There are certain years as that as fans, we’re blessed with a premium of amazing music. 2022 is a prime example. Last year, we got albums from heavyweights such as Beyoncé (Renaissance), Kendrick Lamar (Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers), Drake (Honestly, Nevermind AND Her Loss), SZA (SOS), Summer Walker (Still Over It) and Future (I NEVER LIKED YOU). In 20 years when we look back at 2022, it will be difficult for us not to consider it as a standout year for music, with numerous potential classics. An album standing the test of time is not only an indication of how timeless the project is but also how the artist knew their audience and the climate of music.

In 2003, the climate of music was definitely different. People worldwide were still going to stores and buying their favorite artist’s CDs. Album sales seemed to mean a bit more since everything was organic and there wasn’t a real way to “juice the numbers.” One thing that’s still the same as back then though is how great music will always live on and be remembered. We got a bevy of music that fit that bill 20 years ago. While the likes of Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Ashanti and Mary J. Blige all enjoyed extremely great years, the rap artists also made huge waves with their albums. We got the debut solo album from one of the biggest moguls in the game (50 Cent), saw some established goats further cement their legacies (Jay-Z, DMX and Lil Kim) and witnessed a plethora of groups shake up the game (Outkast, The Diplomats, Ying Yang Twins).

The music was so good that some of the albums released that year are still heavily in people’s rotations to this day. Some of the albums rank very highly among the artist’s discography. No matter where they rank, no one can argue how classic they are. To recognize the greatness of these projects, enjoy a gallery of rap  albums that turn 20 years old this year. Let us know which albums are your favorites and if you think we missed any!

1. Freeway – Philadelphia Freeway


Release Date: February 25, 2003

Singles: What We Do, Alright, Flipside 

First Week Sales: 132,000

2. Chingy – Jackpot


Release Date: July 15, 2003

Singles: Right Thurr, Holiday In, One Call Away, Right There (Remix)

First Week Sales: 157,000

3. Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below


Release Date:

Singles: Hey Ya!, The Way You Move, Roses, Ghetto Musick/Prototype

First Week Sales: 510,000

4. The Diplomats – Diplomatic Immunity

Source:The Diplomats

Release Date: March 25, 2003

Singles: Dipset Anthem, Built This City, Bout It Bout It…Part III

First Week Sales: 92,000

5. DMX – Grand Champ

Source:Unearthed Sound

Release Date: September 16, 2003 

Singles: Where The Hood At?, Get It On The Floor

First Week Sales: 312,000

6. Ludacris – Chicken-N-Beer


Release Date: October 7, 2003 

Singles: P-Poppin, Stand Up, Blow It Out, Splash Waterfalls, Diamond In The Back

First Week Sales: 429,000

7. 50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

Source:50 Cent

Release Date: February 6, 2003

Singles: In Da Club, 21 Questions, P.I.M.P., If I Can’t 

First Week Sales: 872,000

8. David Banner – Mississippi: The Album

Source:David Banner

Release Date: May 22, 2003

Singles: Cadillac on 22’s, Like A Pimp 

First Week Sales: N/A

9. Jay-Z – The Black Album


Release Date: November 14, 2003

Singles: Change Clothes, Dirt Off Your Shoulder, 99 Problems 

First Week Sales: 463,000

10. Lil Kim – La Bella Mafia

Source:Atlantic Records

Release Date: March 4, 2003

Singles: The Jump Off, Magic Stick, Thug Luv 

First Week Sales: 166,000

11. The Neptunes – Clones

Source:Pharrell Williams

Release Date: August 19, 2003

Singles: Hot Damn, Frontin, Popular Thug, Light Your Ass On Fire, Rock ‘n’ Roll, It Blows My Mind 

First Week Sales: 250,000

12. Fabolous – Street Dreams

Source:UPROXX Video

Release Date: March 4, 2003

Singles: This Is My Party, Can’t Let You Go, Into You

First Week Sales: 185,000

13. T.I. – Trap Muzik


Release Date: August 19, 2003

Singles: 24’s, Be Easy, Rubber Band Man, Let’s Get Away

First Week Sales: 110,000

14. G-Unit – Beg For Mercy


Release Date: November 14, 2003

Singles: Stunt 101, Poppin’ Them Thangs, Wanna Get To Know You, Smile 

First Week Sales: 377,000

15. Ying Yang Twins – Me & My Brother

Source:Radial by The Orchard

Release Date: September 16, 2003 

Singles: Naggin, Salt Shaker, What’s Happenin!

First Week Sales: 62,000

16. Joe Budden – Joe Budden


Release Date: June 10, 2003

Singles: Pump It Up, Fire (Yes, Yes, Y’all)

First Week Sales: 95,000