The idea of hip-hop being dead was as popular as it would ever be in 2008, but 10 years later, it's obvious the genre was having a renaissance rather than a funeral.

Sure, there were plenty of releases that existed at opposite ends of hip-hop's sonic and lyrical spectrum—AZ's Undeniable dropped eight months before Soulja Boy's iSouljaBoyTellem—but it was the projects in the middle that brought the genre to unchartered artistic territory. These releases re-birthed rap superstars before ultimately defining hip-hop as we know it in 2018.

In March 2008, Lil Wayne took a page out of George Clinton's book—the same page that had been ripped out by T-Pain two years prior—and unleashed his Auto-Tune-laced single, "Lollipop" onto the world. The release signified the coming of Tha Carter III, an album that solidified Weezy's status as the world's biggest rap star. With bars on top of bars ("A Milli," anyone?), along with some pretty fearless musical experimentation, it was kinda hard to argue against Weezy's claim, one he originally made on his Tha Carter II track, "Best Rapper Alive."

Tha Carter III was officially released on June 10, 2008, and shortly thereafter, hip-hop's favorite snowman made his big move. Jeezy, then known as Young Jeezy, dropped The Recession on Sept. 2, 2008, right around the height of the U.S. recession. The ATL rapper rendered the dreams of go-getters everywhere with pounding instrumentals and frontline street lyrics.

All the while, Kanye West was plotting his return to music after the untimely death of his mother, Donda West, in November of the previous year. He got back to rap on Jeezy's Recession single "Put On," before scrapping his long-planned Good Ass Job album and instead making a creative shift nobody saw coming. Jeezy's single, which featured Kanye's emotive, heavily Auto-Tuned vocals, served as a precursor to 808s and Heartbreak, an album that has become one of his most defining and daring projects while laying the floor plans for today's genre-fluid hip-hop.

Yeezy, Weezy and Jeezy dropped some of the most defining albums of 2008, but there are many more audio gems from that calendar year. Take a look back in time to recall the 50 hip-hop albums that turn 10 in 2018.

50 Hip-Hop Albums Turning 10 in 2018

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