Taken at face value, ten years is a very long time. It’s such a vast period that it requires its own unit of measurement (“decades”). But 2004 doesn’t seem that long ago, even if this year required we start referring to it as “a decade ago.” That year was, after all, in the hyper-connected Aughts, when the Internet began to bring us everything whenever we wanted.
Then it stands that the Hip-Hop entries from 2004 serve as some sort of Rorschach Test for whether someone believes 2004 feels like last week or a past millennia. There were Southern classics and the debut from the dying throes of New York’s last great generation of emcees. And don’t forget that two Windy City rappers dropped what might be their best works to date, with one’s album setting rap’s course for that following decade.
One thing’s for certain: there were 30 of these albums, all of them notable, all of them you can see in the following slides. Some have aged well and some haven’t, but they’re all ten years old now. Weep with nostalgia or keep it moving.