American rapper and entrepreneur Shawn Corey Carter, better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is one of the biggest names in “rap” and the genre of hip-hop. He is not only one of the most successful rappers but also a successful entrepreneur who owns an entertainment company called “Roc Nation”.
His albums have sold over 50 million copies worldwide, and he has received a number of awards. Many of his albums have consistently made it to the charts, including the famous “Billboard 200.” His extensive catalog of music speaks volumes about his hard work and ruthless, aspirational quality.
As an entrepreneur, he owns the 40/40 Club, Def Jam Records, Roc Nation Sports, and Roc-A-Fella, and is a qualified NBA sports agent.
Recently, Jay-Z was ranked as one of the most successful artists of the millennium, joining legendary rappers like 50 Cent, Nelly, and Eminem. Most of his works reflect parts of his troubled, drug-ridden childhood.
Although he comes from very humble beginnings, Jay-Z is now a millionaire artist who captivates his fans with his captivating records.
Apart from his work, he is very reserved about his personal life and has also managed to keep his relationship with singer/actress Beyonce Knowles a secret. He is currently married to her and the couple has a daughter.
Take a look at Jigga’s most successful albums, ranked in order, to celebrate the great rapper’s permanent impact on the music industry. The list includes both solo and collaborative albums from the artist.
10. Kingdom Come
Units sold: 1.50M
Kingdom Come is Jay-Z’s ninth studio album. It was released by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings on November 21, 2006. It was seen as the rapper’s “comeback album,” as The Black Album, released in 2003, had been marketed as his final release. Several producers worked on the album, including Just Blaze, DJ Khalil, Dr. Dre, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, and Kanye West, among others. John Legend, Beyoncé, Usher, Ne-Yo, and others make guest appearances on the album.
“Show Me What You Got,” “Lost One,” “30 Something,” and “Hollywood” were among the singles that accompanied Kingdom Come. Although the album received mixed reviews from critics, it was a commercial success. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, selling 680,000 copies in its first week. Jay-Z was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards.
9. Reasonable Doubt
Units sold: 1.51M
Reasonable Doubt debuted at number 23 on the Billboard 200 list in the United States, where it remained for 18 weeks. Four songs were released to promote the album, including “Ain’t No Nigga” and “Can’t Knock the Hustle.”
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified Reasonable Doubt Platinum, and it has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States as of 2006. It has been ranked on various magazines’ lists of the finest rap albums of all time, and many hip hop aficionados consider it to be Jay-Z’s best work.
Reasonable Doubt was published digitally and on streaming platforms in August 2019 under Roc Nation’s independent label, Equity Distribution.
8. The Blueprint 3
Units sold: 1.9M
The Blueprint 3 was released on Roc Nation on September 8, 2009, with distribution through Asylum Records and Atlantic Records.
“D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” “Run This Town,” “Empire State of Mind,” “On to the Next One,” “Young Forever,” and “A Star Is Born” are among the six singles from The Blueprint 3. With the exception of the last, all of the singles charted. The album was a financial success and earned mostly positive reviews from music reviewers.
It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 list in the United States, selling 476,000 copies in its first week. It was Jay-Z’s number-one album in the United States, breaking the record he shared with Elvis Presley.
The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album, and four of its singles, “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” “Run This Town,” “On to the Next One,” and “Empire State of Mind,” won a total of six Grammys at the 52nd and 53rd Grammy Awards, respectively.
7. Watch The Throne
Units sold: 2M
Watch the Throne is a collaboration studio album by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, known as The Throne collectively. On August 8, 2011, Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc Nation, and Def Jam Recordings released the album. Jay-Z and West had worked together on a number of tracks before to the album’s release, with the latter serving as a producer on the former’s work. They planned to create a five-song EP together at first, but the idea grew into a full-length album.
Many journalists and media, including Rolling Stone and The Washington Post, added Watch the Throne to their year-end best-of lists. The album opened at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States, selling 436,000 copies in its first week, shattering the previous iTunes first-week sales record.
Eleven other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, ranked it in the top ten. In November 2020, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it quintuple platinum in the United States.
6. The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse
Units sold: 2.1M
The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse (stylized as The Blueprint2: The Gift and the Curse) is Jay-Z’s seventh studio album. Roc-A-Fella Records and Island Def Jam Music Group published it on November 12, 2002. The album is a follow-up to his sixth studio album, The Blueprint (2001).
Parts of the album were eventually published as part of his Blueprint 2.1 album (2003). The album debuted at number one, selling 545,000 copies in its first week. The RIAA has given the album a 3x Multi-Platinum certification. Due to the album’s oversupply of songs, Jay-Z ranked it as his second-worst in 2013.
5. The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
Units sold: 2.5M
The Dynasty: Roc-La-Familia is Jay-Z’s fifth studio album, which features notable appearances by Roc-A-Fella Records signees. Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings released it on October 31, 2000. The Neptunes produced the album’s lead song, “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” which became one of Jay-Z’s most popular singles, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
With 557,789 copies sold in its first week, the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. The RIAA has given the album a 2x Multi-Platinum certification. The album garnered generally excellent reviews from critics, and according to Billboard, it was the 20th best-selling R&B/hip-hop album of the 2000–2010 decade.
4. The Blueprint
Units sold: 2.7M
The Blueprint is Jay-Z’s sixth studio album, released through Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings on September 11, 2001. In order to counteract bootlegging, it was released a week early than anticipated. The album’s recording sessions took place in New York City’s Manhattan Center Studios and Baseline Studios in 2001.
The Blueprint, in contrast to Jay-Z’s prior work, incorporates soul-based sampling and production from Kanye West, Just Blaze, and Bink, as well as Timbaland, Trackmasters, and Eminem, who also supplies the album’s solitary guest feature.
Music critics praised Jay-Z’s writing and the production of The Blueprint, which gained universal acclaim. It is widely regarded as one of his best albums, as well as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. Despite the fact that it was released on September 11th, it sold over 427,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number one in the US, where it remained for three weeks. The RIAA later recognized it as 2x Multi-Platinum.
The album was chosen for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2019 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” making it the first entry created in the twenty-first century.
3. Vol. 3: Life And Times Of S. Carter
Units sold: 3M
Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter is the fourth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was released on December 28, 1999, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. According to USA Today critic Steve Jones, the record marked a return to the street-oriented sound of Jay-Z’s 1996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt. Vol. 3… featured production from Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, K-Rob, DJ Clue, Rockwilder, DJ Premier, and Irv Gotti, among others.
The album was well received by critics and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 462,000 copies in its first week. It has since sold over three million copies and been certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
2. The Black Album
Units sold: 3.5M
The Black Album is the eighth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was released on November 14, 2003, through Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings.
Jay-Z’s Black Album sold 463K copies its first week and became his highest-grossing album. The album includes a number of hits, but we focus especially on “99 Problems” and “Dirt off Your Shoulder.”
1. Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life
Units sold: 5.4M
Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life is the third studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was released on September 29, 1998 by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings.
It became his most commercially successful album, selling over 5 million copies in the United States. In the album’s liner notes, Jay-Z expresses his thoughts on several tracks. The lyrics to the racy “Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)” are also included.