Kanye Album Sales: 10 Best-Selling Albums Ranked

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Kanye West, today known as Ye, is undoubtedly amongst the most successful and influential hip-hop artists of our time. Despite his recent fall from grace, he has accumulated a stunning collection of platinum and gold-certified albums throughout the course of his career.

One of the best-selling rappers all time, Ye has an incredible estimated 31 million total album sales to his name, and an estimated total of 160 million total record sales (including singles and EPs).

Each of Ye’s albums have seen his epic production and lyrical craftsmanship set a new standard for the genre with the resulting sales astronomical. Several of his albums have topped the US chart, breaking numerous worldwide records in the process.

Let’s find out more about Kayne’s album sales to date.

10. Donda (2021)

Worldwide Album Sales: 650,000
US Album Sales: 500,000

Kanye West’s tenth studio album Donda was released with an immense amount of anticipation. The album is named after his late mother and features a star-studded cast of collaborators including the likes of Jay-Z and Kid Cudi.

Donda sold over half-a-million copies in the US and another 80,000 in Canada. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 with lead single ‘Hurricane’ reaching number six in the Billboard Hot 100. The album was praised for its artistic ambition but also criticised for being bloated. It nonetheless still broke several streaming records upon its release.

9. Ye (2018)

Worldwide Album Sales: 1.1 million
US Album Sales: 1 million

Ye is said to be one of Kanye West’s most personal offerings to date. The album is comprised of only seven tracks with a runtime of just twenty-four minutes. Each song delves into different narratives surrounding West’s mental health issues and his other personal struggles.

The album registered over a million sales in the US and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. It sold an additional 100,000 copies in the UK too with lead single ‘Yikes’ climbing to number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ye expresses serious emotion as the artist seems to be grappling with issues of mental illness, addiction and family. It has a somewhat stripped-back production style and intimate lyrical content that opposes much of his earlier, more bombastic approach.

8. Yeezus (2013)

Worldwide Album Sales: 2.1 million
US Album Sales: 2 million

2013’s Yeezus marked an abrupt departure from much of Kanye’s earlier work, its abrasive industrial sound and confrontational lyrics that explored themes of power, race and consumerism. The album sold over two million copies in the US and 100,000 in the UK as it climbed to number one on the Billboard 200. 

Yeezus’ lead single ‘Black Skinhead’ became an instant hit, shifting three million sales and streams combined. Its pulsating beats and controversial words highlighted Kanye’s growing frustration with the state of American society. The album was produced by a team of collaborators including Hudson Mohawke and Daft Punk.

7. The Life Of Pablo (2016)

Worldwide Album Sales: 2.2 million
US Album Sales: 2 million

The Life of Pablo is Kanye West’s seventh studio album featuring collaborations with various artists including the likes of Rihanna, Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean. The album sold more than two million copies in total with the majority of those sales from the US and over 100,000 copies sold in the UK.

The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 with popular single ‘Famous’ reaching number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Life of Pablo was largely produced by Kanye West himself and features a mix of genres including R&B, hip-hop and gospel.

The record was met with mixed reviews, also notable for its unconventional release, Kanye’s last-minute changes to the tracklist and decision to make the album available exclusively on streaming service Tidal for several weeks before other platforms.

6. 808s And Heartbreak (2008)

Worldwide Album Sales: 3.4 million
US Album Sales: 3 million

808s & Heartbreak is famed for its heavy use of auto-tune and personal lyrical content. The album was finished in the wake of West’s personal struggles following the death of his mother and the end of a long-term relationship.

The album is one of only six West albums to sell over three million records with 300,000 copies sold in the UK alone. 808s & Heartbreak hit top spot on the Billboard 200 with the hit single ‘Love Lockdown’ climbing to number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Some critics praised the album’s emotional depth whilst others criticised the move away from West’s traditional sound.

5. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

Worldwide Album Sales: 3.5 million
US Album Sales: 3 million

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has a host of noteworthy collaborations with a wide range of artists such as Jay-Z, Bon Iver and Rihanna. It was produced by West and other elite producers including Mike Dean and No I.D. Selling three million copies in the US, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy also shipped 300,000 in the UK and a further 140,000 in Australia.

Predictably, the record hit number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart and its popular single ‘POWER’ peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album features a mix of genres including pop, hip-hop and soul. It received widespread acclaim with many critics hailing it as a modern masterpiece and as one of the best albums of the decade.

4. The College Dropout (2004)

Worldwide Album Sales: 4.8 million
US Album Sales: 4 million

Debut studio album The College Dropout was an undoubted critical and commercial success, produced in part by West himself, along with a team of collaborators including Jay-Z and Just Blaze. The album was his first to register over four million sales worldwide with 600,000 copies sold in the UK and nearly 200,000 in Canada.

The College Dropout climbed as high as number 2 on the Billboard 200 and the single ‘All Falls Down’ rising to number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. West created a sound that was both “soulful and forward-thinking” with themes revolving around his struggles to make it in the music industry alongside literal experiences as a college dropout. The album remains a defining moment in Kanye’s career.

3. Late Registration (2005)

Worldwide Album Sales: 5.3 million
US Album Sales: 4 million

Late Registration is Kayne West’s second studio album, featuring an impressive array of collaborators from Maroon 5’s Adam Levine to Jamie Foxx and Jay-Z. Worldwide sales surpassed the five million mark with 80% of copies sold in the US along with a combined one million sales in Europe and 600,000 in the UK.

The record naturally topped the Billboard 200 album charts and powerhouse lead single ‘Gold Digger’ reached the summit of the Billboard Hot 100. Late Registration clearly built on the success of West’s debut album The College Dropout, showcasing themes that revolve around his experiences as a young black man in America whilst focusing on racism, poverty and the American Dream.

2. Watch The Throne (2011)

Worldwide Album Sales: 5.5 million
US Album Sales: 5 million

Epic collaborative studio album Watch the Throne was highly anticipated, selling over five million copies in the US with nearly half-a-million sales across the UK and Canada. Peaking at number one on the Billboard 200, single ‘N****s in Paris’ also reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100.

The single showcases a mixture of boastful lyrics and social commentary that displays the chemistry between himself and Jay-Z. Watch the Throne represents a key moment in the careers of both men as they pushed the limits of hip-hop to create a collection of songs that were both ambitious and commercially successful. 

1. Graduation (2007)

Worldwide Album Sales: 6 million
US Album Sales: 5 million

A diverse range of artists including T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Chris Martin of Coldplay were amongst the collaborators on West’s third studio album Graduation. The record sold over five million copies with an additional 600,000 sales in the UK and 200,000 in Canada. The album featured at number one on the Billboard 200 and juggernaut single ‘Stronger’ peaking at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100.

Graduation incorporates pop and electronic innovations which in turn created a celebratory vibe. The album’s themes evolved to include superstardom experiences of materialism, fame and the continued struggles of being a black artist in America. The album received unbelievably positive critical accolades with critics heavily praising its superb production and lyrical stylings.

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