Words By Drew Ricketts
The tragedy of award rating systems is that they never quite capture the “best” of the selected group. That’s why so many raise a stink when an album like Kendrick Lamar’s album loses to Macklemore’s album in a year when one has the wider critical praise. Or why independent artists sometimes feel slighted when a major label’s new darling trumps their years-long climb to recognition. This year’s winner of Best Rap Album, Marshall Mathers LP 2 by Eminem, did a familiar victory lap for known artists while Childish Gambino’s heralded sophomore joint remains in the footnotes.
These infographics compile data for all works nominated in the Best Rap Album category from 1996 to present day. With them, we wanted to answer a few questions:
Who won Best Album each year?
What was the sales tally for those winners?
What was the average critical rating of winners?
How often did best selling albums also win a Grammy?
How often did highly-acclaimed albums win a Grammy?
For the purpose of this survey, we used RIAA certifications (for gold and platinum sales) and AllMusic.com’s rating system of 1 to 5 stars for album quality in retrospect.