Ask Billboard: Tina Turner, Top-Selling Rap, Lauper

Keith and his readers discuss Tina Turner, top-selling rappers and Cyndi Lauper.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Keith,

I just saw that Tina Turner is releasing another greatest hits package (titled "Tina!," due Sept. 30 in North America) to go with her tour kickoff in October.

What I want to know is, why? Near as I can tell she's released several compilations behind an essentially small back catalog.

She released "Simply the Best" in 1991, the box set "Collected Recordings '60s - '90s" in 1994, "All The Best" in 2005 and now this one. She's been rumored to be working on new material since late 2005 and there are two "new songs" on this compilation (possibly the stuff she was working on with Guy Chambers and Pat Monahan) but still: Why?

I also understand she's done contractually with EMI and Capitol Records. My only guess is that this is a way for both parties to earn a few dollars in conjunction with the tour without Tina having to give them a new album, which they (in all likelihood) wouldn't promote anyway, but I don't want to be cynical.

Perhaps you can shed some light? Also has her contract really ended with EMI and Capitol?

Thank you,
Danielle Brown

But wait, there's more. We have a second question about Tina Turner:

Dear Keith,

Why is it that Tina Turner's record company is issuing yet another greatest hits album? She just did another "best of" a couple of years ago ("All the Best" in 2005).

My second question about Turner is this: Why do none of the greatest hits packages have (her single) "One of the Living?" It was a hit song and it had a video. Why have they overlooked that song many times?

Count-Sebastian Cherry
New York, N.Y.

Hello to both of you,

We reached out to Turner's U.S. record label Capitol Records as well as her publicist. Capitol and EMI declined to comment while Turner's publicist did not respond to our request.

So, without any information from Turner or her label, fans can only speculate as to why this new hits album "Tina!" is coming out instead of studio album. (And why Turner's single "One of the Living," a Grammy award-winning No. 15 Billboard Hot 100 hit from 1985, has never appeared on any Turner compilation. Not even her box set "Collected Recordings!")

Personally, I was a little disappointed that Turner is not releasing a new studio album. However, fans can take solace in the two new recordings that are found on "Tina!" - "It Would Be a Crime" and "I'm Ready."

Here is the 18-song tracklist for "Tina!"

"Steamy Windows"
"River Deep Mountain High"
"Better Be Good To Me"
"The Acid Queen"
"What You Get Is What You See"
"What's Love Got To Do With It"
"Private Dancer"
"We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)"
"I Don't Wanna Fight"
"Let's Stay Together" (live at Amsterdam Arena, 1996) "I Can't Stand The Rain" (live at Amsterdam Arena, 1996) "Goldeneye"
"Addicted to Love" (live at Camden Palace, London, 1986) "The Best" (live at Wembley Arena, London, 2000) "Proud Mary" (1993 version) "Nutbush City Limits"
"It Would Be A Crime" (New track)
"I'm Ready" (New track)


Hi Keith,

I was trying to do research on the best selling rappers of all time and I kept getting conflicting results. Could you please tell me who the top 10 selling rappers of all time are? And if there isn't a female in that list, who is the top female rapper of all time?

Thanks so much,
Dan Morpurgo

Hello Dan,

As it turns out, I recently wrote about this very topic earlier this year in June.

Here are the best selling rap acts (solo or otherwise) based on their cumulative U.S. albums sales since 1991 (when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data) through June 2008. The rankings have not changed since we compiled this list in June.

1. Eminem (33 million)
2. 2Pac (31.8 million)
3. Jay-Z (28.8 million)
4. Nelly (20.9 million)
5. Beastie Boys (18.9 million)
6. OutKast (17.3 million)
7. DMX (16.5 million)
8. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (16.4 million)
9. 50 Cent (15.4 million)
10. Dr. Dre (13.3 million)

You'll notice no female rap acts are in the top 10. The biggest selling female rap act, since 1991, is Missy Elliott, with 7.5 million albums sold in the U.S.


Hi Keith,

This week Cyndi Lauper scores a second No. 1 hit from her new album "Bring Ya to the Brink" on the Hot Dance Club Play chart with "Into The Nightlife."

Can you give us an update on sales of the album and the singles?

Gabriel Duque
Miami Beach, Fla.

Hello Gabriel,

Thus far, Cyndi Lauper's latest album, "Bring Ya to the Brink" has sold 33,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set, released in May, debuted and peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard 200 chart.

The album has spawned two singles so far: "Same Ol' Story" and "Into the Nightlife." Both have crowed the Hot Dance Club Play chart while the latter is at No. 16 on the Hot Dance Radio Airplay chart.

Digitally speaking, "Nightlife" has sold 16,000 downloads while "Story" has sold 5,000.

Next up for Lauper is the Rock to Win concert on Aug. 26 in Denver, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign.
Also on the bill are Melissa Etheridge, Rufus Wainwright and Thelma Houston.