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Lists

In Numbers: How many albums has Nas sold?

Even if you don’t know Nas by name, you know him. ‘If I Ruled the World’, ‘N.Y. State of Mind’, ‘Nas is Like’, and ‘Death Row East’ might ring a bell even if the name doesn’t. But let’s be real—Nas is a rap legend. Considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, he’s had plenty of career success both in numbers and notoriety.

His career has been going strong since he put out his first studio album in 1994, and even before that with mixtapes going back to 1991. His most recent album was released in 2021, totalling his solo studio albums at 14. Additionally, he also participated in a few collaborative albums, making his discography even more impressive. 

If you’re curious about the facts and figures of Nas’ career, there are a few things that might surprise you, but also a few details that will likely fall in line with his public perception. From his very best to his more deep cut efforts, Nas has so much to offer for both newcomers and longtime fans.

Nas’ career in numbers:

Nas’ best-selling album

This one might actually be considered a little unexpected. The album that is most often regarded as his most influential album is by far his debut, 1994’s Illmatic. It’s the album that hosts ‘The World Is Yours’ and ‘N.Y. State of Mind’, so it seems like it would be a no-brainer.

However, even with this record going double platinum and being considered one of the most influential rap albums of all time, it was actually beat out in terms of sales by his sophomore album, It Was Written, which went triple platinum and sold a whopping 2,595,000 in the United States. A few of his other albums got close to these numbers in subsequent years, but none of them managed to top it. 

This also means that a few of his other albums beat his debut in terms of sales. This simply goes to show that influence isn’t everything, and that building a career can sometimes elevate your sales even after a great breakthrough. 

Nas’ worst-selling album

When it comes to his least popular albums in terms of sales, it gets down to the wire between some of his more recent efforts and his compilation albums and splits with other artists. It’s simply difficult to replicate the early successes that are heralded as classics across the industry. He’s more low-key now, and that has its own merit.

If we’re getting as technical as possible, his lowest-performing album is his most recent, Magic, which sold 22,000 album-equivalent units. However, with this album coming out just recently in late 2021, it’s also had the least amount of time to perform in the market, so it would make sense that it hasn’t sold as well as some of his other albums that have been around for years.

Perhaps with time, Magic will catch up with some of his other efforts, like King’s Disease II, which out-performed many of his albums from the previous decade of his career leading up to its release.

Nas’ total album sales

This begs the question: how many albums has Nas actually sold in total? We know that he’s had multiple albums go platinum, including some surprise successes from the middle of his career, well after his iconic debut. 

In total, Nas has sold over 15 million records in the United States alone—an incredible feat, especially for someone who is still continuing to make music. On a global stage, his accomplishments become even more impressive, as Nas has sold over 25 million records worldwide, with eight albums in a row going certified platinum.

It’s clear that Nas is one of the most important figures in rap, both based on his popularity, his influence, and the sheer numbers of his career. And the greatest thing is, he’s far from finished.