25 Best-Selling Rap Albums of All Time

25 Best-Selling Rap Albums of All Time by rBeatz.com May 2024

Table of Contents

"Hip hop changed the world. It's more than just music, it's a movement." - Jay-Z (rapper, songwriter, and record producer.)

Hip hop was born in the Bronx, New York, in the 1970s, at the height of drug use, racial discrimination, and gang violence in the African American and Latino urban neighborhoods. Upcoming artists began shedding light on their daily challenges through rap lyrics, which set the stage for hip hop as we know it today. Over the years, hip hop has become a commercial success with some of the best-selling albums by the genre’s most prolific writers and MCs. These are some of the best-selling hip hop albums of all time.

25 Million copies sold

The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem (2000)

Eminem’s third studio rap album delves into his struggles, including his rocky relationship with his mother, drug addiction, and newfound fame. It won a Grammy Award and is often regarded as one of the best-selling rap albums of all time with 25 million copies sold.

10.6 Million copies sold

All Eyez on Me by 2Pac (1996)

This double rap album sold 10.6 million copies and explores the allure and pitfalls of fame, shedding light on the pressures and scrutiny celebrities face. 2Pac also addresses social injustices and speaks out against racism, poverty, and police brutality.

9 million copies sold

Get Rich or Die Tryin' by 50 Cent (2003)

50 Cent’s debut rap album, with 9 million copies sold, portrays life on the harsh streets of New York and the pursuit of wealth by any means necessary. He recalls his experiences growing up in the streets of Queens amid violence, drugs, and crime.

3 million copies sold

The Chronic by Dr. Dre (1992)

Dr. Dre introduces hip hop lovers to G-funk music, characterized by its smooth melodies and funky basslines. The album also explores gang culture and street life, offering a glimpse into the realities of urban communities in Los Angeles. 3 million copies were sold.

10 million copies sold

Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys (1986)

This debut album selling 10 million copies to date, blends hip hop and punk rock elements, creating a high-energy sound. The album also highlights themes of partying, mischief, and youthful exuberance, capturing the carefree spirit of adolescence in the 1980s.

27 million copies sold

The Eminem Show by Eminem (2002)

Eminem addresses social issues, including racism, poverty, and political corruption in this 2002 album which sold over 27 million copies. The rap album also explores personal growth and self-discovery as Eminem grapples with his inner demons.

15 million copies sold

Curtain Call: The Hits by Eminem (2005)

As a compilation rap album, Curtain Call offers a retrospective of Eminem’s career and the themes explored in his music. It includes tracks touching on personal struggles, addiction, family dynamics, and artistic evolution and sold 15 million copies.

18 million copies sold

Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em by MC Hammer (1990) 

MC Hammer spreads messages of love, peace, and unity, using his catchy hooks to uplift and inspire listeners through all 18 million records sold. He reflects on his journey from humble beginnings to international superstardom.

20 million copies sold

Recovery by Eminem (2010)

This album is a deeply personal exploration of Eminem’s journey to sobriety and self-improvement. Eminem raps about addiction and recovery, offering a candid look at his struggles with substance abuse and mental health issues. This album also reached 20 million copies.

20 million copies sold

The Miseducation of Lauryn HilL by Lauryn Hill (1998)

This groundbreaking rap album, by Lauryn Hill, is a fusion of hip hop, R&B, soul, and reggae. It’s hailed as one of the best-selling albums of all time and went on to win five Grammy awards and sell 20 million copies.

10 million copies sold

Country Grammar by Nelly (2000) 

This debut studio album by the American rapper Nelly helped to popularize the genre of Southern hip hop, particularly from the Midwest region of the United States. This album reached 10 million copies sold.

11 million copies sold

Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G. (1997)

Biggie’s second and final studio rap album paints vivid pictures of life in the streets of Brooklyn and the struggles of achieving success. The album which sold 11 million copies, features a star-studded lineup of guest artists and producers, including Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, and Puff Daddy.

11 million copies sold

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast (2003) 

The double album includes two solo rap albums packaged together as a single release, selling at 11 million copies to date. It showcases the distinct styles and creative genius of André 3000 (The Love Below) and Big Boi (Speakerboxxx).

11 million copies sold

To The Extreme by Vanilla Ice (1990) 

This debut album is perhaps best known for featuring the hit single “Ice Ice Baby,” which became a cultural phenomenon and one of the defining songs of the early 1990s and sold 11 million copies.

6 million copies sold

2001 by Dr. Dre (1999)

Also known as The Chronic 2001, this is the second studio album by Dr. Dre. The best-seller, selling 6 million copies, features hard-hitting beats and memorable guest verses from artists like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Nate Dogg.

10.6 Million copies sold

Greatest Hits by 2Pac (1998) 

This compilation album by the legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was released posthumously in 1998. The album features some of his most iconic songs throughout his career, from his early days with Digital Underground to solo work and maxed at 10.6 million copies.

7 million copies sold

Nellyville by Nelly (2002) 

Nellyville is a standout rap album in Nelly’s discography and a nostalgic reminder of the early 2000s hip hop era. The album which sold 7 million copies, showcases Nelly’s versatility as an artist, blending elements of hip hop, R&B, and pop.

9 million copies sold

Big Willie Style by Will Smith (1997)

This 9 million copy selling debut solo album features hit singles like “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” and “Just the Two of Us,” which showcase Smith‘s knack for catchy hooks and danceable beats.

2.8 Million copies sold

Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne (2008)

Tha Carter III is widely regarded as one of Lil Wayne‘s greatest works and a landmark album in hip hop history, however, only selling 2.8 million copies. The album features an impressive roster of guest artists, including Jay-Z, Kanye West, T-Pain, and Busta Rhymes.

6 million copies sold

Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life by Jay-Z (1998) 

Jay-Z’s third studio album is one of his most iconic and best-selling albums, 6 million copies, marking a significant milestone in his career. The album’s title references the Broadway musical, Annie.

11 million copies sold

The Massacre by 50 Cent (2005)

50 Cent’s second studio rap album explores themes of street life, success, and the struggles of fame. His aggressive delivery and clever wordplay add to the album’s appeal, making it a favorite among gangsta rap fans, selling 11 million copies.

7 million copies sold

No Way Out by Puff Daddy and The Family (1997)

Puff Daddy’s best-selling album, at 7 million copies, features collaborations with artists like The Notorious B.I.G., Mase, Faith Evans, and Lil’ Kim. The album touches on success, loss, and the challenges he faced along the way.

4 Million copies sold

E. 1999 Eternal by Bone Thugz-n-Harmony (1995)

E. 1999 Eternal references street life, spirituality, and the struggles of growing up in the inner city. The 4 million record selling album is packed with fast-paced, melodic flows and powerful storytelling. 

5 million copies sold

The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory by 2Pac (1996) 

The rap album was recorded in just seven days, shortly before Tupac’s tragic death, and released posthumously. Tupac addresses his ongoing feuds with other rappers and his distrust of the music industry and government, reaching 5 million sold copies. 

11 million copies sold

Encore by Eminem (2004)

Eminem’s fifth studio rap album features humorous songs and politically charged lyrics. The album’s production, handled by Eminem, Dr. Dre, and others, is characterized by dark, brooding beats and catchy hooks, and sold at 11 million copies. 

The Everlasting Culture of Hip Hop

As hip hop evolves, it continues to garner recognition from cultural institutions and elites. The genre serves as a cultural touchstone, reflecting the social and political landscapes during the album releases. These best-selling albums capture the essence of the communities and experiences they represent, providing a voice for marginalized groups and shedding light on important societal issues.

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