Billboard Boxscore has been tracking touring data and ranking the top live acts around the world across various musical genres since the mid-1980s. We’ve already run down the biggest live artists in country and Latin music, and now it’s time to present the 20 highest grossing rappers in the Boxscore archives.
Hip-hop was still in its adolescence when Boxscore charts started in the mid-’80s. But in the nearly 40 years since, rap has exploded, becoming a (or the) dominant force in popular music. What began in a community rec room of a Bronx apartment complex has graduated to theaters, arenas and stadiums.
This list is based on global figures reported to Billboard Boxscore as of Nov. 2. Final numbers are based on headline engagements only – no festivals – plus 50% of any co-headline grosses.
That last part is important. As in the studio, collaboration has been key on the road for the rappers on our list and beyond. From Jay-Z and Kanye West to Eminem and 50 Cent, hip-hop acts have co-headlined in various arrangements over the last few decades, using one another’s shared star power to sell out venues worldwide.
A note about eligibility for this list: We’re including rap artists who have charted on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. That means that artists who rap instead of sing, but don’t fall within the genre of hip-hop, are excluded. For acts that have straddled the line, we’ve made splits — tours supporting pop or alternative albums for Post Malone or Machine Gun Kelly don’t count toward their totals.
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