N.O.R.E Claims He Was The 'Hottest Rapper In The World' In 1998

By Kiani Belgrave

1998 was a monumental year for hip-hop music. The late DMX went on a chart-topping two-album run with It’s Dark, and Hell is Hot, and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, Big Pun released his debut album Capital Punishment, and OutKast gave us their magnum opus, Aqumeni

Queens emcee, N.O.R.E, was also among the bunch who dropped classic albums in ‘98 with his debut self-titled studio album, which he believes made him” the hottest rapper in the world” that year.

On a recent episode of the I Am Athlete with NFL superstars Chad Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Channing Crowder, and Jared Odrick, N.O.R.E reminisced on the iconic year of hip-hop music and remembered his days in the limelight after dropping his studio debut. 

“I was the hottest rapper in the world! I could’ve held out, but I wanted a million dollars,” he said while revealing he gave up his publishing rights early in his career. After Marshall questioned his statement, N.O.R.E. doubled down, pulling out stats to support his case.

“I was!” he replied. “In 1998? Who was it? Me, DMX, Big Pun, Cam’ron. I was the hottest at the time I signed. And, other than DMX, I sold the most in my first week. DMX did 220[K], I did 163[K] — plus the other 18,000 that they pre-sold from me! Because they bootlegged it, and they still counted it!”

N.O.R.E’s hit singles “Superthug” and “Banned From T.V.” climbed the charts, both cracking the Billboard Top 40. The project sold 163,000 copies in its first week and has since went platinum. 

Who do you think was the hottest rapper in 1998? Stay tuned for more news on N.O.R.E and other hip-hop news.