Many call the 1990s hip-hop’s Golden Age. And why not? Just take a look at our recent special issue counting down the 250 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs 1990-1999 if you need proof. Many of rap’s most revered and popular artists reigned during the seminal decade. Some are still around, some have passed or aren’t quite experiencing the same levels of success. It’s hard to fully capture the aura of that 10-year span, but during this week and through our special issue, we’ll be attempting to do just that. Below, we’ve listed some of the most important moments of the decade as expressed in numbers. There were some hits, some expensive videos, and a whole lot more. The 1990s in Hip-Hop: By The Numbers.
Highest Selling Album: The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death (more than 10 million sold)
Most Plaques: 9 (2Pac: 7 Platinum, 2 Gold)
Rap Songs That Hit No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100: 13
Year with Most Rap No. 1s: 1997 (Puff Daddy feat. Ma$e, “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down;” The Notorious B.I.G, “Hypnotize;” Puff Daddy, “I’ll Be Missing You;” The Notorious B.I.G., “Mo Money Mo Problems”)
Rap Albums That Hit No. 1 on Billboard 200: 35 (MC Hammer, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em ; Vanilla Ice, To the Extreme ; N.W.A., Niggaz4Life ; Kriss Kross, Totally Krossed Out ; Ice Cube, The Predator ; Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle ; Beastie Boys, Ill Communication ; 2Pac, Me Against The World ; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, E 1999 Eternal ; Tha Dogg Pound, Dogg Food ; 2Pac, All Eyez On Me ; Fugees, The Score ; Nas, It Was Written ; A Tribe Called Quest, Beats, Rhymes and Life ; 2Pac, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory , Various Artists, Gridlock’d Soundtrack ; The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death ; Puff Daddy and the Family, No Way Out ; Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever ; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, The Art of War ; Master P, Ghetto D ; The Firm, The Firm ; Ma$e, Harlem World ; DMX, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot ; Master P, MP tha Last Don ; Beastie Boys, Hello Nasty ; Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Game Is to Be Sold Not Told ; Jay-Z, Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life ; DMX, Flesh of My Flesh Blood of My Blood ; Silkk Da Shocker, Made Men , Foxy Brown, Chyna Doll ; Nas, I Am ; Ruff Ryders, Ryde or Die Vol. 1 ; Eve, Ruff Ryders First Lady ; The Notorious B.I.G., Born Again )
Most No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 Songs: 2, The Notorious B.I.G.
Most No. 1 Billboard 200 Albums: 3, 2Pac
Most Albums Released By One Artist: 9 (2Pac: 3 posthumous, including one with the Outlawz)
Diamond Albums: 3 (The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death, MC Hammer, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em, Vanilla Ice, To The Extreme)
Most Grammys: 7 (Lauryn Hill, both as a solo artist and with The Fugees)
Most Non-Rap Category Grammys: 6 (Lauryn Hill)
Most Expensive Video: $2.7 million (Puff Daddy featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, “Victory”)
Female Rap Acts Going Platinum: 7 (Da Brat, Lil Kim; Lauryn Hill; Salt-n-Pepa; Foxy Brown; Missy Elliott; Eve)