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The 10 Best Selling Rap Albums of All-Time


In the late 1970s in Bronx County, a group of musicians teamed up to create a new musical genre. The music genre was characterized by rhythmic speech and street vernacular. It became extremely popular and was called hip hop and rap. The performance mode is chanting the words over a series of backing beats. Through the 1980s, the popularity of rap music continued to increase, and today it is still popular among all age groups. Many rap musicians are producing songs every day, but only a few of these have managed to be the crème de la crème. They have sold the most copies than no other musician has ever. The following are the ten best rap albums of all time.

10. Get Rich or Die Tryin'- 50 Cent (9 million copies sold)

Get Rich or Die Tryin' is the tenth album on this list by 50 Cent. It is considered one of the best albums in his music career. This album was 50 Cent's second release in 2003. During the album's release, it was the first album to be produced under the sub-genre called gangsta rap. When the album was first released, it sold about 872,000 copies in the first week. Within a few weeks, it became a platinum album.

The album producers were none other than the legendary Eminem and Dr. Dre. These two are also credited for the massive sales of album copies because of their influence on rap music. Throughout the years, the album has become an inspiration to other rappers and musicians. According to Worthly, in 2005, 50 cent was a co-star in a movie called Get Rich or Die Tryin'.

Get Rich or Die Tryin' is an amazing album that is loved by rap fans to date. Dr. Dre is the album's executive producer, which features boom bap style and his classy bouncy. It was a simple production with catchy tunes that will get stuck in your mind.

9. Country Grammar- Nelly (10 million copies sold)

We have bad boy Nelly at number nine with his favorite Country Grammar album. Nelly's album was a huge success selling approximately 10 million copies. Country Grammar was released in 2000 and became a launching pad for Nelly's rapping career. Universal records produced the album. Some popular songs featured in this album are 'Ride with me, 'Batter up, and 'Country Grammar.' The story behind the album dates back to 1999 when Nelly and his friend were driving to the St. Louis police station. Nelly and his pal were tight, and people thought they were brothers because they looked alike. They had earlier formed a rap group in 1993.

In June 2000, Nelly dropped this banger album and introduced his style of music. The song country grammar is the lead song in the album. According to Ormishal Medium, it peaked at number seven on Billboard hot 100, while Ride wit me was number five in the Hot 100. Country Grammar was a successful album with numerous positive reviews. Many fans were amazed by Nelly's vocals and his rap style. The album managed to stay at the top of the Billboard 200 for five consecutive weeks. It also got a platinum certification three times.

8. Licensed to Ill- The Beastie Boys (10 million copies sold)

Rap music is often associated with the gangster lifestyle. There was a time when you told people that a Jewish boy group would become the biggest rap group, and people would think you were out of your mind. Well, that became true in 1986 courtesy of The Beastie Boys. Three Jewish boys formed the group from Brooklyn. The group had a successful career and became the greatest rap group of all time.

The album Licensed to Ill is their greatest album so far and was ranked as the first album to top Billboard charts in the 80s. Licensed to Ill was produced by Colombia records, and it features songs like No Sleep till Brooklyn, brass monkey, and the new style. The Beastie Boys had originally named the album 'Don't be a fag**,’ but their producers refused the album title, terming it as homophobic.

7. Greatest Hits- Tupac Shakur (10.6 million copies sold)

Tupac Shakur is a big name in the rap industry. According to Rap World, unfortunately, the rapper was assassinated in September 1996 in an offensive shootout in Nevada, Las Vegas. At the time of his death, he was only 25 years. His shooting sparked a lot of tension in the U.S. rap community. The tension and war led to the death of another famous rapper; Notorious B.I.G. Greatest Hits were released as a posthumous album following his death. The name of the album is quite self-explanatory. There are only four songs in the album that Tupac did before his death, but he did not manage to release them.

Death Row record released the album in November 1998. Before Tupac's death, he had signed an agreement with the record label that he would release three albums with them in a bid to pay his debt. Greatest Hits has four songs arranged in a non-chronological manner. They mainly focus on Tupac's rap career. The four songs in the album are unconditional love; God bless the dead, changes, and troublesome 96. Some of the songs in this album have been added to alternate mixes. The song changes earned Tupac his first posthumous Grammy Award.

6. All Eyes on Me- Tupac Shakur (11 million copies sold)

If you are a rap fan, you have come across Tupac Shakur. Tupac is ranked among the greatest rappers of all time. His fourth album, All Eyes on me, has sold over 11 million copies. Tupac produced this album when there was a conflict between the west coast and east coast rappers. The story behind the release of this album is quite interesting. In 1995, Tupac was arrested on the grounds of sexual abuse. He was released on a $1.4 million bail paid by Jimmy Iovine and Suge Knight.

