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20 of the Biggest First-Week Sales in Hip-Hop History

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Def Jam/Cash Money/Aftermath

In hip-hop, bragging rights hold a lot of weight. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that rappers like to boast about their albums having huge first-week sales. “Get ya brakes tweaked, I sold what your whole album sold in my first week,” Jay-Z once rapped on his lethal diss record “Takeover.”

First-week sales weren’t always a big deal, but by the time hip-hop started to dominate the charts there became an increased interest in the amount of records a particular album sold within its opening week. 

Eminem is the reigning king of opening week sales. With the release of his sophomore album The Marshall Mathers LP, the “Rap God” smashed records for the biggest first-week sales in hip-hop. The album sold a whopping 1.7 million copies in seven days. One of the highest selling artists of all time, Em is responsible for six of the top 20 biggest first-weeks in history. His 2002 album, The Eminem Show is second on the list. Even his movie soundtracks sold a shitload of copies. 

Eminem’s protege, 50 Cent was also a big seller in his musical prime. His debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin' to this day, has the biggest opening week for a debut rap album. He avoided the sophomore slump when his second album shattered records by moving over 1.1 million in only four days. First-week sales were such a big deal for 50 that he even battled Kanye West for supremacy in 2007. And although he lost to Ye, he still managed to sell just under 700k within a week’s time. 

The other Best Rapper Alive, Lil Wayne was also one of the top-selling artists during his peak. He did a milli in a week with 2008’s Carter III and almost did it again with the fourth installment in his Carter series.  

Drake, who was crowned the artist of the decade, is a G.O.A.T. due to his impact, hit songs and of course, records sold. Even though his most recent album Honestly, Nevermind barely did over 200k in its opening week, his previous album Certified Lover Boy, moved 600k in the same amount of time, and that was with only a week of promotion and without the release of any lead singles. His 2018 album, Scorpion did even better. And the album before that, Views crossed the million mark.  

DMX, Hov and The Notorious B.I.G. have also sold a bunch of records in a week’s span. But which of their albums have had some of the biggest first-week sales of all time? Here are 20 albums with the biggest first-week sales in hip-hop history.

1. The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)

Artist: Eminem

Sold: 1,760,000

Lead Singles: “The Real Slim Shady”

2. The Eminem Show (2004)

Artist: Eminem

Sold: 1,322,000

Lead Singles: “Without Me”

3. The Massacre (2005)

Artist: 50 Cent

Sold: 1,140,000

Lead Singles: "Disco Inferno" & "Candy Shop"

4. Views (2016)

Artist: Drake

Sold: 1,075,000

Lead Singles: “Hotline Bling," "One Dance" & "Pop Style"

5. Tha Carter IlI (2008)

Artist: Lil Wayne

Sold: 1,006,000

Lead Singles: "Lollipop" & "A Milli"

6. Tha Carter IV (2011)

Artist: Lil Wayne

Sold: 964,000

Lead Singles: "6 Foot 7 Foot,"  "John,"  "How to Love" & "She Will"

7. Graduation (2007)

Artist: Kanye West

Sold: 957,000

Lead Singles: “Can't Tell Me Nothing" & "Stronger"

8. Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003)

Artist: 50 Cent

Sold: 872,000

Lead Singles: "In da Club"

9. Late Registration (2005)

Artist: Kanye West

Sold: 860,000

Lead Singles: "Diamonds from Sierra Leone"& "Gold Digger"

10. Doggystyle (1993)

Artist: Snoop Dogg

Sold: 803,000

Lead Singles: "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)"

11. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)

Artist: Eminem

Sold: 792,000

Lead Singles: "Berzerk," "Survival," "Rap God" & "The Monster"

12. Scorpion (2018)

Artist: Drake

Sold: 749,000

Lead Singles: "God's Plan," "Nice for What" & "I'm Upset"

13. Recovery (2010)

Artist: Eminem

Sold: 741,000

Lead Singles: "Not Afraid"

14. Nellyville (2002)

Artist: Nelly

Sold: 714,000

Lead Singles: "Hot in Herre"

15. Encore (2004)

Artist: Eminem

Sold: 710,000

Lead Singles: "Just Lose It" & "Mosh"

16. 8 Mile Soundtrack (2002)

Artist: Eminem

Sold: 702,000

Lead Singles: "Lose Yourself"

17. ..And Then There Was X (1999)

Artist: DMX

Sold: 698,000

Lead Singles: "What's My Name"

18. Curtis (2007)

Artist: 50 Cent

Sold: 697,000

Lead Singles: "Amusement Park," "Straight To The Bank," "I Get Money" & "Ayo Technology"

19. Life After Death (1997)

Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.

Sold: 690,000

Lead Singles: "Hypnotize"

20. Kingdom Come (2006)

Artist: Jay-Z 

Sold: 680,000

Lead Singles: "Show Me What You Got"

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