2005 ushered in some of the most memorable hip-hop hits in history, from Three 6 Mafia's "Stay Fly" to Ying Yang Twins' "Wait (The Whisper Song)." The year also lays claim to Kanye West's infamous statement of "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But the soundtrack to the ups and down and everything in between came courtesy of some of the best hip-hop albums that emerged that year. From Lil Wayne's Tha Carter II to 50 Cent's The Massacre, 2005 gave birth to plenty of respected rap releases.

Fifteen years ago, hip-hop fans were introduced to Tha Carter II, the second volume of Lil Wayne's classic Tha Carter series and his fifth album overall. The album, which arrived on Dec. 6, 2005, featured his biggest hit at the time, "Fireman," which followed his previous most successful single, "Go D.J." Tha Carter II received critical acclaim for Wayne's lyrical prowess and artistic elevation. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of more than 238,000 units sold. He certainly lived up to the "Fireman" line "Ain't nobody fuckin' with me, man, Heatman."

When March 3, 2005 hit, 50 Cent delivered his sophomore album, The Massacre. The Queens rapper made his transformation from mixtape king to a Grammy-nominated mainstream rapper with Get Rich or Die Tryin', and this follow-up also earned him a 2006 Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album. The Massacre, a 22-track album with four singles that pushed the record to spend 57 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, features "Candy Shop," one of Fif's most notable singles. The Olivia-assisted track peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming 50 Cent's third No. 1 single at the time. This project further proved 50 was a master at making radio-friendly hits and could still speak to the streets.

Another New York native that released a solid project that year was Lil' Kim. The Queen Bee delivered The Naked Truth on Sept. 27, 2005, from behind bars while she was serving a federal prison sentence for perjury charges after lying to investigators and to a federal grand jury about her involvement in a 2001 shooting. At the time, the album concluded her five-year relationship with Atlantic Records. Similar to her previous albums, Kim showcased her raunchy, sassy attitude and kept the fire bars coming. The Game, Bun B, T.I. and Snoop Dogg also came through with lyrical assists. She even called on top-tier producers like Scott Storch, who crafted the beat for Kim's Caribbean-tinged ode "Lighters Up." Her love letter to Brooklyn peaked at No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Naked Truth debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart when it dropped, selling 119,000 copies in its first week.

And that's just a few of the projects that made waves when they dropped in 2005. Fat Joe, Bun B, Juelz Santana and Geto Boys are just a few of the other rappers who brought the heat that year. Check out albums turning 15 in 2020 below.

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