First female rapper to reach RIAA Diamond status
Lauryn Hill
first first
United States ()

On 17 February 2021, it was confirmed that Lauryn Hill’s (USA) first and only studio album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998), had been certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), indicating sales of 10 million units across the United States. Rappers The Notorious B.I.G. (Life After Death), Outkast (Speakerboxxx/The Love Below), 2Pac (Greatest Hits and All Eyez on Me), Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill), Eminem (The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show) and Hammer (Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em) have all achieved Diamond status, but Hill is the first female rapper to reach the milestone.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was inspired by Hill’s relationship with Rohan Marley (Bob Marley’s son) and the child they had together following her recording and touring commitments with the Fugees. The album, which includes the hits “Doo Wop (That Thing)”, “Ex-Factor” and “Everything Is Everything”, debuted at No.1 on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 422,624 – at that time a record for a female artist.

The Ruffhouse/Columbia album was certified 2x multi-platinum (2 million sales) on 29 September 1998, just a month after its 25 August release, and 8x multi-platinum (8 million sales) on 17 December 2001. Now, almost 20 years later, it joins an exclusive club of exactly 100 RIAA Diamond-certified albums by the likes of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Garth Brooks. Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) by the Eagles leads the way with certified sales of 38 million units, with the band’s Hotel California (26 million) in third place behind Jackson’s Thriller (33 million).

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has sold an estimated 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of the biggest-selling rap albums in history, together with Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) and The Score (1996) by the Fugees, the hip-hop trio that brought New Jersey’s Hill to the attention of the music world alongside Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel.

In 1999, Hill won five Grammys from 10 nominations (both single-year records for a female artist at the time), including Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Best R&B Album and Best R&B Song (“Doo Wop (That Thing)”).