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No. 1 Albums With Artists’ Birth Names in the Titles, From Jay-Z to YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Jay-Z’s Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter: The album hit No. 1 on Jan. 15, 2000, for one week. It received a Grammy nomination for best rap album. Jay-Z’s real name: Shawn Corey Carter.

Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP: The album hit No. 1 on June 10, 2000, and stayed on top for eight consecutive weeks. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 hit No. 1 on Nov. 23, 2013, and stayed on top for two nonconsecutive weeks. Both albums won Grammys for best rap album. The first also received an album of the year nomination. Eminem’s real name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III.

LL Cool J’s G.O.A.T. Featuring James T. Smith the Greatest of All Time: The album hit No. 1 on Sept. 30, 2000, for one week. LL’s real name: James Todd Smith.

Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III: The album hit No. 1 on June 28, 2007, and stayed on top for three nonconsecutive weeks. It won a Grammy for best rap album and received an album of the year nod. Tha Carter IV hit No. 1 on Sept. 17, 2011, and stayed on top for two consecutive weeks. It received a Grammy nod for best rap album. Tha Carter V hit No. 1 on Oct. 13, 2018, for one week. Lil Wayne’s real name: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

Usher’s Raymond vs. Raymond: The album hit No. 1 on April 17, 2010, for one week. It won a Grammy for best contemporary R&B album. Usher’s real name: Usher Raymond IV.

B.o.B‘s B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray: The album hit No. 1 on May 15, 2010, for one week. It received a Grammy nod for best rap album. B.o.B’s real name: Bobby Ray Simmons Jr.

DaBaby’s Kirk: The album hit No. 1 on Oct. 12, 2019, for one week. DaBaby’s real name: Jonathan Lyndale Kirk.

YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s Sincerely, Kentrell: The album hit No. 1 on Oct. 9, 2021, for one week (so far). YoungBoy’s real name: Kentrell DeSean Gaulden.

In addition, the titles of several No. 1 albums have included the artists’ nicknames. Among them: Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company (2005), Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi (2005), Trey Songz’s Trigga (2014) and Kanye West’s Yeezus (2013) and Ye (2018).

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Cosmo’s Factory (1970) is a reference to the nickname of the band’s drummer, Doug “Cosmo” Clifford. The second half of the title of Dave Matthews Band’s Big Whiskey & the Groo Grux King (2009) is the nickname of that band’s late saxophonist LeRoi Moore.

The titles of at least three No. 1 albums include the names of alter egos the stars developed: Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (that would be his lyricist, Bernie Taupin) (1975), Beyonce’s I Am…Sasha Fierce (2008), and Madonna’s Madame X (2019).

More close calls: Lady Gaga’s Joanne (2016) was named after her aunt, Joanne Stefani Germanotta, though it’s also one of the singer’s middle names. West’s Donda (2019) was named after his mother, Donda C. West.

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