The 30 Greatest Months in Rap History

26. November 2004

Notable Events:
- Eminem's Encore is released on 11/12/2004
- Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz's "Lovers and Friends" (feat. Usher and Ludacris) is released on 11/30/2004
- T.I.'s Urban Legend is released on 11/30/2004
- Nas' Street's Disciple is released on 11/30/2004

With the growing strength of the Internet—and the subsequent demise of album sales—Eminem found a way to outmaneuver anyone out to pirate his fourth album, Encore, by dropping it four days ahead of schedule. While it sold over 710K and debuted at No. 1, its most notable impact was in digital sales, becoming the first album to sell 10K in one week. But in comparison to Eminem's previous albums, Encore didn't stand tall; Eminem later admitted that his sustance addiction at the time affected the caliber of the work as a whole. It became the only Eminem album to be nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album and not win.

Later that month, Nas released his seventh album, Street's Disciple, which debuted at No. 5 on the charts. The double album was a solid effort, with notable production and a characteristic variety of conscious and political rhymes—but it was routine work for Nas at that point. Where Nas' material seemed lacking challenges, T.I. made real strides on his third album, Urban Legend, with the lead single "Bring Em Out" becoming his first top-10 hit. Adding to Legend: It was an album T.I. recorded while in a work-release program for probation violation. It wouldn't be long before he sat alone on the throne as King of da South. -Lauren Nostro

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