Here Are the Biggest First-Week Hip-Hop Album Sales Over the Years
It doesn't matter the genre or type of artist, at the end of the day, there's something special about moving a lot of units for those first-week sales. If a rapper puts up crazy numbers, their name and work are etched in hip-hop history forever. Whether they're a respected great or lesser known, a rapper's record sales become the fodder for arguments in their defense—an accomplishment that can never be taken away. In hip-hop especially, selling a ton of records is seen as a medal of honor, a feat that proves relevancy at the time (and possibly much later). Here at XXL, we're highlighting the biggest first-week sales in rap, spanning from the late 1990s to much more recent times.
The top dog—back in 2000 and now 20 years later—who lays claim to being the leader of the best first-week sales in rap is Eminem. His third studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP, sold 1.7 million copies in its introductory week, a mark that still hasn't been matched in the genre. Em had plenty of other moments where his albums ran it up at the register, including The Eminem Show, The 8 Mile Soundtrack, Recovery and more.
Modern artists stay selling records as well. Drake, a star in his own right, has taken himself to new heights in the streaming era. His 2016 offering, Views, sold a little over a million units in its first week, further solidifying his hold on the rap game. He then sold 731,000 units in the first week of the release of his 2018 LP, Scorpion, an album that dropped in the thick of his beef with Pusha-T.
There were also other rappers who made multiple appearances for best-selling first-week sales in the the top 20, including Kanye West, Lil Wayne and 50 Cent. All three of which have undeniable spots in hip-hop's history. It pays to sell.
Check out the gallery of the biggest first-week hip-hop album sales below.
See 20 of the Biggest First-Week Hip-Hop Album Sales Over the Years