The 1990s in Hip-Hop: By The Numbers

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$e, “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down;” The Notorious B.I.G, “Hypnotize;” Puff Daddy, “I’ll Be Missing You;” The Notorious B.I.G., “Mo Money Mo Problems”)
Rap Albums That Hit No. 1 on Billboard 200: 35 (MC Hammer, Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em [1990]; Vanilla Ice, To the Extreme [1990]; N.W.A., Niggaz4Life [1991]; Kriss Kross, Totally Krossed Out [1992]; Ice Cube, The Predator [1992]; Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle [1993]; Beastie Boys, Ill Communication [1994]; 2Pac, Me Against The World [1995]; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, E 1999 Eternal [1995]; Tha Dogg Pound, Dogg Food [1995]; 2Pac, All Eyez On Me [1996]; Fugees, The Score [1996]; Nas, It Was Written [1996]; A Tribe Called Quest, Beats, Rhymes and Life [1996]; 2Pac, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory [1996], Various Artists, Gridlock’d Soundtrack [1997]; The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death [1997]; Puff Daddy and the Family, No Way Out [1997]; Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever [1997]; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, The Art of War [1997]; Master P, Ghetto D [1997]; The Firm, The Firm [1997]; Ma$e, Harlem World [1997]; DMX, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot [1997]; Master P, MP tha Last Don [1998]; Beastie Boys, Hello Nasty [1998]; Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Game Is to Be Sold Not Told [1998]; Jay-Z, Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life [1998]; DMX, Flesh of My Flesh Blood of My Blood [1998]; Silkk Da Shocker, Made Men [1999], Foxy Brown, Chyna Doll [1999]; Nas, I Am [1999]; Ruff Ryders, Ryde or Die Vol. 1 [1999]; Eve, Ruff Ryders First Lady [1999]; The Notorious B.I.G., Born Again [1999])
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)

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  • isc

    My surprise is that Death Certificate by Ice Cube didnt go Platinum, because “No Vaseline” is by far the hardest diss track of all time!


    hold up, MTV SAID Nas “hate me now” featuring Puffy was the most expensive video!

  • @24kLILCOE

    Out of those 35 albums… I got 25. Im a huge fan of 90′s Hip Hop…

  • Tiago_Brazil

    B.I.G and 2 Pac They are the true legend of Rap.

  • http://m HELTAH SIN SAY

    and now we have gay little bow tie black frame glasses with clear lenz pussy lil carnigan sweaters and pussy ass fliped up hats like wiz kalifa weres, im sick of fucken ” Swagg” ass bitches, Camron was the first to bring out ” the swagg” but he did it 5 years ago but these lil new niggas just took it upon they selfs to act like they just created it!! fuck 15 year old rap!!

    • Griploc

      Real Talk. They changed Rap into Crap. Swagger is a word as old as the dictionary itself which is a term for the ego. I believe that this new hip hop shit is gonna crash soon and transcend into hip hop that is about real shit without this ego trap. Nobody can gain anything from fake rhymes and image anywayz, it just steers further away from truth and loss of reality. One

  • yaSire

    Da Brat Went Plat!! the 1st actually!!

  • $yk

    these new cats have their work cut out for them…the numbers don’t even show RIAA certifications.

    this thread is a perfect reason why I started the music site…

    • Nate

      What’s the site?

      Yeah this list is pretty suspect. Wu Tang Forever went diamond too, just so yall know.

  • Ch*l*z

    How the mighty has fallen……………………………………….!!!

    Yeah!!!…my thought indeed what is the name of that site?

  • zayzkidd

    Yeah, rap was the shiit in the 90s. They didn’t even mention albums like Scarface’s ‘The Diary’ and Dr. Dre’s ‘Chronic.’ Man, Suge Knight killed what could have been the modern day MoTown Records with his stupidity.

  • Starr

    I’d vneutre that this article has saved me more time than any other.