Sweat is the third studio album by American rapper Nelly. It was intended to be released on August 17, 2004, before being delayed and released on September 13, 2004, by Universal Records. Production was handled by several producers, including Jason "Jay E" Epperson, Midi Mafia, The Neptunes, Trife, Jazze Pha, Doe and The Alchemist. Released in conjunction with Suit, Nelly was intended to release a single album before conceptualizing and releasing two albums simultaneously, both which would contrast each other's themes. Nelly characterized Sweat as "more up-tempo" and "energetic" while describing Suit as more of "a grown-up and sexy vibe [...] it's more melodic".
While recording material for his third studio album, Nelly had his intention of producing one album. Songs were being recorded at a steady pace, with Nelly composing more ideas, to which he established the idea of two albums released simultaneously to house all the tracks. On April 27, 2004, Nelly's representative initially described the upcoming albums as thematically dissimilar, "one is more melodic and party-oriented in the vein of records like "E.I." and "Tip Drill", while the other was described as having a "harder edge". Nelly would released singles accompanied by music videos from both albums. Talking to MTV News, Nelly went on to describe the differences between both albums; their titles of Sweat and Suit were announced on May 27, 2004. He noted Sweat as "more up-tempo" and "energetic", while characterizing Suit as more of "a grown-up and sexy vibe [...] it's more melodic".
Sweat and Suit was intended to be released on August 17, 2004, but was push back and released on September 14 in the United States, Canada and Japan.Sweat was released on September 13, 2004 in the United Kingdom and Germany.
In its opening week, Sweat debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 342,000 copies. On the same week of Sweat 's release, Nelly's Suit, released in conjunction with the former album, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 396,000 copies, becoming his third consecutive US number-one album following Country Grammar (2000) and Nellyville (2002). The combination of both album's opening figures of 737,000 surpasses that of Nellyville 's, which debuted with 714,000 copies sold. With the debuts, Nelly became the first act to achieve the feat of obtaining album's number one and number 2 on the US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart simultaneously. He is the second artist, following American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, to achieve the same feat, but on the Billboard 200 chart. Guns N' Roses attained the accomplishment in 1991 with Use Your Illusion II and Use Your Illusion I, with the former debuting at number one and the latter at number 2, selling 770,000 and 685,000 copies, respectively.
The following week of Sweat 's release, it fell to number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 127,500 copies. In its third week, Sweat sold 80,000 copies, dropping to number 8. In the album's fourth week of release, its sales further decreased to 64,000 copies, falling to number 12. In its fifth week, Sweat 's again decreased, to 62,000 units, sustaining its position at number 12. The album's sales continued to decrease in its sixth week of release, selling 50,000 copies, moving to number 16 on the chart. On November 1, 2004, Sweat went on to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of 1,000,000 copies.