For an artist's album to be successful, they must use both their money-making and promotional tactics in equal measure. The streaming era has also helped artists find alternate means to promote and market projects, giving them more avenues to profit off of their music. But what happens when prices get a little out of control?
If you want any of the LP's on this list, you're going to have to make like Jerry Maguire and show me the money. These are the most expensive rap albums ever made.
Nipsey Hussle - Crenshaw (2013) & Mailbox Money (2014)
In 2013, Nipsey Hussle pressed 1,000 physical copies of Crenshaw and sold them for $100 each. “It’s the price of revolution," he explained. They soon sold out, thanks in part to Jay Z, who bought 100 copies. The successful campaign left Nipsey with a cool 100 grand in his pocket.
The next year he priced Mailbox Money at $1,000; he sold 60 copies in 25 days.
YG - Red Friday (2016)
YG pressed 1,400 physical copies of Red Friday and sold them for $100 each. Inspired directly by Nipsey Hussle, he dubbed Red Friday ****THE WORLDS 2ND $100 CD****
Rammellzee & K-Rob - Beat Bop (1983)
Rammellzee & K-Rob pressed 500 vinyl copies of their 1983 art rap project Beat Bop, which some have dubbed the first alternativ hip hop album ever.
These days, the vinyl goes for upwards of $1,000 Why? The cover art was drawn by Jean-Michel Basquiat. According to K-Rob, Basquiat made the beat for the 10-minute track himself.
Starlito - Mental WARfare (2012) & Manifest Destiny (2017)
Starlito priced his 2012 project Mental WARfare at $100 and funded two scholarships with the proceeds.
He upped the ante in 2017 by pricing Manifest Destiny at $999.99. The album sold exactly one copy at that price point, and he subsequently lowered the price to $100.
Wu-Tang Clan - Once Upon A Time In Shaolin (2015)
Wu-Tang made only one copy of their 2015 double album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin and sold it to the highest bidder. Who submitted the winning $2 million bid? Villainous pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli.
Once Upon A Time In Shaolin is the most expensive rap album ever... and almost no one has heard it.