Drake’s enduring commercial success in hip-hop stands unparalleled, marking a feat unparalleled in the four-plus decades of the genre’s existence. In 2023, he was officially crowned the most streamed artist of the year, solidifying his dominance. The release of “For All The Dogs” further heightened his acclaim, achieving a remarkable 411,000 sales within its inaugural week and promptly securing the coveted #1 spot on the Billboard 200 Chart.
While other artists have experienced notable peaks (DMX, 50 Cent) or sustained success over more extended periods (Jay-Z, Eminem), Drake’s remarkable consistency in chart dominance remains unparalleled. Often regarded as the preeminent rapper of the 2010s, he indisputably holds the title of the best-selling rapper of his generation.
Remarkably, despite being in the game for a comparatively shorter period, Drake stands just behind Jay-Z and Eminem for the most number ones on the Billboard 200. Now, let’s delve into the journey, from his impactful 2009 debut “So Far Gone” to the pivotal “Take Care” and culminating in his most recent 2022 release, “Her Loss” with 21 Savage. The following rankings encapsulate the first-week album sales that have contributed to Drake’s unparalleled success.
8. ‘So Far Gone’ – 73,000 Units Sold
While it’s somewhat unjust to include this project in the ranking, it’s essential to acknowledge the impact of So Far Gone. As a debut EP, it resonated with a potential fanbase, featuring five tracks and collaborations with Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, and Bun B. So Far Gone marked Drake’s introduction to the rap game, altering it permanently and establishing him as one of the most reliable artists.
7. ‘Thank Me Later’ – 447,000 Units Sold
Amid intense label bidding wars, Drake burst onto the music scene with his explosive debut studio album, Thank Me Later. Drawing influences from Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak, the album, produced by heavyweights like 40, Boi-1da, Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, and Kanye himself, encapsulates Drake’s entry into fame and the complexities of his new life.
6. ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ – 535,000 Units Sold
Another commercially successful EP, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, sold 535,000 album-equivalent units in its first week. A rarity for a hip-hop EP, it earned a place on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.
5. ‘Certified Lover Boy’ – 613,000 Units Sold
Released in 2021, Certified Lover Boy showcases Drake’s embrace of his “lady killer” persona. Rich with features from Jay-Z, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Wayne, 21 Savage, Young Thug, Future, Travis Scott, and more, the album explores themes of loyalty, lust, and complicated romances. Despite polarizing reviews, it achieved significant sales.
4. ‘Take Care’ – 631,000 Units Sold
Following his explosive debut, Drake returned with a new aesthetic in Take Care (2011). The album, featuring singles like “Marvins Room,” “Headlines,” and “Crew Love,” introduced a darker sonic dimension. It secured Drake’s first Grammy Awards win for Best Rap Album, solidifying his position in the industry.
3. ‘Nothing Was The Same’ – 658,000 Units Sold
In 2013, Drake delivered Nothing Was the Same, a deeply personal reflection on his childhood experiences. Released in a notable year for rap, the album competed against other significant releases but stood out for its intimate narrative. Despite not winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album, it remains a critical chapter in Drake’s career.
2. ‘Scorpion’ – 732,000 Units Sold
Released in 2018, Scorpion marked Drake’s fifth studio album and a testament to his enduring presence in the rap game. The double album, addressing themes of relationships and fate, received mixed reviews for its length. However, it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart with 732,000 album-equivalent units.
1. ‘Views’ – 852,000 Units Sold
Views (2016) stands as the pinnacle of Drake’s commercial success. Produced in collaboration with his longtime producer 40, the album features prominent artists like Rihanna, Kanye West, Kyla, and Wizkid. Drawing influences from West African and Jamaican music, Views produced hits like “One Dance,” “Hotline Bling,” and “Controlla,” solidifying Drake’s status as a chart-topping artist.