On this day in 1987, Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill became the first hip hop album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. This is a huge deal. When the album was released in November 1986, hip hop was still a niche genre that many dismissed and ignored. Once Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons were able to market three white guys to suburban kids, the album blew up (eventually selling more than 9 million copies) and, consequently, so did hip hop.
Since then, 117 hip hop albums have reached No. 1. To celebrate, we've got one song from every album on our #1 Rap Albums Playlist on our Spotify app. But since we're huge nerds, we broke down some of the essential facts and figures from the list.
First five albums to reach No. 1: Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill (1987), Tone Loc - Loc-ed After Dark (1989), MC Hammer - Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em (1990), Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme (1990), N.W.A. - Efil4zaggin (1991)
Last album to reach No. 1: A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP (2013)
Most No. 1 albums: Jay-Z – 11
First rapper to score two No. 1s: 2pac – Me Against the World (1995), All Eyez on Me (1996)
First female rapper to reach No. 1: Foxy Brown: The Firm - The Album (1997); Chyna Doll (1999)
Last female rapper to reach No. 1: Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded(2012)
Total female rappers on list: 4 (Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, Eve, Nicki Minaj)
Biggest-selling No. 1: OutKast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (11 million)
Best Album Title: Lil Wayne - I Am Not a Human Being
Worst Album Title: The Firm - The Album
Number of Albums with Death/Dying in Title: 5 (50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin', Nas - Hip Hop is Dead, Jadakiss - Kiss of Death, Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death, Ruff Ryders - Ryde or Die Vol. 1)
For the full list and to check out songs from every #1, check out our Spotify playlist.