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Top Ten Best-Selling Rappers of All Time

The rap game is tough and more and more artists are appearing every single day. It takes skill, talent, networking, and business smarts to succeed in today’s competitive music world. Here are the top ten best-selling rappers of all time:

10

Notorious B.I.G

12 million albums sold

The Notrious B.I.G or Biggie Smalls was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He is often accredited for bringing New York’s style of rap into the mainstream. At the end of the coastal feud that had already taken the life of Tupac Shakur, Biggie was gunned down in 1997. Both his career and legacy live on. Since his death, two additional studio albums have been released by finding archived recordings.

9

Ludacris

15 million albums sold

Christopher Brian Bridges, known by fans as Ludacris has found success in music, business, and in acting. Over the course of his career he has won three Grammy Awards and is considered to be one of the most influential rappers from the south. He is also famous for his role in the Fast and Furious movies having appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6.

8

MC Hammer

17 million albums sold

MC Hammer had a rapid rise to fame when he released his famous songs “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit.” On New Year’s 2013, MC Hammer appeared along with PSY to perform a mash up mix of “Gangnam Style” and “2 Legit 2 Quit” and was later released on iTunes for purchase.

7

DMX

18 million albums sold

DMX, born Earl Simmons, has achieved success ever since releasing his 1999 album, …And Then There Was X. He has also appeared in several movies including Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 The Grave, and Last Hour.

6

Nelly

22 million albums sold

Cornell Iral Hayes Jr., better known by his stage name, Nelly started his music career in St. Louis, Missouri. He won a Grammy Award in both 2003 and 2004. In addition to his music career, Nelly has played as an actor in several movies, most notably, The Longest Yard, where he co-starred alongside Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. He has released seven studio albums, three collaboration albums, one remix album, and two compilation albums.

5

Outkast

25 million albums sold

Outkast is a musical duo from Georgia consisting of Andre 3000 and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. The duo is one of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time and have won six Grammy Awards over their career. Outkast is known for maintaining an experimental approach to their music and for having originality. To date they have released seven studio albums.

4

Beastie Boys

25 million albums sold

The Beastie Boys hail from New York City and were formed in 1981. When the band was first starting out they walked the line between hardcore punk and hip-hop before transitioning into a hip-hop group in the late 1980′s. The Beastie Boys made a name for themselves when they joined Madonna on tour in 1995 and released their Licensed to Ill album. The Beastie Boys are one of the longest-lived hip hop groups worldwide and have achieved commercial success for more than 25 years.

3

Tupac Shakur

31 million albums sold

As of 2013, Tupac Shakur has sold more than 31 million albums worldwide, not only making him one of the top best-selling rapper of all time, but one of the top best-selling artists in general. Rolling Stone magazine rated his as the 86th greatest artist of all time. Of all his albums, the double disc album All Eyez On Me is one of the best-selling hip hop albums ever. Interestingly enough he has actually sold more albums since his tragic death in 1996 than while he was alive.

2

Jay-Z

33 million albums sold

Born Shawn Corey Carter, better known as Jay-Z is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in the world. Forbes estimates Jay-Z’s net worth is nearly $500 million. MTV rated Jay-Z as number one of their list of The Greatest MCs of All-Time. On top of that, he has two albums that are ranked in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, his Reasonable Doubt album, and The Blueprint album. Outside of his music career, Jay-Z is a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets and is the co-creator of the clothing line Rocawear. In 2008, he married fellow R&B singer Beyonce Knowles, making them one of the most powerful couples in the music industry.

1

Eminem

52 million albums sold

Eminem started his rap career in the early 1990′s and achieved fame upon the release of his 1998 The Slim Shady LP. Eminem is the best-selling rap artist of all time. His videos on Vevo has totaled over 2 billion views.

 

Featured Image: Flickr by Toby Jagmohan

 

  • Derek

    Where is the Wu Tang Clan…….they have sold more than 40 million albums according to their Wiki page. I would have thought they had sold more

  • Matthew

    Not after his death, he sold 75 mln copies worldwide in general on 2007 year. Now the estimated sale of 80-85 copies and this list is showing sales only in USA

  • Mikal Batson

    :)

  • Demond HugoBoss Brown

    Jay z puts an album out every year and a half, that’s the only reason why he has c 33 mill

  • Tony Shark

    Shouldn’t it be Eminem – 38 million? Or is it including the compilation albums like Curtain call, 8 mile, Re-Up?

    • Matthew

      Yes, but Curtain Call is a his OWN compilation

  • ffdsfsfds

    Nas isn’t mainstream but he still the best rapper ever.

  • Jordan Bolduc

    Where is Nas on this list ?, He has sold 15 Million albums too.

    • Best Ten Everything

      Thanks for the comment. From our sources, Nas as only sold 10.7 million albums in his career.

      The breakdown is:

      Illmatic – 1 million
      It Was Written – 2 million
      I Am – 2 million
      Nastradamus – 1 million
      Stillmatic – 1 million
      God’s Son – 1 million
      Street’s Disciple – 1 million
      Hip Hop is Dead – 800k

      Untitled – 600k
      Life Is Good – 300k

      Nas has also worked on a number of collaboration albums, but collaborations weren’t included in this list.

      • ffdsfsfds

        You left out The Lost Tapes that was released in 2002 along side God’s Son.

      • luigi jimenez

        Where’s 50?

  • Ndum’ndayi Nbs Mhlongo

    This list is irrelevant because they forgot ” 50 cent “

    • Best Ten Everything

      Thanks for your comment! 50 Cent has sold 11.5 million albums, placing him outside the top 10.

      • Nico49

        How is it only 11.5… Get rich or die tryin sold 8 million… The massacre sold 5 miliion

        • Rotivmlfy

          There are G-Unit Beg For Mercy which sold 2 or 3 mill and Curtis which was also a selling success. Get Rich Or Die Tryin sold 8.9 million just in the U.S. 50′s believed to have sold something like 40 million albums worldwide, what puts him on top 2

          • Mitch

            I’m assuming the list is going by certified sales. Which would in fact put him out of the top 10. If everyone was going by the ‘supposed sales’ then everyone else would also be bumped up, still leaving 50 cent off the list.

  • Johndough

    It says eminem is #1 with 52 million sold, and tupac is #3 with 31 million. But then Tupac’s info says that he has over 75 million sold. So how isn’t he #1??

    • Best Ten Everything

      Good catch! We updated the post to show the correct number of albums. Just to clarify Tupac sold 75 million total discs including singles, but only roughly 31 million albums.

    • Nico49

      That’s prolly worldwide sales this list is only us