The 30 Greatest Months in Rap History

18. August 1998

Notable Events:
- Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is released on 8/25/1998
- Xzibit releases 40 Dayz and 40 Nightz on 8/25/98
- Black Star's Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star is released on 8/26/1998
- Sporty Thievz's "Cheapskate (You Ain't Gettin' Nada)" is released on 8/30/1998

Talk about getting the other side of the story: August '98 was a month of them, on both large and small scales. At the end of the month, a little-known group out of Yonkers became instantly famous for their someone-needed-to-say-it response to TLC's "No Scrubs" (still burning on charts at that point). And sure, it might be the thing they're most famous for, but Sporty Thievz's "No Pigeons" isn't a terrible thing to be known for: It was a funny, weird, and oddly therapeutic moment in rap. As far as larger-scale responses go, a little over a year after former Fugees member Wyclef Jean released his solo debut The Carnival, his ex-lover and bandmate Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill bowed to rave reviews, blowing Wyclef, every other female rapper, and everyone else in rap away, with strong singles and videos. That isn't to say men only fixated on their female counterparts' efforts that month. "Conscious" rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli bolstered both of their careers by teaming up for a left-of-center rap or superduo with the release of Black Star's Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. Outside of the Tri-state area, Xzibit's sophomore effort 40 Dayz and 40 Nightz was a case of realized potential: Everyone who told everyone else that they were sleeping on the rapper finally had their vindication, as X peaked with "What U See Is What U Get," both on the charts and creatively, too. —Foster Kamer

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