It’s official: Hip-hop is one of the most popular genres in the 21st century so far. Not even the notoriously rough transition from sales to streaming put a dent in the rap industry. In fact, hip-hop dominated the streaming charts in 2018. So let’s take a look at the top rappers of all time in terms of sales.
Even though Notorious BIG (AKA Biggie Smalls) died tragically more than 20 years ago, his albums still sell today.
Biggie is not the top-selling rapper of all time. However, considering his short career which ended with his death from a mysterious drive-by shooting in 1997, it’s admirable that he’s still relevant today. Between the two albums released during Biggie’s lifetime and several posthumous projects, Notorious BIG sold more than 5 million units.
Since Eminem enjoys a spot in the top five most successful musicians in US history, it’s evident that he’s the top rapper of all time.
Eminem, (real name Marshall Mathers) transcended racial barriers and other controversial issues to release nine solo albums with great commercial success. All of Eminem’s albums ranked at the coveted number one spot in music sales. Altogether, he sold 100 million albums around the world.
Jay Z is a veteran in the rap game these days. He’s still going strong, having released his fourteenth album in 2017. As of that release, he’s sold 36 million albums worldwide.
Aside from his impressive track record of releases, each of Jay Z’s albums was met with massive commercial success. Each of his albums debuted high on the charts upon their release.
Jay also has many collaborations with legendary contemporaries under his belt. They include hit tracks such as “Encore,” a collaboration with Linkin’ Park, and countless hits with his famous wife, Beyonce.
It seems like every time you blink, the Canadian rapper/actor, Drake, has a new hit on the charts. This makes sense since the current hip-hop market is Drake’s personal empire.
It’s been established that Drake is the top solo male artist of all time in the United States. He cashed in more than 218 million dollars in sales from his solo and collaborative efforts. This sum surpasses icons like Elvis, and yes–even Eminem!
The Second of the Top Rappers No Longer Alive: Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur’s been selling albums from beyond the grave; that’s a lighthearted explanation for the amount of posthumous work released by the legendary LA rapper.
By 2011, Tupac sold 75 million records worldwide. This is despite his death in 1996. Tragically gunned down in Las Vegas in a drive-by shooting, Tupac was forever linked with Notorious BIG due to their fatal feud.
Whether it’s the sad circumstance of Tupac’s death, the historic East Coast VS West Coast hip-hop war, or his mad skills as a rapper, Tupac’s music stays alive and relevant. This is thanks to album sales as well as dedicated fans who download free music.
Best Rapper of All Time?
New rappers are uploading their tracks and getting recognition every day. In the age of streaming and increased accessibility, anyone can release a record and find success. Which are the top rappers in your opinion? Share with us in the comments below.