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“Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense, but I did 5 mill’ – I ain’t been rhyming like Common since.” Before Hov was Hov, he was an independent rapper with a distribution deal through Priority Records hustling his first album.

But it didn’t take long for Jay-Z to become the biggest rapper in the world. In fact, it was only two years later, with the release of Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life which boasted smash hits like “Can I Get A…” and “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”

Hov has never been a crazy sales machine like Eminem or 50 Cent; he’s never sold close to a million in his first week or moved diamond units. What he does have over every other rapper in the world is consistency – Hov has the number one rap album of all time, and has the most platinum albums for a rapper of all time.

So let’s get into it, we’re going to look at Jay-Z’s best selling albums of all time.

Note: you can also check out our rankings of Hov’s biggest first week album sales.

Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life

Released: September 29, 1998

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

First week album sales: 352,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 5,400,000

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

The Black Album

Released: November 14, 2003

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, IDJMG

First week album sales: 463,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 3,516,000

Singles: “Change Clothes”, “Dirt off Your Shoulder”, “99 Problems”

Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter

Released: December 28, 1999

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, IDJMG

First week album sales: 462,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 3,093,000

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

The Blueprint

Released: September 11, 2001 

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, IDJMG

First week album sales: 427,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 2,711,000

Singles: “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Jigga That Nigga”, “Song Cry”

The Dynasty: Roc La Familia

Released: October 31, 2000

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, IDJMG

First week album sales: 557,789

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 2,521,000

Singles: “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”, “Change the Game”, “Guilty Until Proven Innocent”

The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse

Released: November 12, 2002

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, IDJMG

First week album sales: 545,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 2,117,000

Singles: “’03 Bonnie & Clyde”, “Hovi Baby”, “Excuse Me Miss”

The Blueprint 3

Released: September 8, 2009

Label: Atlantic, Roc Nation

First week album sales: 476,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 1,933,000

Singles: “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”, “Run This Town”, “Empire State of Mind”, “On to the Next One”, “Young Forever”, “A Star Is Born”

Reasonable Doubt

Released: June 25, 1996

Label: Roc-A-Fella

First week album sales: 43,000

Billboard 200 position: 23

Sales: 1,514,000

Singles: “Dead Presidents”, “Ain’t No Ni**a”, “Can’t Knock the Hustle”, “Feelin’ It”

Kingdom Come

Released: November 21, 2006

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

First week album sales: 680,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 1,510,000

Singles: “Show Me What You Got”, “Lost One”, “30 Something”, “Hollywood”

In My Lifetime, Vol. 1

Released: November 4, 1997

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

First week album sales: 138,000

Billboard 200 position: 3

Sales: 1,412,000

Singles: “(Always Be My) Sunshine”, “The City Is Mine”, “Wishing on a Star”

American Gangster

Released: November 6, 2007 

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, IDJMG

First week album sales: 425,861

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 1,131,000

Singles: “Blue Magic”, “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)…”, “I Know”

Magna Carta… Holy Grail

Released: July 9, 2013 

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Roc Nation, IDJMG

First week album sales: 528,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 1,130,000

Singles: “Holy Grail”, “Tom Ford”, “Part II (On the Run)”

4:44

Released: June 30, 2017

Label: Roc Nation, UMG

First week album sales: 262,000

Billboard 200 position: 1

Sales: 399,000

Singles: “4:44”, “Bam”, “Family Feud”

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