What have been the most commercially successful producer/rapper collaborations of all time? This analysis looks at the album and single sales of each collaboration, as well as their worldwide appeal via how many top 10s they achieved outside of North America. Albums in which a producer contributes 5 or more beats are attributed to the producer/rapper collaboration numbers.
Eminem and Kanye West are two of the top-selling rappers of all time in North America, and they both produce a lot of their own music. Eminem has 166 production credits on his own work, and Kanye has 151. That they are so close is surprising; Eminem as solely a rapper has sold significantly more in North America (and worldwide) than Kanye, but Kanye is undoubtedly the better and more decorated producer.
The mix of albums and singles is interesting too. Eminem has two Diamond albums in The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, records he produced the bulk of the songs for. His greatest hits Curtain Call also went 7x Platinum. His singles numbers include the Diamond selling “Not Afraid” and “Love The Way You Lie,” along with “Lose Yourself” which is certified 5x Platinum.
Eminem’s rap career is responsible for 3 of the top 10 producer/artist collaborations on this list. The Bass Brothers, Mark and Jeff Bass from Detroit, were pivotal in Em’s early career success with The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP. And Dr. Dre’s influence was instrumental in giving Eminem the tools and the confidence to produce his own music.
The Bass Brothers and Eminem enjoyed unbridled success early in Eminem’s career. They helped produce 1997’s The Slim Shady EP, the tape that earned Em his record deal, and they, alongside Dr. Dre, created the sonic landscape that Eminem used to ascend mainstream heights that no rapper before or since has come close to. The Bass Brothers produced 11 of the 14 non-skit tracks on The Slim Shady LP (10 of those alongisde Eminem), and had 5 or more credits on The Marshall Mathers LP, Devils Night (D12) and The Eminem Show. They would produce for Eminem again, but not until 2009’s Relapse with “Beautiful” and “Underground”.
Now let’s take a look at Most Worldwide Top 10s (Albums + Singles)
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it gives a good idea of the worldwide impact of some specific collaborations. Eminem has sold hundreds of millions of singles and albums worldwide, so it’s unsurprising he would top the list, and bring The Bass Brothers and Dr. Dre along as well. The Black Eyed Peas, since their Fergie-led reboot in 2003, exploded in popularity on the world stage, selling more than 8 million copies of Elephunk, Monkey Business and The E.N.D.
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