The album debuted at number 18 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 21,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, Revolutions per Minute received generally positive reviews from most music critics.
Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 80/100 from Metacritic.Allmusic writer Gregory Heaney commended Kweli's and Hi-Tek's musical chemistry and wrote "Hi-Tek’s soul-infused beats create the perfect laid-back atmosphere for Kweli’s casual verbal acrobatics, crafting beats that bring the listener into the group's chilled-out space with their minimal aesthetic". Steve Juon of RapReviews gave it a 9/10 rating and praised Kweli's rapping, stating "Kweli is using his keen powers of observation to see the world for what it really is, and then translate that knowledge into a musical form you can simultaneously enjoy and learn from".Exclaim! 's Anupa Mistry wrote that Revolutions per Minute is "doused in their working chemistry".Boston Phoenix writer Chris Faraone gave it 3 out of 4 stars and stated "The chemistry between these two remains bubbling". HipHopDX writer Kathy Iandoli gave it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote that it "displays the evolution of both the emcee and the deejay". Giving it an 8/10 rating, PopMatters writer Dave Heaton praised Kweli's lyrics concerning the importance of money in life, building a career in hip hop, the differences between celebrity and work, and the former's affect on a person, stating:
Taken as a whole, Revolutions Per Minute offers a specific and complicated vision of what it means to be an artist. It presents the notion that music-making is about dedication and practice, about practical business decisions as much as art, while also being a manner of “exorcising” ghosts and “testifying” to what’s going on in the world (as he puts it on “Back Again”). To sign a record deal is to enter a deal with the devil, and every musician needs to know it, Kweli notes repeatedly.
Giving it 4 out of 5 stars, Slant Magazine writer M.T. Richards described the album as "brainy, energizing stuff" and praised Kweli's rapping, stating "Sinking his no-frills flow into calm, bassy tracks, Kweli lands punchline after punchline with the kind of finesse Jay and Common could only dream of".The A.V. Club 's Nathan Rabin gave the album a B rating and wrote "Hi-Tek lacks a trademark style, but his chemistry with Kweli remains potent, even when Minute doesn’t hit the heights of the duo’s debut". Mosi Reeves of Spin gave the album 3½ out of 5 stars and viewed Hi-Tek's "jazz-inflected riffs and soulful vibes" as complimentary to Kweli's "mercurial" style, stating "congenial beats balance intricately daring rhymes".Alternative Press writer Casey Boland gave it 4 out of 5 stars and viewed it as an improvement for Hi-Tek's producing and Kweli's rapping, stating "he sounds at home with Hi-Tek. His cadence has never locked so tightly with the tune, his lyrical flow never so sinuous". Henry Adaso of About.com noted a "musical maturation" by the duo and wrote that the album "finds Kweli masterfully marrying the physical with the philosophical atop Hi-Tek's rich palette of headphone music".Pitchfork Media's Nate Patrin gave Revolutions per Minute a 7.5/10 rating and commended its "conscious yet unpretentious lyricism delivered with acrobatic dexterity over on-point, no-gimmick beats".