Top 10 Best-Selling Rappers of All Time

Since its emergence in the 1970s, rap music, and Hip Hop have conquered the world. Originating in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City, Hip Hop is now being listened to in almost all corners of the world. And even though it has been around since the 70s, the 1990s proved to be the decade when Hip Hop really began to shine.

Today, the best-selling rappers belong to the most successful music artists in the world. There are many rappers, but it is those few rappers who managed to become particularly commercially successful, selling millions of records all around the world. The following list ranks the ten best-selling rappers of all time worldwide. The ranking is based on certified record sales of singles and albums in markets that release these official certification numbers.

Note: This ranking lists the best-selling rappers of all time. For the top ten of the best-selling solo music artists of all time, click here.


The 10 Best-selling Rappers of All Time

best-selling rappers


1. Eminem

best rapper best rappers - eminem

~ 227 million units sold

Real name: Marshall Mathers
Born: October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 1988 – present
Best-selling album: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Best-selling single: Love the Way You Lie (2010)

Eminem is the best-selling rapper in history. With over 200 million records sold, he is also the 6th best-selling solo music artist of all time. Growing up in Detroit, Marshall Mathers aka Eminem started his rap career at the age of 16. But it took almost a decade until rap mogul Dr. Dre finally discovered Eminem and gave him his first recording contract. It was the starting point for a legendary and unprecedented Hip Hop career. Despite his many controversial lyrics, Eminem managed to establish Hip-Hop in the mainstream.

For his song ‘Lose Yourself’, the main song for the soundtrack to his 2002 movie ‘8 Mile’, Eminem 2003 also became the first-ever Hip Hop artist to win an Oscar. He was also the first white rapper who managed to succeed in the rap genre.


2. Drake

drake- second best selling rappers

~ 152 million units sold

Real name: Aubrey Graham
Born: October 24, 1986 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nationality: Canadian

Active years: 2006 – present
Best-selling album:
Views (2016)
Best-selling single:
God’s Plan (2018)

Drake comes second among the best-selling rappers in the world. At the same time, he is the most commercially successful non-American rapper. Drake Graham (his surname) was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and was first known as a child actor in the Canadian teen drama series ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation‘. Ultimately Drake decided to leave the acting world in favor of the world of music. And he took it by storm. Drake has been one of the overall worldwide best-selling musicians of the 2010s and is now also the second best-selling Hip-Hop artist of all time.


3. Kanye West

richest rappers in the world - kanye west

~ 140 million units sold

Real name: Kanye West
Born: June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 2002 – present
Best-selling album:
Late Registration (2005)
Best-selling single:
Stronger (2007)

Kanye West follows as the third best-selling rapper of all time. West first started in the music business as a songwriter and record producer. But in 2002 the Atlanta-born and Chicago-raised multi-talent turned into a Hip-Hop artist and rapper himself. Since then, West has become one of the most critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful rappers in the entire world, with some of the biggest rap hits of the 21st Century.


4. Jay-Z

best-selling rappers in the world

~ 125 million units sold

Real name: Shawn Carter
Born: December 4, 1969 in New York City, New York, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 1988 – present
Best-selling album: Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998)
Best-selling single: Empire State of Mind (2009)

Jay-Z stands as the fourth best-selling rapper. Born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, Shawn Carter a.k.a. Jay-Z started his rap career as a teenager in rap battles. Since none of the major record labels were willing to sign him, he simply went on to found his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records. Today, Jay-Z has become a successful billionaire businessman and the richest rapper in the world, with many business ventures outside the Hip-Hop industry. But he is still also among the best-selling rappers of all time.


5. Lil Wayne

~ 110 million units sold

Real name: Dwayne Carter
Born: September 27, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 1995 – present
Best-selling album:
Tha Carter III (2008)
Best-selling single:
Lollipop (2008)

Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter (not related to Jay-Z), is the fifth best-selling rapper. Lil Wayne wrote his first rap song at the age of 8. His rap career then started in 1995 when he recorded his first commercial songs at 12 years old. Previously an A+ honors student, Lil Wayne decided to drop out of high school in his hometown of New Orleans and focus entirely on his Hip-Hop career instead. And in this case, it paid off. Today, Lil Wayne is in the Top Five of the best-selling rappers of all time, worldwide.


6. Nicki Minaj

~ 106 million units sold

Real name: Onika Maraj-Petty
Born: December 8, 1982 in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Nationality: Trinidadian & American

Active years: 2004 – present
Best-selling album: Pink Friday (2010)
Best-selling single: Super Bass (2011)

Nicki Minaj comes sixth among the best-selling rappers of all time. At the same time, the American-Trinidadian is the best-selling female rapper of all time. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Nicki Minaj (real name Onika Maraj-Petty) moved to the U.S. with her mother when she was five and grew up in New York City. While initially trying to become an actress, she eventually turned to her rap talents and had her big breakthrough in 2010 with her hit single “Pink Friday”, followed by many other successful hits and albums, which established her as one of the few successful women in the rap industry.


