Nicki Minaj Fourth Highest Certified Female by RIAA

Nicki Minaj for PAPER Magazine (2017) | Photo by Ellen von Unwerth

Following her latest certification for “MotorSport”, Nicki Minaj has joined exclusive company in the RIAA history books.

With 90 million units across albums, singles and features, Minaj is now ranked joint fourth place among female artists with the highest RIAA certifications. Former collaborator Mariah Carey also has 90 million officially certified units. The pair trail Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, all of whom have at least 100 million units.

Here’s an updated look at the top 5 women as certified by the RIAA:
1. Rihanna 195.5 million units (22.5 million of which are albums)
2. Taylor Swift 169.5 million units (43 million of which are albums)
3. Katy Perry 107 million units (6 million of which are albums)
4. Nicki Minaj 90 million units* (7.5 million of which are albums)
4. Mariah Carey 90 million units (66 million of which are albums)

The top 10 is completed by Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga and Adele.


Nicki Minaj’s total includes her work with Young Money (0.5 million albums and 3 million singles). The total also includes certifications for Nicki’s remixes of “Down in the DM” (award presented to Yo Gotti and Nicki Minaj) and “Dance (A$$)” (RIAA website specifies the remix).

Despite receiving credit on Billboard for both “Plain Jane” and “The Way Life Goes”, it’s unclear which versions the RIAA considers primary. For this reason, they have been excluded. Including those tracks, Minaj’s total units would rise to 93 million.

All other remixes were either considered promotional singles (“Hello Good Morning”, “All I Do Is Win”, etc.) and didn’t receive credit on Billboard or remain uncertified (“Till the World Ends”).

Both Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, along with many other artists referred to above, have under-certified catalogues. In addition, RIAA certifications are not entirely appropriate in expressing overall career sales.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s