The music industry is characterized by countless genres and subgenres, but we ain’t gonna lie: hip hop just hits different.
Hip hop is anything but basic, and the proof can be found in the way it blows up the charts, shatters streaming records, and makes up a large portion of the pop culture of today. Somehow, this nearly 50-year old genre has evolved and glowed up by lending its strong influences to other musical genres. Even EDM, pop, and R&B are sometimes driven by subtle undertones of hip hop, and we’re totally not complaining!
There are tons of 21st century hip hop bops that have made their way into the airwaves and ranked on the charts, but only a few will go down in history as the G.O.A.T.s.
Better to take notes, fam; because you’re high-key going to want to upgrade your playlist once we hit you with the top selling hip hop albums of the 21st century.
The Blueprint by Jay-Z (2001)
Jay-Z dropped The Blueprint in September of 2001. Predominantly peppered with the master rapper’s signature lyricism that slaps hard, The Blueprint was a reset for hip hop enthusiasts. The top selling hip hop album even featured an amazing collab with fellow rap legend, Eminem and was beautifully titled “Renegade.”
Miss E… So Addictive by Missy Elliot (2001)
Before chart-topping queens like Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, and Doja Cat took over the music industry, Missy Elliot was the one to stan (and still is, actually)!
“Get Ur Freak On” may have been released in 2001, but that iconic track is still yeeting people to the dance floor to bust a move. We owe it all to Timabaland’s brilliant beats and Missy Elliot’s genius lyricism.
This top-selling hip hop album even took home a Grammy and was certified platinum. What can we say? Missy Elliot is the standard, and that’s on periodt. Show ‘em how it’s done, Miss E!
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast (2003)
We just know that the catchy chorus of “Hey Ya!” started playing in your head on loop when you read that title, didn’t it?
Kicking down the door of conventionalities and injecting a little bit of retro flair into their step, Outkast’s two-for-one album sold a whopping 510,000 copies in its first week!
Hey ya, that’s impressive!
Kala by M.I.A. (2007)
Listen up, hip hop generation; turn up your speakers to 100, because M.I.A.’s second studio album, Kala, slays.
This album turned heads and sat on its throne at the 18th spot on the Billboard 200. Released in 2008, its hottest single, “Paper Planes”, propelled the album to crazy heights of popularity.
Fun fact: it was even featured in the hit movie, Slumdog Millionaire and was used in the trailer for Pineapple Express.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (2015)
Hip hop isn’t just about churning out hypnotic beats; it’s also about making a daunting statement, and that’s exactly what Kanye West did with this provocative chart-topping album.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy may have received some shade from critics for its unfiltered lyrics and explicit cover art, but it did win Best Rap Album at the 2012 Grammy Awards and raked in millions of streams and views. This major flex showcased that Kanye surely knows how to cater to the overall musical taste of this generation.
To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar (2015)
To Pimp a Butterfly wasn’t just a compilation of music. It was a movement that fearlessly called out hypocrisies in and outside of the black community. It was as rhapsodic as it was powerful and managed to strike a chord with music critics and fans all over the globe.
The album debuted at the number 1 spot on the Billboard 200 and swept the Grammys by gaining three awards for the man who brought it to the mainstream scene. Kendrick Lamar hit a whole new milestone with a set of shiny trophies to prove it: Album of the Year, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Performance.
Ice Daddy by Gucci Mane (2021)
When you blast some Gucci Mane from the speakers, you just know that errthing’s gonna be Gucci. The 2021 album celebrates fatherhood and features appearances from various artists, including Pooh Shiesty, Lil Baby, and BIG30.
Ice Daddy just proved something that hip hop fans always knew: Mr. Mane is a force to be reckoned with — and his legendary 20-year reign in the hip hop industry is only getting started.
Get Your Hip Hop On With Desert Drip
Ranking the top-selling hip hop albums of the 21st century is only the beginning, because the party only truly starts once you secure a Desert Drip festival ticket to celebrate with the legends themselves as they set the stage on fire!
No to #FOMO. Will we be seeing you at the party this Labor Day Weekend?