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The highly-sought after Billboard number one album is a funny thing in hip hop. Some rappers come out hot straight through the gate, while others take their time building up to the top spot.

There’s artists like Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent who leveraged enormous street buzz and radio hype into record-breaking first week debuts. Then there are artists like Jay-Z, 2Pac and UGK who spent years grinding away before they finally hit the top of the charts.

From Ice Cube to The Notorious B.I.G., Nas to Tyler, the Creator, we take a look at 50 rappers and their first ever number one album, in chronological order.

Ice Cube

Album: The Predator

Released: November 17, 1992

Label: Lench Mob, Priority

Singles: “Wicked”, “It Was a Good Day”, “Check Yo Self”

First week album sales: 193,000

Cypress Hill

Album: Black Sunday

Released: July 20, 1993 

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Singles: “Insane in the Brain”, “When the Shit Goes Down”, “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That”, “Lick a Shot”

First week album sales: 261,000

Snoop Dogg

Album: Doggystyle

Released: November 23, 1993

Label: Death Row, Interscope

Singles: “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”, “Gin & Juice”, “Doggy Dogg World”

First week album sales: 806,858


Album: Me Against The World 

Released: March 14, 1995

Label: Interscope, Jive

Singles: “Dear Mama”, “So Many Tears”, “Temptations”

First week album sales: 210,500

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Album: E. Eternal 1999

Released: July 25, 1995

Label: Ruthless, Relativity

Singles: “1st of tha Month”,”East 1999″, “Tha Crossroads”

First week album sales: 307,000


Album: It Was Written

Released: July 2, 1996

Label: Columbia

Singles: “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)”, “Street Dreams”, “The Message”

First week album sales: 270,000

A Tribe Called Quest

Album: Beats, Rhymes & Life

Released: July 30, 1996

Label: Jive

Singles: “1nce Again”, “Stressed Out”

First week album sales: 135,000


Album: The Untouchable

Released: March 11, 1997

Label: Rap-A-Lot, Noo Trybe

Singles: “Smile”, “Mary Jane”, “Game Over”

First week album sales: N/A

The Notorious B.I.G.

Album: Life After Death

Released: March 25, 1997

Label: Bad Boy, Arista

Singles: “Hypnotize”, “Mo Money Mo Problems”, “Sky’s the Limit”

First week album sales: 690,000

Wu-Tang Clan

Album: Wu-Tang Forever

Released: June 3, 1997

Label: Loud, RCA

Singles: “Triumph”, “It’s Yourz”, “Reunited”

First week album sales: 612,000

Master P

Album: Ghetto D

Released: September 2, 1997

Label: No Limit, Priority

Singles: “I Miss My Homies”, “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!”

First week album sales: 260,000


Album: It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

Released: May 19, 1998

Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

Singles: “Get at Me Dog”, “Stop Being Greedy”, “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”, “How’s It Goin’ Down”

First week album sales: 251,000


Album: Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life

Released: September 29, 1998

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Singles: “Can I Get A…”, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”, “Money, Cash, Hoes”, “Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)”

First week album sales: 350,000


Album: The Marshall Mathers LP

Released: May 23, 2000

Label: Aftermath, Interscope

Singles: “The Real Slim Shady”, “The Way I Am”, “Stan”, “I’m Back”, “Bitch Please II”

First week album sales: 1,760,000


Album: Country Grammar

Released: June 27, 2000

Label: Universal, Fo’ Reel

Singles: “Country Grammar (Hot Shit)”, “E.I.”, “Ride wit Me”, “Batter Up”

First week album sales: 235,000

LL Cool J

Album: G.O.A.T.

Released: September 12, 2000

Label: Def Jam, Universal

Singles: “Imagine That”, “You and Me”

First week album sales: 208,000

Ja Rule

Album: Rule 3:36

Released: October 10, 2000

Label: Murder Inc., Def Jam

Singles: “Between Me and You”, “Put It on Me”, “6 Feet Underground”, “I Cry”

First week album sales: 276,000

50 Cent

Album: Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ 

Released: February 6, 2003

Label: Aftermath, Shady, Interscope

Singles: “In da Club”, “21 Questions”, “Many Men (Wish Death)”, “P.I.M.P.”, “If I Can’t”

First week album sales: 872,000


Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Released: September 23, 2003

Label: Arista

Singles: “Hey Ya!”, “The Way You Move”, “Roses”, “Ghetto Musick / Prototype”

First week album sales: 510,000


Album: Chicken-N-Beer

Released: October 7, 2003

Label: Disturbing tha Peace, Def Jam South

Singles: “P-Poppin”, “Stand Up”, “Blow It Out”, “Splash Waterfalls”, “Diamond in the Back”

First week album sales: 429,000


Album: Kiss of Death

Released: June 22, 2004

Label: Ruff Ryders, Interscope

Singles: “Time’s Up”, “Why?”, “U Make Me Wanna”

First week album sales: 246,000

Lloyd Banks

Album: The Hunger for More

Released: June 29, 2004

Label: G-Unit, Interscope

Singles: “On Fire”, “I’m So Fly”, “Karma”

First week album sales: 433,000

The Game

Album: The Documentary

Released: January 18, 2005

Label: Aftermath, G-Unit, Black Wall Street, Interscope

Singles: “Westside Story”, “How We Do”, “Hate It or Love It”, “Higher”, “Dreams”, “Put You on the Game”

First week album sales: 586,000

Kanye West

Album: Late Registration

Released: August 30, 2005

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella

Singles: “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”, “Gold Digger”, “Heard ‘Em Say”, “Touch the Sky”, “Drive Slow”

First week album sales: 860,000


Album: King

Released: March 28, 2006

Label: Grand Hustle, Atlantic

Singles: “What You Know”, “Why You Wanna”, “Live in the Sky”, “Top Back (Remix)”

