The Rap Record Label Abacus

There’s probably some really compelling stories that one could dig into as a backdrop to these visualizations. But I’ll be honest, they took a shit ton of time to produce and I was worried I would half-ass the writing piece so much it would sound like a garbled Trump twitter rant. I am also staunchly opposed to ghostwriters, so that wasn’t an option. Below, you’ll instead find what I like to think of as a mumble rap version of a story: loosely connected incomplete thoughts that let the writer off the hook1. (mouse over figures; they tell the real story).

This visualization shows the RIAA certification for each album of the sixteen rappers listed at left. Albums are placed vertically according to year of release and horizontally according to the record label on the album. Albums with more than one record label have data markers placed at the location corresponding to each label, connected by horizontal lines. The industry is dominated by three major record labels, with several independent labels contributing typically on co-releases. The percentages beneath the major label names at the top indicate market shares as of 2018.

Universal. Theories (unified, string, game). The Roots, illadelph PA. Mac Miller.  Come back Mac.  Weekend feat. Miguel (good sexy time music).  The Weeknd (good sexy time music).  O Canada.  Drake.  Cash Money, Young Money.  Scared money don’t make money.  Meek Mill, Philly Beef.  Kobe beef.  L.A.  Doggystyle, Death Row. Snoop (OG) Kendrick (New G).  Nuthin’ but a G thang.  Goliath, Geffen, GOOD Music. #kanye4prez? Mass Appeal. Banana peel.  Who’s head Huncho?  Cactus Jack. He’ll get ya high tonight.  New York State of Mind, Billy Joel, Turnstiles, (1976) Columbia.  N.Y. State of Mind, Nas, Illmatic (1994) Columbia.  Friends: Chandler, Ross, Monica, Nas, Jay-Z.  Roc-A-Fella.  Girls, Girls, Girls. Lauryn Hill, female GOAT (Sorry Nikki, Sorry Cardi).  What About Poppa? Biggie. Bad Boy. Diamond club, with Eminem (2x) and Outkast.  Andre Benjamin, male GOAT IMHO.  Southern rap.  Lil’ Wayne. J Cole (feat. himself). Dreamville. Middle child.  Middle Earth.  Ties it back to the cosmos.  Seems good. Q.E.D.

Histograms of album certifications by each artist. Only three of our sixteen rappers have reached Diamond status (>10 million units sold): The Notorious B.I.G., Outkast and Eminem (twice).

  1. Migos let me know if you need some lyrics

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