Nicki Minaj is seen arriving to Marc Jacobs SS19 fashion show during New York Fashion Week; Ye attends the Kenzo Fall/Winter 2022/2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2022 in Paris, France; Drake, winner of the Artist of the Decade Award, and Adonis Graham speak onstage for the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, broadcast on May 23, 2021 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.
Source: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

These Best-Selling Rappers Had Both the Charts and Our Wallets in a Chokehold!

Hip-hop icons' careers are defined by their talent and commercial success — read for details on five of the best-selling rappers of all time.


Nov. 30 2023, Published 7:25 p.m. ET

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Hip-hop is an art form that has evolved over the years and certain artists have been at the forefront of its steady progression.

These artists are legends in their own right but have also mastered the remarkable task of lyrical finesse and commercial appeal — which can be difficult to do, especially as a rapper.

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Currently, Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is the best-selling hip-hop album of all time. But who are the best-selling rappers in hip-hop history?

Lil Wayne has earned his title with more than 240 million records sold as of this writing, but he isn't the only rapper who's famous for dropping heat. From Kanye West to Jay-Z, here are the rappers who have conquered the charts and made millions.

Eminem (200 million)

eminem best selling
Source: Michael Buckner/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images

Eminem speaks during the 50 Cent Walk Of Fame Ceremony on January 30, 2020 in Hollywood, California.

Eminem is one of hip-hop's most revered talents, not just because of his acute wit and spit-fire lyrical delivery but also because of the massive commercial success he has enjoyed throughout his career.

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With a career spanning over three decades, the proud Detroit native has sold over 200 million records globally. His magnum opus, The Marshall Mathers LP, earned him global critical acclaim and secured its place as one of hip-hop's most commercially successful albums.

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Drake (170 million)

Love him or hate him, Certified Lover Boy Drake Graham continues to push boundaries and proudly represent his native country of Canada.

At first, when Drake achieved mainstream success, the actor-turned-rapper experienced pushback from the hip-hop community, but those days are long behind him.

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These days, Drizzy is ranked on the top list of the best-selling artists the genre has seen.

Overall, the Young Money alum has sold over 170 million records worldwide. Not bad at all!

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Jay-Z (170 million)

jay z best selling artists hip hop
Source: Michael Buckner/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images

Jay-Z at the premiere of Netflix's 'The Harder They Fall' at the Shrine Auditoriums in Los Angeles, California.

When Jay-Z isn't dropping a million dollars worth of game for free.99, he is dominating the charts and upping his net worth while doing so.

We all know that Jay is the richest rapper alive with a staggering net worth of $2.5 billion (per Forbes.)

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This only makes sense given that the rapper has sold a phenomenal amount of records. Over the course of his career, the Brooklyn native has sold over 140 million records!

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Kanye "Ye" West (160 million)

kanye records sold
Source: Lester Cohen/WireImage

Kanye West performs onstage during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.

Ye's relationship with the hip-hop community is one that has been complicated.

However, regardless of the turbulence of the Chicago native's controversies, it's hard to forget Kanye's imprint on hip-hop and pop culture.

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The fiercely outspoken artist, who is responsible for masterpieces like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and College Dropout, has sold over 160 million records to date!

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Nicki Minaj (100 million)

nicki best selling hip hop
Source: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Nicki Minaj attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Queens rapper Nicki Minaj is one of rap's most relevant artists and this is for a variety of reasons. She achieved mainstream success thanks to her distinct ability to balance marketing and building an authentic connection with her target audience.

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Those attributes, coupled with her raw lyricism, memorable punchlines, and personality, have made her one of hip-hop's top and best-selling artists. So far, she has sold over 100 million records.

Those numbers are sure to climb following the December 2023 release of Nicki's Pink Print 2.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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