Lil Wayne
Getty Images / Kevin Winter

French Montana recently claimed he’s a bigger hitmaker than Kendrick Lamar. While this was first waved off as a ridiculous claim by fans, it quickly spurred a discussion within the Highsnobiety office: Which rapper actually has the most hits?

Turns out, Kendrick definitely inches out French Montana when it comes to commercial (and cultural) accolades, with two songs to make it to No. 1 – compared to French’s zero – and 48 total chart entries, not to mention his Pulitzer Prize. But if we’re speaking of chart-topping songs, there are remarkably few in hip-hop.

Until recently, hip-hop had largely evaded commercial laurels. Before people thought the culture was “cool” and teens started learning rap lyrics for TikTok clout, rappers were often maligned as gangsters and thugs, which perhaps explains why Camila Cabello can have more number one hits than Tupac. Things have obviously turned for the better, hip-hop is finally getting its due, growing from an anthem for the marginalized black experience into a worldwide phenomenon.

With this in mind, we decided to take a deep dive into the rappers who have really broken ground and staked a claim for the genre at the top of the charts, with this list of rappers with the most number-one songs, according to Billboard.

Here are the rappers with the most no.1 songs

Ludacris – 4 number-one singles

Ludacris Visits MTV's "TRL"
Getty Images / Carley Margolis

With four number-one songs to his name, Ludacris actually shares the spot with T-Pain, Post Malone, and Public Enemy. However, the “Move Bitch” rapper’s catalog has topped the charts more than any of the aforementioned acts, with 56 total Hot 100 songs. Luda’s incredible wordplay, rapid-fire flow, and memorable bangers made him one of the most successful MCs of the 2000s.

Nicki Minaj – 5 number-one singles

Nicki Minaj attends the Marc Jacobs Fall 2020 runway show
Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris

Since signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money in the early 2000s, Nicki Minaj has ceaselessly proven she’s the reigning queen of hip-hop. Shifting between razor-sharp rhymes and chart-topping hits, she’s delivered 108 Hot 100 songs in total.

Nelly – 6 number-one singles

Nelly performs at Bud Light House of Whatever,
Getty Images / Cindy Ord

Nelly owned the 2000s with a string of hits that included four No.1 singles, such as the still-beloved anthems “Dilemma” and “Hot in Herre.”

Ice Cube – 6 number-one singles

ice cube backstage
Getty Images / Nicholas Hunt

Ice Cube is one of hip-hop’s early pioneers, gaining popularity in the ’80s in the iconic rap group N.W.A with Eazy E and Dr. Dre. In the decades since, he’s become a household name thanks to his solo rap career with notable hits such as “Check Yo Self” and “Pushin’ Weight.”

T.I. – 7 number-one singles

T.I. on stage
Getty Images / Rich Fury

His southern swagger and street cred, irresistible hooks, and stellar collaborations make T.I.’s hits instantly recognizable. With anthems like “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna and his solo effort “Whatever You Like,” T.I. has established himself as the true king of the south.

Bow Wow – 7 number-one singles

bow wow twitter meltdown Lil Bow Wow
Instagram / Bow Wow

Formerly known as Lil’ Bow Wow, Bow Wow came on the scene in the early 2000s as the young prodigy of Snoop Dogg, quickly winning over the charts with hits like “Like You” featuring Ciara and “Bow Wow (That’s My Name).”

50 Cent – 7 number-one singles

50 Cent speaks onstage at a Star pannel
Getty Images / Rich Fury

50 Cent has continually transformed chart success into industry clout. Since his uber-classic 2003 debut Get Rich or Die Tryin, Fiddy has got a total of 40 songs on the Hot 100, remaining a constant and immovable force in hip-hop.

Kanye West – 9 number-one singles

Kanye West with his awards at the 2006 Grammys
Getty Images / Kevin Winter

From his beginnings as a producer for artists including JAY-Z and Janet Jackson in the late 1990s, Kanye has always staked a claim to the charts. His solo rap career has only established his commercial and cultural dominance in the hip-hop game.

Lil’ Wayne – 11 number-one singles

: Lil Wayne takes the stage at the Bud Light Party Convention in Houston
Getty Images / Rick Kern

With his acclaimed Dedication mixtapes, his multiplatinum Tha Carter series of albums and countless guest verses, Weezy has cemented his status as one of rap’s elite, influencing virtually every major rapper in his wake.

Drake – 21 number-one singles

Drake performs At The Bing Bar - 2012
Getty Images / Michael Buckner

Since his official debut album Thank Me Later in 2010, Drizzy has become one of the most consistent hitmakers of the 2010s — or ever. In the process, he’s racked up 209 songs on the Hot 100, the most charted songs as a solo artist in Billboard history.

Words by Sarah Osei
Staff Writer