorded at the height of his addiction, Encore still moved major units for the Detroit rapper, with songs like "Mockingbird," "Just Lose It" and "Like Toy Soldiers" being hits off the album. The LP marked his third consecutive No. 1 album and sold 770,000 copies out the gate.

2004 was also the year Lil Wayne released the first installment in his ongoing Tha Carter album series. Release as Weezy was coming into his own as a solo artist, the album featured the hit single "Go DJ." Two decades later and Tunechi's series lives on. He is currently working on the sixth volume, which could drop this year.

Feel old yet? Now that 2024 is upon us, here's a look back at 50 hip-hop albums that were released 20 years ago.

See 50 Hip-Hop Albums Turning 20 in 2024

What's your favorite hip-hop album released in 2004?

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