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:
12 million albums sold
The Notorious 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Featured Image: Flickr by Toby Jagmohan