First week album sales: 522,000

Busta Rhymes

Album: The Big Bang

Released: June 13, 2006

Label: Aftermath, Flipmode, Interscope

Singles: “Touch It”, “I Love My Bitch”, “New York Shit”, “In the Ghetto”

First week album sales: 209,000

Rick Ross

Album: Port of Miami 

Released: August 8, 2006

Label: Slip-n-Slide, Def Jam, Poe Boy

Singles: “Hustlin’”, “Push It”

First week album sales: 187,000

Young Jeezy

Album: Thug Motivation 102: The Inspiration

Released: December 12, 2006

Label: CTE, Def Jam

Singles: “I Luv It”, “Go Getta”, “Dreamin’”

First week album sales: 352,000


Album: Finding Forever

Released: July 31, 2007

Label: GOOD, Geffen

Singles: “The Game”, “The People”, “Drivin’ Me Wild”, “I Want You”

First week album sales: 155,000


Album: Underground Kingz

Released: August 7, 2007

Label: Jive

Singles: “The Game Belongs to Me”, “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)”

First week album sales: 156,000

Lil Wayne

Album: Tha Carter III

Released: June 10, 2008

Label: Cash Money, Universal Motown, Young Money

Singles: “Lollipop”, “A Milli”, “Got Money”, “Mr. Carter”, “Mrs. Officer”

First week album sales: 1,086,000


Album: Loso’s Way

Released: July 28, 2009

Label: Desert Storm, Street Family, Def Jam

Singles: “Throw It in the Bag”, “My Time”, “Everything, Everyday, Everywhere”, “Money Goes, Honey Stay (When the Money Goes Remix)”

First week album sales: 99,000


Album: Thank Me Later

Released: June 15, 2010

Label: Young Money, Cash Money, Universal Motown

Singles: “Over”, “Find Your Love”, “Miss Me”, “Fancy”

First week album sales: 447,000

Nicki Minaj

Album: Pink Friday 

Released: November 22, 2010

Label: Young Money, Cash Money, Universal Motown

Singles: “Your Love”, “Check It Out”, “Right Thru Me”, “Moment 4 Life”, “Super Bass”, “Did It On’em”, “Girls Fall Like Dominoes”, “Fly”

First week album sales: 375,000

Lupe Fiasco

Album: Lasers

Released: March 7, 2011

Label: 1st & 15th, Atlantic

Singles: “The Show Goes On”, “Words I Never Said”, “Out of My Head”, “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now”

First week album sales: 204,000

J. Cole

Album: Cole World: The Sideline Story

Released: September 27, 2011

Label: Roc Nation, Columbia, Sony

Singles: “Work Out”, “Can’t Get Enough”, “Mr. Nice Watch”, “Nobody’s Perfect”

First week album sales: 217,000

Mac Miller

Album: Blue Slide Park

Released: November 8, 2011

Label: Rostrum

Singles: “Frick Park Market”, “Party on Fifth Ave.”, “Up All Night”

First week album sales: 144,000

2 Chainz

Album: Based On A T.R.U. Story

Released: August 14, 2012

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “No Lie”, “Birthday Song”, “I’m Different”

First week album sales: 147,000

A$AP Rocky


Released: January 15, 2013

Label: ASAP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA

Singles: “Goldie”, “Fuckin’ Problems”, “Wild for the Night”, “Fashion Killa”

First week album sales: 139,000


Album: The Gifted

Released: June 25, 2013

Label: Maybach Music, Allido, Atlantic

Singles: “Bad”, “LoveHate Thing”, “Bad (Remix)”, “Clappers”

First week album sales: 158,000

ScHoolboy Q

Album: Oxymoron

Released: February 25, 2014

Label: TDE, Interscope

Singles: “Collard Greens”, “Man of the Year”, “Studio”, “Hell of a Night”

First week album sales: 139,000

Big Sean

Album: Dark Sky Paradise

Released: February 24, 2015

Label: GOOD, Def Jam

Singles: “I Don’t Fuck with You”, “Paradise”, “Blessings”, “One Man Can Change the World”, “Play No Games”

First week album sales: 173,000

Kendrick Lamar

Album: To Pimp A Butterfly

Released: March 15, 2015

Label: TDE, Aftermath, Interscope

Singles: “i”, “The Blacker the Berry”, “King Kunta”, “Alright”, “These Walls”

First week album sales: 363,000

Meek Mill

Album: Dreams Worth More Than Money

Released: June 29, 2015

Label: Maybach, Atlantic

Singles: “Check”, “All Eyes on You”, “R.I.C.O.”

First week album sales: 245,000


Album: DS2

Released: July 17, 2015

Label: A1, Freebandz, Epic

Singles: “Fuck Up Some Commas”, “Where Ya At”, “Stick Talk”

First week album sales: 151,000

Travis Scott

Album: Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight

Released: September 2, 2016

Label: Grand Hustle, Epic

Singles: “Wonderful”, “Pick Up the Phone”, “Goosebumps”

First week album sales: 88,000


Album: Culture

Released: January 27, 2017

Label: Quality Control, YRN, 300

Singles: “Bad and Boujee”, “T-Shirt”, “Slippery”

First week album sales: 131,000

21 Savage

Album: I Am > I Was

Released: December 21, 2018

Label: Slaughter Gang, Epic

Singles: “A Lot”, “Monster”

First week album sales: 131,000

Tyler, the Creator

Album: IGOR

Released: May 17, 2019

Label: Columbia

Singles: “Earfquake”

First week album sales: 165,000

Young Thug

Album: So Much Fun

Released: August 16, 2019

Label: YSL, 300, Atlantic

Singles: “The London”, “Hot”

First week album sales: 131,000

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