The Highest Selling Rap Albums of All-Time

50 Cent

During the late 1970’s in the Bronx, a new genre of music was being made. This lyrical heavy genre combined with rhythmic music and samples started to become extremely popular and it was known as hip-hop and rap. That genre continued to grow during the 1980’s and has now become one of the most popular genres of music ever. Today there are thousands of rappers from all around the world putting out music, but only a select few have gone down in the hall of fame for selling the most amount of records. We are going to take a look at a list of the highest selling rap/hip-hop albums of all time.

10. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – 50 Cent – 8.3 million 

The first album on our list is from 50 Cent and it is arguably his best album. This was the second release from 50 Cent and it came out in 2003. At the time it was a pioneering album for the sub-genre of gangsta rap. In just the first week of its release it managed to move 872,000 copies. Dr. Dre and Eminem were credited as producers on this album, among others, and the album has influenced countless other musicians and rappers.

9. Country Grammar – Nelly – 8.5 million

Next up is Country Grammar from Nelly. The album was a large comercial success. It’s always good for an artists debut album to go on and sell 8.5 million copies, and it certainly launched Nelly’s career. The album was released in 2000 under Universal Records and it featured the songs “Country Grammar”, “Ride wit Me”, and “Batter Up”.

8. Licensed to Ill – The Beastie Boys – 9 million

Back in 1986 if you told people that three white Jewish boys from Brooklyn would go on to become one of the biggest hip-hop/rap groups of all time, everyone would laugh at you. Well despite that, the Beastie Boys did managed to accomplish that feat, and their debut album was one of the most successful rap/hip-hop albums of all time. This was also the first rap LP to top the Billboard charts back in the day. Put out under Def Jam and Columbia Records, Licensed to Ill featured the songs “The New Style”, “Brass Monkey”, and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”.

7. All Eyez on Me – Tupac Shakur – 9 million

Pretty much everyone in the rap game or who are fans of music are familiar with Tupac Shakur, and he is considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. All Eyez on Me was the rappers fourth album and was put out during the height of the east coast vs. west cost rap war of the time. The album went on to sell 9 million units and is often considered to be some of Tupac’s best work.

6. Greatest Hits – Tupac Shakur – 10 million

After Tupac was famously killed by unknown shooters that sparked an even intense war within the rap community (one that would lead to the death of Notorious B.I.G.), many post-humous albums from Tupac would come out. Among them was his Greatest Hits album which is pretty self-explanatory, although the album did feature four songs that were previously never heard before.

5. Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em – MC Hammer – 10 million 

Next up we have the extreamly famous album known as Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em from MC Hammer. This was that third album from Hammer, and it was really what got his career rolling when the album came out in 1990. It featured the song that almost everyone is familiar with, “U Can’t Touch This”, and it would go on to sell over 10 million units.

4. Life After Death – The Notorious B.I.G. – 10.3 million

Released just after Biggie Smalls was fatally killed back in the 1990’s, this was the second album and final album that he put out before he died. This double album went on to be a commercial hit and Biggie worked with many amazing artists on the record like Jay-Z, P. Diddy, and D.M.C. The album sold 690,000 copies in the first week alone, and it has received many award and recognitions.

3. The Eminem Show – Eminem – 10.3 million

Eminem is largely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, and has managed to become one of the best selling rappers ever. His controversial lyrics, talent, relationship with the media, and the fact that he was a white guy in a genre dominated by African-Americans contributed to his commercial success. This was the third album that he put out and it featured hit songs like “Without Me” and “Till I Collapse”. The album also won the Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2003.

2. The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem – 10.5 million

The Marshall Mather LP was Eminem’s best-selling album to date, and is the second best selling rap album of all time. Produced most by Dr. Dre, this was the third album from Eminem when it was released back in 2000. It features some of Eminem’s most-recognized songs like “The Real Slim Shady” and “The Way I Am”, and it is a good starting point for any listener new to Em.

1. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below – Outkast – 11.4 million 

Released in 2003, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was the hallmark album from Outkast and it is the best selling rap album to date, selling over 11.4 million units. This double LP has 39 songs on it and it runs over 2 hours in length. The album would become the second hip-hop/rap album to win the Grammy Award for Album of The Year, and it is a certified diamond album from the RIAA.

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Written by Sebastian Hensiek

From Philadelphia, Sebastian is a fan of music, writing, art, and entertainment.