When Nelly dropped his debut album Country Grammar around the new millennium, fans fell in love with the St. Lunatic’s blatant singsong raps.
Now, a little more than sixteen years since the initial June 2000 release, the album that gave us white girl anthems like “E.I.” and “Ride With Me” has been given the ultimate acknowledgment from the RIAA, by being certified diamond. For those unaware, that’s ten million frikkin’ albums sold.
To give that accolade some context, very few albums from any genre even manage to go one time platinum in today’s digitally-driven industry and there are only seven other rap albums period that have achieved diamond status:
Eminem – The Eminem Show
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
MC Hammer ‘Please Hammer – Don’t Hurt ‘Em
Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Tupac – All Eyez On Me
Tupac – Greatest Hits
The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death
Back when Nelly was wearing jerseys backwards and rocking unnecessary Band-Aids, did anyone ever expect him to be one of the best selling rappers of all time? Maybe, actually. That dude was everywhere and in hindsight, Country Grammar holds up well sonically and also created a genre-wide justification for much of the pop-leaning southern rap we’ve heard since.