In the Hip Hop community a hot topic of discussion, pretty much at any given time is, who is the greatest rapper of all time. This is a debate that goes on regularly among Hip Hop fans from all spectrums of life and all over the world.
However, there’s one aspect of Hip Hop greatness that can’t be debated and that’s what Hip Hop albums have sold the most records. That can’t be debated because there are numbers to prove the sales and we all know the saying, numbers don’t lie.
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11 HIP HOP ALBUMS TO GO DIAMOND
In this blog post we highlight the 11 hip hop albums to go diamond. We know what you’re thinking. 11 albums? Aren’t there many more hip hop albums than just 11 that have gone diamond? Yes, there are.
However, on this blog post we will only highlight the albums that have gone diamond based on RIAA certification.
WHAT IS RIAA?
RIAA stands for Recording Industry Association of America. It is a trade organization that represents the music industry in America. It was founded in 1952 and its original mission was to “administer recording copyright fees and problems…and do research relating to record industry and government regulations.”
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RIAA SALES CERTIFICATION
A key factor of RIAA sales certification is to note that it counts US sales only, not worldwide sales. Therefore that is where confusion lies with what albums have been certified diamond.
In hip hop there are only 11 hip hop albums that are RIAA certified diamond. Before we get into those 11 RIAA certified diamond albums are, there are the RIAA album certification criteria:
- Gold: 500,000 units
- Platinum: 1,000,000 units
- Multi-Platinum: 2,000,000 units (increments of 1,000,000 thereafter)
- Diamond: 10,000,000 units
In this article we will only highlight the 11 hip hop albums to go diamond according to RIAA certification. That is, the 11 hip hop albums that have sold 10 million or more albums in the US alone. No worldwide sales are counted for RIAA diamond certification.
Without further ado, let’s get into the 11 hip hop albums to go diamond based on RIAA diamond album certification.
1) THE EMINEM SHOW (Eminem)
Released on May 26th, 2002, The Eminem Show, is Eminem’s fourth studio album. The album has features from D12, Dr. Dre, Nate Dogg and Obie Trice. The album debuted at number 1 and moved 1.3 million units in its second week.
Some of the most notable songs from The Eminem Show are “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” “Superman,” “Sing For The Moment,” “Without Me,” and “Till I Collapse.”
In 2002 The Eminem Show was the best selling album in the US and it was also the best selling album in the world. The Eminem show is also the best selling hip hop album in music history. The RIAA certified the album Diamond and it has worldwide sales of 27 million records sold.
2) ALL EYEZ ON ME (Tupac)
On February 13th 1996 Tupac’s fourth studio album, All Eyez On Me, was released on Death Row Records. The album sold 556,000 copies in its first week of release. It featured guest appearances from many artists that include Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, K-Ci & Jojo, The Outlawz, Kurupt, Nate Dogg and others.
Tupac’s All Eyez On Me immediately received critical praise and it is ranked to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. It features singles that include “How Do You Want It,” “California Love,” “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” and “I Ain’t Mad Atcha.”
All Eyez on me was a double album and it has been certified Diamond by the RIAA. The album shipped over 5 million copies. The RIAA counts each disc in the double album as a separate unit for certification.
3) LIFE AFTER DEATH (Biggie Smalls)
Life After Death was Biggie’s second and final studio album. It was released on March 25, 1997, on Bad Boy and Arista Records.
Life after death is consensually ranked as one of the greatest rap albums of all time. On its first week of release it sold 690,000 thousand albums and It immediately received critical acclaim.
The album features many notable guest appearances including Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Too $hort, Run DMC, The Lox, Jay Z, Puff Daddy and more.
4) GREATEST HITS (Tupac)
Greatest Hits is a posthumous double disc of rapper Tupac’s greatest hits and it was released on November 24, 1998. The album has a total of 21 songs and four of them were previously unreleased songs. They were “God Bless The Dead,” “Unconditional Love,” Troublesome ‘96” and “Changes.”
