2000 was a stellar year in hip hop. Outkast’s classic Stankonia, Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele and Three 6 Mafia’s When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 were all released the same year. Nelly’s major label debut album Country Grammar was also dropped the same year.
At just 26, the St. Louis native let loose a stream of hits like “E.I,” Ride wit Me” and the catchy lead single “Country Grammar (Hot S**t).” Now 16 years, a pile of other platinum plaques and reality show accolades later, the rapper’s debut album is now certified diamond. According to Forbes, the Recording Industry Association of America presented the artist with a special plaque commemorating the certification during a benefit concert in Philadelphia Monday.
The album sold 235k copies in its first week in June 2000 and remained on the charts for over six weeks. Country Grammar is now the eight hip-hop album to go diamond club. Others include Notorious BIG’s Life After Death, 2Pac’s All Eyes on Me and Greatest Hits, Oukast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Eminem’s The Eminem Show and The Marshall Mathers LP, MC Hammer’s Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em and Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill.
Nelly has amassed 13 gold and platinum certifications for his singles, including Country Grammar cuts “Ride Wit Me” and the title track. Counting the double-album Sweatsuit and the respective individual releases of Sweat and Suit, seven of his full-length releases have gone at least gold. 2002′s Nellyville went platinum six times over.