Commercial success in rap music is a tricky subject. While high sales and chart placements stand as landmark wins for artists, a lot of times, numbers are used to discredit the value of something. A lot of folks are conditioned to think that a project is only successful if it lands a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart or if it sells six figures in the first week. When in reality, some of the best projects are those that have the least amount of accolades and are far from “flops.” In 2022, there have been several releases that fall in line with that thought.
Take for example Vince Staples’ last couple of efforts. Flourishing with the use of uncustomary sonics and a purified version of his storytelling, last year’s self-titled album set the pace for 2022’s Ramona Park Broke My Heart, released in mid-April. The project didn’t have a blockbuster-level release, peaking at No. 21 on the Billboard 200. But quality wasn’t the reason for that. Blxst’s Before You Go exists in the same pocket. When it comes to one of the game’s premier melodists, bops are expected and they were surely present throughout. The project, which came out in late April, was the definition of no skips, but it only peaked at No. 90 on the Billboard 200.
On a similar note of great vibes, EarthGang’s February drop Ghetto Gods has plenty for the highs and the lows. The highly anticipated project got praise from many, but despite the outpour of love, it only peaked on Billboard’s main album chart at No. 114. Another effort that rap fans were eagerly waiting on was Benny The Butcher’s Tana Talk 4, released in March. He delivered, per usual. And the product climbed to No. 22 on the Billboard 200. Some would argue that it flopped, but that was actually Benny’s highest-peaking project to date. So again, numbers inform the story, but don’t tell all of it.
Out of everything that dropped over the first half of the year, there are more instances that prove the fact that album numbers do not equal album quality. Find more below, but first, check out this disclaimer: eligible projects for this list could not have peaked higher than No. 20 on the Billboard 200 to be considered.