The 15 Best Years in Def Jam History

10. 2001

Notable Releases: DMX The Great Depression (Ruff Ryders/Def Jam); Ja Rule Pain Is Love (Murder Inc./Def Jam); Jay-Z The Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam); Jay-Z Jay-Z: Unplugged (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam); Ludacris Word of Mouf (DTP/Def Jam South/Def Jam)

Between Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Ludacris, and DMX, 2001 was another huge year for the label, as they moved well over 10 million albums to the masses. The Blueprint managed to perfectly balance Jay-Z's artistic side (scoring "Five Mics" from The Source) while still meeting his commercial obligations (2.7 million units sold), with help from Just Blaze and Kanye West behind the boards.

Hova also scored a gold album with his live Jay-Z: Unplugged recording with The Roots, while DMX was still able to sell three million copies of The Great Depression, despite his legal troubles at the time. Luda continued his winning streak by shifting 3.6 million copies of Word of Mouf, thanks to songs like "Move Bitch" and "Area Codes." Meanwhile, Foxy Brown, Redman, and Beanie Sigel all contributed gold plaques to their resumes, continuing to earn their keep.

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