Recently I have seen a lot of energy around the top 50 list of M.C.’s in Hip Hop. Recently a list (troll list in my opinion) went viral on a lot of Hip Hop websites and social media accounts. The comments from this topic were not only amusing, but some got downright personal. This debate has been discussed, dissected, analyzed and researched for years. I mean back in 1994 I had this same discussion in the yard of Virginia State University with kids from all over the country and just like now, we could not come to a consensus on anything. So to see this topic flare-up year after year, month after month, just makes me laugh!
So here is my theory on this and why we will never have a valid list. First, we all have different tastes and likes based on many factors such as where we are from, the time we were introduced to Hip Hop and where we are in our lives. There is no other way to validate a list as such unless we drop in actual facts and stats……..in other words, we need to dive deeper into the mathematics of this (more on this later).
So to speak on my position, I am from the East Coast. I grew up in the Golden Age of Hip Hop mainly influenced by the likes of Biggie, Nas, Wu-Tang, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, and Jay Z, just to name a few. I was introduced to NYC Hip Hop from the start. I also got down with the sounds coming out of the West Coast as well as ATL, but during this time you had to take sides due to the East Coast-West Coast beef. I mean when Snoop kicked down the buildings in NYC………it took a piece of our souls (especially if you were from the East Coast).
So again the time, the place and personal factors all play into a person’s decision on who’s is his or her top 50. If you are from the West Coast and in the past few years followed Hip Hop, you might have Kendrick Lamar on your list while a person living at the same time from NYC might have Papoose on their list. A kid from ATL today might have the one of the Migo’s on his list while a kid from Detroit might have Royce D 5’9 on his. If you are a person involved in that street life you might rock with that so-called crack music and rock with Pusha-T. If you were a college student in the late ’90s then Kanye West rhymes and flow might resonate with you. To put it simply the diversity of Hip Hop makes it impossible to put together lists like this and come to a complete consensus because Hip Hop has touched us different in many ways.
Men lie women lie, numbers don’t……..
Now…to touch on the mathematics of this we can put together a list. Based on what you say!? Here is a list of the top-selling Hip Hop albums of all time. This does not in any way say that these are the top 10 artists that should be on the list of discussions like this, but it shows you that being a good MC is great, holds a lot of street cred, but if you are in the game then moving units is the ultimate goal.
A lot of Hip Hop artists sacrifice higher education, relationships, family and life to be in this field, but at the same time, you better know the end game……which is longevity and moving units!!!!
These are the top-selling Hip Hop albums in the US since SoundScan started accurately tracking sales in 1991. (This list is compiled by Liveabout.com and last updated May 24th, 2019.)
1. OutKast – Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2003) 11.4 million
2. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) 10.6 million
3. Eminem – The Eminem Show (2002) 10.3 million
4. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death (1997) 10.2 million
5. MC Hammer – Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990) 10 million
6. 2Pac – Greatest Hits (1998) 10 million
7. 2Pac – All Eyez on Me (1996) 9 million
8. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986) 9 million
9. Nelly – Country Grammar (2000) 8.6 million
10. 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003) 8.3 million