The BIG 3: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole – A Statistical Comparison

Posted By Kaptain Kush April 6, 2024

In the global hip-hop scene, a few heavyweights stand out from the crowd—DrakeKendrick Lamar, and J. Cole, also known as the “BIG 3.” These guys aren’t just musicians; they’re cultural icons who’ve made a lasting impact on the genre.

Let’s dive into their career stats and achievements to see how they stack up against each other.

Who Is Drake?

First up, we’ve got Drake, the Canadian sensation whose music is everywhere you turn. With a mind-blowing 97 billion streams on Spotify, Drake‘s music has reached every corner of the globe. He’s racked up an impressive 55 Grammy nominations and taken home five wins, proving he’s not just a hitmaker but also a critical darling. 

Drake‘s albums consistently hit the charts and rack up billions of streams, with each one averaging around 5.0 billion streams per album. And let’s not forget his impressive collection of platinum-certified tracks – a whopping 80! Regarding album sales, Drake‘s no slouch either, with his records consistently pulling in massive numbers, including a record-breaking first-week sales figure of 1.04 million. 

Drake‘s Spotify monthly listeners sit at a staggering 82.7 million, cementing his status as a global superstar.

Who is Kendrick Lamar?

Next, we’ve got Kendrick Lamar, the West Coast wordsmith known for his thought-provoking lyrics and innovative style. While his total Spotify streams of 35 billion may be slightly lower than Drake‘s, Kendrick‘s impact on the genre is undeniable. 

With an impressive 50 Grammy nominations and 17 wins, Kendrick is regarded as one of the greatest of his generation. His albums consistently pull in billions of streams, with each one averaging around 3.8 billion streams per album. Kendrick‘s socially conscious lyrics have earned him 13 platinum-certified tracks, showcasing his ability to connect with audiences on a deep level. 

And while his first-week album sales may not always match Drake‘s, with an average of 294,000 units sold, Kendrick‘s influence in hip-hop is undeniable. Currently, Kendrick Lamar boasts a monthly listener count of 58.3 million on Spotify, proving he’s still one of the biggest names in the game.

Who is J. Cole?

Last but not least, we’ve got J. Cole, the North Carolina native known for his introspective rhymes and raw authenticity. With 25 billion total streams on Spotify, J. Cole has built a loyal fanbase drawn to his heartfelt storytelling. 

While he may have fewer Grammy nominations and wins than Drake and Kendrick, with 17 nominations and two wins, J. Cole‘s impact on the genre is undeniable. His albums consistently resonate with listeners, averaging around 2.6 billion streams per album. 

J. Cole‘s albums debut with impressive first-week sales figures, with an average of 342,000 units sold and a highest first-week sales of 492,000. J. Cole commands a monthly listener count of 41.8 million on Spotify, proving he’s still one of the most respected voices in hip-hop.

Statistical Comparison

Total Streams (Spotify):

  • Drake: 97 billion
  • Kendrick Lamar: 35 billion
  • J. Cole: 25 billion

GRAMMY Nominations (& Wins):

  • Kendrick Lamar: 50 (17)
  • Drake: 55 (5)
  • J. Cole: 17 (2)

RIAA Certified Units Sold:

  • Drake: 294 million
  • J. Cole: 95 million
  • Kendrick Lamar: 57 million

Average Streams (Album):

  • Drake: 5.0 billion
  • Kendrick Lamar: 3.8 billion
  • J. Cole: 2.6 billion

Average Streams (Song):

  • Drake: 230 million
  • Kendrick Lamar: 204 million
  • J. Cole: 156 million

Platinum Certified Songs:

  • Drake: 80
  • J. Cole: 33
  • Kendrick Lamar: 13

Average First Week Sales:

  • Drake: 645,000
  • J. Cole: 342,000
  • Kendrick Lamar: 294,000

Biggest First Week Sales:

  • Drake: 1.04 million
  • Kendrick Lamar: 603,000
  • J. Cole: 492,000

Longest Charting Album:

  • Kendrick Lamar: 596 weeks
  • Drake: 578 weeks
  • J. Cole: 486 weeks

Number One Albums + Songs:

  • Drake: 27
  • Kendrick Lamar: 7
  • J. Cole: 7

Current Monthly Listeners (Spotify):

  • Drake: 82.7 million
  • Kendrick Lamar: 58.3 million
  • J. Cole: 41.8 million

With these staggering numbers in mind, it’s clear that each member of the “BIG 3” has carved out a significant place in hip-hop history. Drake‘s commercial dominance, Kendrick Lamar‘s critical acclaim, and J. Cole‘s lyrical prowess have solidified their positions as icons in the genre.

But the question remains: Who is currently the best of the three to YOU? Is it Drake with his unparalleled streaming numbers and chart-topping hits? Is it Kendrick Lamar, with his unparalleled storytelling and artistic integrity? Or is it J. Cole with his unparalleled lyricism and relatability?

Ultimately, the answer may vary depending on personal preference and individual criteria for greatness. Each artist brings something unique to the table, and their collective impact on hip-hop cannot be understated.




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