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The magazine took a look at solo rappers who released albums from 2009 to the present, taking into account album sales, rankings on the R&B/hip-hop and rap charts, YouTube video views, social media, concerts grosses, awards and critics’ opinions.
The staff narrowed the list down to (in alphabetical order) Big Boi, B.o.B, Diddy, Drake, Eminem, Fabolous, Lupe Fiasco, Gucci Mane, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, T.I., Waka Flocka Flame, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa.
“We’re not looking for the all-time greatest, although many of our contenders would vie for that crown,” the magazine’s Chris Molanphy wrote.
They also argued that Minaj was included — despite the fact that the title is “King” of Hip-Hop — because she “has earned the right to compete in this arena.”
Eminem won the crown based on album sales (7.5 million during the time period, far surpassing runner-up Lil Wayne’s 3 million) as well as YouTube views (1.3 billion vs. Lil Wayne’s 671 million) and social media (44 million Facebook likes and 5 million Twitter followers).
Rounding out the top five in the overall rankings were Drake, West and Jay-Z. The complete list is below.
2. Lil Wayne
4. Kanye West
6. Nicki Minaj
7. Rick Ross
9. Gucci Mane
11. Snoop Dogg
15. Wiz Khalifa
17. Waka Flocka Flame
18. Lupe Fiasco
19. Kid Cudi
20. Big Boi
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