Eminem has become the No. 1 awarded act for singles in the 64-year history of the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) Gold & Platinum program.
On Tuesday, the RIAA revealed that Slim Shady has sold 73.5 million new award units. His career haul now sits at 227.5 million, with 166 million single certifications and 61.5 million album certifications.
The record was previously held by Canadian crooner Drake, with 163.5 million units. Eminem's frequent collaborator, Rihanna, is third with 151.5 million.
RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said in a statement:
“These awards recognize Eminem’s unflinching commitment to his craft and the enduring connection he has forged with fans over the last 20 years. Congratulations to Eminem and his entire label team who have set the bar higher than ever.”
The 49-year-old rapper is also one of only seven artists with three or more Diamond-certified albums in the U.S. An album must boast of at least 10 million units in sales to be certified Diamond.
The other artists who share these bragging rights are Garth Brooks (nine), The Beatles (six), Led Zeppelin (five) and Eagles, Shania Twain, and Whitney Houston (three each).
Eminem's story: Meteoric rise and sustained longevity
The erstwhile Marshall Mathers broke into the public consciousness with his fiery, unabashed second album Slim Shady LP (1999). The album featured his eponymous alter-ego: a sadistic, violent, foul-mouthed but captivating blondie.
He reached stratospheric levels of critical and commercial acclaim with The Marshall Mathers LP (2000). The album is famous for the irreverent cheek of songs like Real Slim Shady, the confessional tone of The Way I Am and the intricate storytelling chops of Stan. It is still considered his magnum opus.
Eminem won a Best Original Song Oscar for Lose Yourself from the 2002 film 8 Mile. The movie is a poignant rags-to-riches semi-autobiographical musical in which he starred. It was the first hip-hop song to win the award.
The song is also one of the rapper's three Diamond-certified tunes. It is certified Platinum 13 times, the same as Love the Way You Lie (featuring Rihanna). Not Afraid is the third Diamond track, with 11 million units sold. The latter tunes came off the 2010 album, Recovery.
The Eminem Show (2002) is the songwriter's best-selling album at 12 million units, according to RIAA. The two other Diamond-certified discs are The Marshall Mathers LP (11 million) and 2005's Curtain Call: The Hits (10 million).
Many questions have been levied over the merits of Slim Shady's recent albums. However, the rapper has maintained a streak of popular success and continued adoration.