When Tupac was released, he was broke and could not pay his cash bail. Tupac and Knight signed an agreement stating that the rapper would produce three albums and record them under Death Row Records. All Eyes on Me is one of the albums released by Tupac in a bid to pay his debt to Knight. As part of his contract, Shakur released this double album. The album's original title was Euthanasia, but the producers changed the name to All Eyes on me during the recording process. The name is derived from what he went through while in jail.

5. Life After Death- The Notorious B.I.G. (11.5 million copies sold)

On March 9, 1997, in California, 24-year-old American rapper Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G., was killed in a shooting incident. Life After Death was an album released after his death. It is the second and last album that Christopher had put together before his demise. According to Billboard, the double album features other famous rap artists like P.Diddy, D.M.C, and Jay Z. In the first week of its release, it sold over 690,000 copies of the album. Over the years, the album has been recognized as one of the bestselling rap albums earning various recognitions and awards.

About two years before the album's release, Christopher Wallace was married to the love of his life Faith Evans. During this time, there was a great conflict between East coast and West Coast rappers. Wallace was the east coast rap icon making guest appearances on R. Kelly and Michael Jackson's albums. The album's initial release date was October 1996, but a month before its release, Mr. Wallace was involved in a car accident. They had to reschedule the release date to 1997, but unfortunately, the rapper did not live to see this become a reality. He died just two weeks before the release.

4. Please, Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em- MC Hammer (18 million copies sold)

At number four, we have a well-known album in the rap industry. Please, Hammer, don't hurt ‘em. The album was released in 1990 as Hammer's third album. This is the album that helped to slingshot his rap career. Many songs are featured in this album, including the famous rap song 'u can't touch this,' which was number 8 on U.S. Billboard hot 100. Over time, this album has sold nearly 18 million copies worldwide. James Earley and Felton Pilate released the album. They did an amazing job helping the album to be number one for twenty-one consecutive weeks. It is among the first albums to top the pop charts.

MC Hammer did many concerts with this album. He went on an extensive Europe tour where they sold out tickets to the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham. Pepsi later sponsored Hammer in 1991 for an additional tour. During these tours, he sold millions of copies of his album and earned approximately $32 million. As of today, this album has earned a diamond status for selling more than 18 million copies.

3. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below- Outkast (19.5 million copies sold)

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was an album released in 2003 by Outkast. So far, the album has sold about 19.5 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling rap albums. The album is a double L.P. with 39 songs. If you want to relax and listen to a continuous flow of rap music, you must listen to this album because it runs for over two hours. The album has gained a lot of recognition and awards. It is the second album to win the hip-hop/rap Grammy Award and is also a certified diamond album recognized by RIAA.

According to Stop the Breaks, Andre 3000 is part of the duo that forms Outkast. He is a rap musician, but he felt he wanted to pursue a career in acting. Andre moved to Los Angeles, where he was supposed to feature in the Hollywood Homicide drama series. He later returned to his music career and recorded a solo album that would form part of this album. The recorded songs have a feel of jazz, pop, and funk. Andre used a microcassette to record the lyrics of these songs before going to the studio.

2. The Marshall Mathers LP- Eminem (25 million copies sold)

The Marshall Mathers LP is Eminem's second-best album after The Eminem Show. Over time, the album has managed to sell about 25 million copies. It is also considered the second best-selling rap album. The album is Eminem's third album, produced by Dr. Dre and released in 2000. Some famous songs featured in the album are the way I am and the real slim shady. If you want to start listening to Eminem songs, this is a good album, to begin with. The song slim shady transformed Eminem from just an ordinary rapper to a high-profile celebrity.

It led to a change in his lifestyle since he had previously struggled to provide for his daughter. The album also brought a lot of controversy to his life. First, some of his songs' lyrics received much criticism. Second, he realized some people were faking it and wanted to be associated with him because he was a celebrity.

1. The Eminem Show- Eminem (27 million copies sold)

Eminem is one of the biggest names in the rap industry. His albums are ranked among the best-selling rap albums. Eminem is very talented and has built a name for himself using controversial lyrics and his relationship with the media. Another aspect that makes him famous is that he is a white rapper, and we all know African Americans dominate the rap industry. All these factors combined have contributed to his successful rap career.

The Eminem Show is his fourth album with songs like Till I Collapse and Without Me. According to Live About, the album was supposed to be released in June 2002, but they released on May 2002 by Shady Records, Interscope Records, and Aftermath Entertainment. Unlike his previous albums, this one has a lot of rap-rock, with the themes of the songs in the album focusing on Eminem's hip-hop culture.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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