1999 proved to be another transformative year for hip hop, as the genre continued to evolve and adapt in the wake of the untimely deaths of 2Pac and Biggie. With a power vacuum left by these two legendary figures, the stage was set for a new generation of artists to rise and claim their place in the annals of hip hop history.

In New York, the city’s rap scene experienced a seismic shift as Nas and Jay-Z commenced their storied rivalry, each vying for the title of New York’s undisputed king. Nas, with his introspective lyricism and vivid storytelling, released the highly anticipated I Am… album. Meanwhile, Jay-Z continued his meteoric ascent, following up his groundbreaking 1998 album with Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter. The project further demonstrated Jay-Z’s skillful wordplay and ability to craft memorable hits, cementing his status as a formidable contender for the throne.

Not to be outdone, DMX continued his impressive run, releasing his third studio album, …And Then There Was X. The project featured the smash hit “Party Up (Up in Here),” which quickly became an anthem and further elevated DMX’s status as one of the era’s most influential rappers.

As the East Coast battled for supremacy, a new force emerged on the West Coast – a white rapper from Detroit who would soon take the world by storm. Eminem, under the tutelage of legendary producer Dr. Dre, released his groundbreaking debut album The Slim Shady LP. The controversial, yet undeniably talented wordsmith quickly gained notoriety for his sharp wit, dark humor, and intricate rhyme schemes. Together, Eminem and Dr. Dre would go on to shape the direction of hip hop for years to come.

1999 was a year that saw the rise of new titans, as well as the continued success of established heavyweights. As we reflect on the biggest first week hip hop album sales of 1999, it’s clear that this was a year of great significance in the genre’s evolution. From the battle for the crown in New York to the emergence of a new force in Detroit, the events of 1999 would lay the groundwork for hip hop’s future, setting the stage for a new generation of artists who would continue to push the boundaries of creativity and redefine the genre’s sonic landscape.

10. Made Man by Silkk the Shocker

Released: January 19, 1999

Label: No Limit, Priority, EMI

First week album sales: 240,244

Billboard 200 position: 1

Singles: “Somebody Like Me”, “It Ain’t My Fault Pt. 2”, “Ghetto Rain”

9. Blackout! by Method Man & Redman

Released: September 28, 1999

Label: Def Jam

First week album sales: 254,000

Billboard 200 position: 3

Singles: “Tear It Off”, “Da Rockwilder”, “Y.O.U.”

8. The Slim Shady LP by Eminem

Released: February 23, 1999

Label: Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope, Web Entertainment

First week album sales: 283,000

Billboard 200 position: 2

Singles: “My Name Is”, “Role Model”, “Guilty Conscience”

7. Tha G-Code by Juvenile

Released: December 14, 1999

Label: Cash Money, Universal

First week album sales: 290,000

Billboard 200 position: 10

Singles: “U Understand”, “I Got That Fire”

6. Still I Rise by 2Pac + Outlawz

Released: December 21, 1999

Label: Death Row, Interscope

First week album sales: 408,000

Billboard 200 position: 7

Singles: “Baby Don’t Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II)”

5. Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter by Jay-Z

Released: December 28, 1999

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

First week album sales: 462,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Singles: “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)”, “Things That U Do”, “Anything”, “Big Pimpin’”

4. I Am… by Nas

Released: July 2 1996

Label: Columbia

First week album sales: 268,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

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

3. Born Again by The Notorious B.I.G.

Released: December 7, 1999

Label: Bad Boy Records

First week album sales: 485,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Singles: “Dead Wrong”, “Notorious B.I.G.”

2. 2001 by Dr. Dre

Released: November 16, 1999

Label: Aftermath, Interscope

First week album sales: 516,000

Billboard 200 position: 2

Singles: “Still D.R.E.”, “Forgot About Dre”, “The Next Episode”, “The Watcher”

1. …And Then There Was X by DMX

Released: December 21, 1999

Labels: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

First week album sales: 698,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Singles: “What’s My Name”, “Party Up (Up in Here)”, “What These Bitches Want”

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