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What was the first-ever platinum-selling rap album?

Certifications are the most important way to differentiate between a high-selling album and a low-selling one. However, certification criteria differ across different countries, which often makes it slightly confusing. There are several different organisations and boards that calculate sales in different parts of the world, but with so many different music streaming platforms nowadays, it is simply impossible to know whether or not a certification is 100% right.

In Britain, certifications are handled by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) in the United States, certifications are handled by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). There is a difference between the BPI and RIAA with regard to how they certify records. To put it briefly, it is harder to go platinum in the US than it is in the UK by 700,000 units.

In the US, you get a platinum certification for each million sold. However, in the UK, you have to sell 300,000 to get a platinum certification. It is mostly to compensate for the difference in the size of the population. The smaller the country usually, the lower the platinum threshold is.

Irrespective of this, the lines are definitely blurred nowadays, and artists with their labels seem to play hard and fast with the system. A situation arose in 2018 in which Travis Scott was selling tour passes and sweatshirts but was including physical copies of his album alongside. This meant that people who merely wanted t-shirts or concert tickets were contributing to album sales despite the fact they were not actually purchasing the album.

Regardless to achieve a platinum album certification is a big deal and is something that all musicians strive for, with some even looking further for diamond certification. Anything over 10 million. When hip hop first emerged in the 1970s, it had a hard time breaking through every door of the industry.

It was difficult to secure radio time, it was tough getting on TV, and it had a harder time trying to get its first platinum album, but it did eventually. Almost a decade after the genre’s inception, in 1986, hip hop broke the platinum threshold with over one million sales of the album Raising Hell by iconic Queens trio Run-DMC.

Raising Hell became the first hip-hop album to sell one million copies, with its platinum certification coming on July 15th, 1986. Furthermore, by that time in 1987, it had moved three million, moving it into the triple-platinum bracket. The album is legendary and still is to this day. You can listen to Raising Hell Below.