7. Flo Rida

~ 102 million units sold

Real name: Tramar Dillard
Born: September 17, 1979 in Miami Gardens, Florida, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 2000 – present
Best-selling album: Wild Ones (2012)
Best-selling single: Right Round (2009)

Flo Rida, real name Tramar Dillard, comes seventh among the best-selling rappers of all time. Known for his catchy hooks and vibrant beats, Flo Rida has a knack for creating hits that top the charts and even reach many listeners who aren’t usually into rap music. He was born and raised in Miami Gardens, Florida, and his chosen rap name expresses his status as a proud Floridian and one of the most successful music artists to come out of the Sunshine State in general.


8. 2Pac

~ 75 million units sold

Real name: Tupac Shakur
Born: June 16, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA
Died: September 13, 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 1989 – 1996
Best-selling album: All Eyez on Me (1996)
Best-selling single: California Love (1995)

2Pac follows as the eighth best-selling rapper of all time, but he may also be the most iconic rapper in history. Tupac Shakur, 2Pac’s legal name, had a unique storytelling ability and used compelling lyrics in his rap, all of which contributed to 2Pac emerging as one of the best-selling rappers of all time despite having been active only for seven years until his life got cut short when he was killed in 1996. Despite his untimely death, the New York City-born and raised rapper continues to influence a lot of younger rappers to this day, leaving a powerful legacy behind him in the world of rap.


9. Snoop Dogg

~ 40 million units sold

Real name: Calvin Broadus
Born: October 20, 1971 in Long Beach, California, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 1992 – present
Best-selling album: Doggystyle (1993)
Best-selling single: Drop It Like It’s Hot (2004)

Snoop Dogg stands ninth among the best-selling rappers of all time. Discovered by legendary rap producer Dr. Dre in 1992, Calvin Broadus, Snoop Dogg’s real name, quickly managed to make a name for himself among rap fans around the world. Known for his laid-back persona and smooth lyrical delivery, Snoop Dogg has long cemented his position as one of the best-selling rappers in rap history. With hit tracks and albums that have spanned decades, the Long Beach, California native’s influence on the music world has been tremendous and his commercial success proves it.


10. DMX

~ 34 million units sold

Real name: Earl Simmons
Born: December 18, 1970 in Mount Vernon, New York, USA
Died: April 9, 2021 in White Plains, New York, USA
Nationality: American

Active years: 1988 – 2021
Best-selling album: … And Then There Was X (1999)
Best-selling single: X Gon’ Give It to Ya (2003)

DMX takes the final spot among the ten best-selling rappers of all time. DMX, or Earl Simmons, was born in Mount Vernon and raised in nearby Yonkers, New York, a suburb of New York City. He originally started as a beatboxer but then started to write rap lyrics while serving a prison sentence for carjacking in his teenage years. By the late 1990s, DMX had his breakthrough as a rapper, with several hit singles and albums. Known for his gritty, raw lyrics and energetic performances, DMX managed to develop a characteristic rap style. In 2021, he tragically died from a drug overdose but still holds his place among the most successful and best-selling rappers of all time.



The 10 Best-selling Rappers of All Time:

Rapper:Active years:Best-Selling Album/Single:Units sold:
1. EMINEM1988 – presentBest-selling album: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Best-selling single: Love the Way You Lie (2010)
~ 227 million
2. DRAKE2006 – presentBest-selling album: Views (2016)
Best-selling single: God’s Plan (2018)
~ 152 million
3. KANYE WEST2002 – presentBest-selling album: Late Registration (2005)
Best-selling single: Stronger (2007)
~ 140 million
4. JAY-Z1988 – presentBest-selling album: Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998)
Best-selling single: Empire State of Mind (2009)
~ 125 million
5. LIL WAYNE1995 – presentBest-selling album: Tha Carter III (2008)
Best-selling single: Lollipop (2008)
~ 110 million
6. NICKI MINAJ2004 – presentBest-selling album: Pink Friday (2010)
Best-selling single: Super Bass (2011)
~ 106 million
7. FLO RIDA2000 – presentBest-selling album: Wild Ones (2012)
Best-selling single: Right Round (2009)
~ 102 million
8. 2PAC1989 – 1996Best-selling album: All Eyez on Me (1996)
Best-selling single: California Love (1995)
~ 75 million
9. SNOOP DOGG1992 – presentBest-selling album: Doggystyle (1993)
Best-selling single: Drop It Like It’s Hot (2004)
~ 40 million
10. DMX1988 – 2021 Best-selling album: … And Then There Was X (1999)
Best-selling single: X Gon’ Give It to Ya (2003)
~ 34 million
Updated as of January 2024.

Top Ten best-selling rappers by total units (albums & singles) sold worldwide. Only rappers and hip-hop artists are considered for the best-selling rappers.


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