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Best-selling Rap Albums of All Time

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.

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

Includes all 17 rap albums to receive a designation of 6x Platinum (6,000,000 units shipped) designation or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America as of May 2022. Albums at each tier of certification are listed chronologically in order of release.

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)
Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

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

Eminem, Recovery (2010)

7x Platinum

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

6x Platinum

The Notorious BIG, Ready to Die (1994)
Dr. Dre, 2001 (1999)
50 Cent, The Massacre (2005)
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (2008)
Drake, Take Care (2011)
Drake, Views (2016)

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