The album sold 268,000 copies in its first week and spent a total of 433 weeks on Billboard 200. Greatest Hits has been certified Diamond by the RIAA with over 5.33 million albums sold.The RIAA counts each disc in the double album as a separate unit for certification, putting the total sales at over 10.66 million.
5) THE MARSHALL MATTERS LP (Eminem)
On May 23, 2000, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP was released. With production coming primarily from Dr. Dre and Eminem, it has guest appearances from many artists including Sticky Fingaz, Bizarre, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg and others.
The Marshall Mathers LP debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 moving 1.78 million copies in its first week. It remained atop Billboard 200 for 8 consecutive weeks. Some of the singles from the album included, “The Real Slim Shady,” “The Way I Am” and “Stan.”
The Marshall Mathers LP has been certified Diamond by the RIAA with over 11 million records sold and it has sold over 25 million records worldwide.
6) OUTKAST (Spekarboxx/Lovebelow)
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is a double disc album that was released on September 23, 2003 on Arista Records by hip hop group Outkast.
It is a double album with solo albums from each respective member of the group. Big Boi goes solo on Speakerboxxx and Andre 3000 goes solo on The Love Below.
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below debuted at number one selling 510,000 copies its first week. The album produced hit singles “Hey Ya” and “The Way You Move,” both of which hit number one on US Billboard Hot 100 and chart topping single “Roses.”
The album is certified Diamond by the RIAA (11 x platinum, each disc in the double album counted as a separate unit for certification). It has sold over 5.7 million units in the US.
7) BEASTIE BOYS (Licensed To Ill)
Licensed To Ill was rap group Beastie Boys debut album. The album was released on November 15, 1986. The group was signed to Def Jam.
Licensed To Ill was only the second rap album to go platinum, after RUN-DMC’s Raising Hell. Licensed To Ill was certified platinum by the RIAA on February 2, 1987. The single “Brass Monkey” went gold.
Overall, mainstream critics have ranked the album as one of the greatest hip hop and debut albums of all time.
8) MC HAMMER (Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em)
Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em was the third studio album by MC Hammer. The album was released on February 12, 1990.
Hammer’s Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘EM peaked at number 1 and stayed at the top of the charts for 28 weeks. It was one of the best selling albums of 1990 and it remains one of the best selling albums of all time.
The album had chart topping singles that include “Pray,” “Have You Seen Her” and “Here Comes The Hammer.” However, the most notable and first single on the album “You Can’t Touch This” remains the most known of the releases.
Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em took rap music to another level of popularity. It became the first hip hop album to be certified diamond by the RIAA with sales of over ten million in the US. The album has sold more than 17 million copies across the world.
9) THE MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL (Lauryn Hll)
On August 25, 1998, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was released. It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart selling over 422,000 copies in its first week. That set a record for most first week sales by a female artis.
Lauryn Hill received 10 Grammy nominations for the album and won 5 of them. She became the first woman to receive that many nominations and awards in one night.
The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill is certified Diamond by the RIAA for selling 10 million copies in the US. Lauryn Hill also became the first female to reach this achievement. Worldwide the album has sold over 20 million records.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill remains Hill’s only solo studio album.
10) COUNTRY GRAMMAR (Nelly)
Country Grammar is the debut album by Nelly. The album was released on June 27, 2000 and its lead single was “Country Grammar (Hot Sh^t),” which peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Country Grammar charted on the US Billboard 200 chart consecutively for five weeks. In 20016 Country Grammar was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for its shipment of 10 million copies in the US.
11) CURTAIN CALL: THE HITS (Eminem)
Eminem’s Curtain Call: The Hits, is the rapper’s first greatest hits album. The album was released on December 6, 2005.
Curtain Call: The Hits is a compilation of Eminem’s most popular songs and four new songs.
And as always we like to close with a saying, quote or adage and today’s is from Tupac: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. DON’T LET THE PRESSURE MAKE YOU PANIC.
Now, go forth and change the game!