The song of the summer is one of the most low-key coveted titles in all of hip-hop, but for whatever reason, the same isn't true for the title of the summer's best album.
Over the years, the best artists have unloaded LPs that have helped soundtrack the summertime exploits of folks between the months of June and late September. In some years, the best album of the summer is a blockbuster affair filled with big-time features, boisterous anthems and singles designed for massive commercial success. In others, a rapper can claim the title purely off technical merit. For the most well-rounded LPs, it's usually a combo of both elements.
In the summer of 2001, Jay-Z held down the title for best album after dropping The Blueprint, an LP that included hit singles ("Izzo (Hova)"), cutting-edge production from Kanye West and Just Blaze and just about the most impressive rapping you'll ever hear stretched throughout one album. About four years later, one of Hov's Roc-A-Fella proteges repeated the same feat, solidifying themselves as a superstar in the process.
Which artist had the best album of the summer can be up for interpretation. One rap fan might say it's the LP that had the most hit singles. Another might focus on who had the best album during that period in time. Today, XXL focuses on the latter and explores the best rap albums released every summer since 2000.
See which albums made the cut for yourself below.
See the Definitive Guide to the Best Summer Hip-Hop Albums Since 2000