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Best-selling Rap Albums of All Time: 2Pac, Eminem, Biggie Smalls & More

Last Updated: October 3, 2023
How many hip-hop albums have received Diamond (10x Platinum) certification from the RIAA? Who’s sold the most records in the history of rap music? Boardroom has the answers.

Who’s the greatest rapper of all time? Depending on your age and generation, your mind perhaps goes straight to Biggie vs. 2Pac or Jay-Z vs. Nas. Maybe you’re an absolute lifer ready to go to the mat for Eminem, Lil Wayne, or André 3000. Maybe you’re ride-or-die for Drizzy Drake and Kendrick, and that’s simply all there is to say about that.

But if we’re talking about album sales in particular, one MC truly stands at the top of the heap.

He may or may not be your favorite, but the numbers are the numbers.

Boardroom dove into the official figures as confirmed by RIAA certification — the Recording Industry Association of America’s Silver, Gold, and Platinum designations as determined not by literal sales per se, but by units shipped minus units returned — to find out which albums made the cut as the most popular in hip-hop history.

Best-selling Hip Hop Albums of All Time by RIAA Certification

Includes all 17 rap albums to receive a designation of 6x Platinum (six million equivalent units shipped) designation or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America as of October 2023. Albums at each tier of certification are listed chronologically in order of release.

For two-disc albums like Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and All Eyez on Me, the RIAA counts a single album as two units.

13x Platinum

Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

12x Platinum

Eminem, The Eminem Show (2002)

11x Platinum

2Pac, All Eyez on Me (1996)
The Notorious BIG, Life After Death (1997)
2Pac, Greatest Hits (1998)
Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)

10x Platinum (“Diamond”)

Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill (1986)
MC Hammer, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990)
Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
Nelly, Country Grammar (2000)
Eminem, Curtain Call: The Hits (2005)

9x Platinum

Will Smith, Big Willie Style (1997)
50 Cent, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (2003)

NOTE: The Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording also has 9x Platinum certification. Whether it’s a “rap album” like the others on this list is a matter of dispute that Boardroom will not attempt to settle.

8x Platinum

Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (2008)
Eminem, Recovery (2010)

7x Platinum

Fugees, The Score (1996)
Nelly, Nellyville (2002)

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6x Platinum

The Notorious BIG, Ready to Die (1994)
Jay-Z, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998)
Dr. Dre, 2001 (1999)
50 Cent, The Massacre (2005)
Drake, Take Care (2011)
Drake, Views (2016)


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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.